It has been an odd 24 hours in Mariners baseball land.
It all started out last night, where we watched the Mariners clobber the Astros 11-1 in a game that seemed to cement the idea that yes, we are the Mariners, and we are quite possibly a good team this year.
Flash forward to this morning, and Howard Lincoln delivered the early Christmas present that he was stepping down. Flash forward to this afternoon, and the Mariners decided to rudely curb Lincoln's press conference with the more pressing announcement that Nintendo was basically selling the team to the minority owners.
Flash forward to just a few hours ago when all of that excitement of the day effectively died down due to a crappy Hisashi Iwakuma outing and a strike zone that resembled those stupid WinAmp visualization plugins you would put on in high school when you were trying to do more than twist tongues with your boyfriend/girlfriend/whateverfriend.
When all was said and done, the Mariners lost their trivia of being in first place this late in the season since 2009, and instead of getting the sweep the Mariners have to settle for a mere series win.
All considering, with the way Iwakuma was pitching, strike zone or no strike zone, this team didn't have much of a chance to win tonight. They were down from the moment the whole thing got going after Jose Altuve took Iwakuma deep on the third pitch of the game.
Cano righted that wrong the only way he knew how, by roping an immediate answer over right field (his eighth of the season) in the bottom of the first to put the teams back on an even playing field.
It wouldn't stay like that for long, however. Iwakuma just wasn't very sharp this game. He was pulled after five innings, giving up five runs on seven hits with one walk and one hurt Carlos Gomez. He did strike out seven, so I guess that is a good notch in the cap.
Mike Montgomery came in to work a 1-2-3 sixth inning, and Adam Lind hit his first home run of the season to put the game well within striking distance, 5-3. However, rookie manager Scott Servais showed up with a nasty ace up his sleeve. This ace was actually just a two of clubs that Scott had poorly drawn an ace on top of, and he sent out Mayckol Guaipe out for the seventh inning,
This normally wouldn't be *too* big of a deal, except for Guaipe has pitched a grand total of 26.2 major league innings in his career, and zero this year. That, combined with the fact that instead of potentially facing the seven, eight and nine hitters like Montgomery did, he was facing the first, second and third batters in the order, the experiment seemed doomed for failure.
The inning transpired as follows:
- Altuive ground out to shortstop
- Springer single to left center
- Correa safe at first, Springer to second
- Rasmus walks, Springer to third, Correra to second
- Gattis doubles to deep center, Springer and Correa score, Rasmus out because he is dumb
- Nuno relieves Guaipe
After that, it just seemed like a same ‘ol Mariners kind of game. Seattle was down 7-3, and anyone not named Ketel Marte, Robinson Cano, or Adam Lind struggled to make much of an impact at the plate. Particular stomach churning groans go out to Nelson Cruz and his well-earned four strikeouts and Steve Clevenger's three K's.
The Mariners made some noise in the bottom half of the ninth just to get all of us slightly excited again. Leonys Martin led off the inning with a walk and Marte singled to send him to second. But then, that same ‘ol Mariners phrase came back into being. Both Seth Smith and Cano grounded out to the pitcher (although Cano picked up yet another RBI in the process) and Cruz struck out swinging to end the game.
So it goes. The Mariners are now in second place, with their second majority ownership group of the season. Yeah, they didn't sweep the Astros, and are now just 3-6 at home, but the M's did notch their fourth-straight series win.
Some other quick bullet points:
- Woe was the left-handed hitter tonight. Home plate umpire Mike DiMuro did not care for you.
- It was REAL nice to see Adam Lind finally demonstrate a little bit of that power we all thought was lurking in there. There was no doubt that Lind's first home run as a Mariners was out of the park. It left the bat going 109 mph and landed approximately 435 feet away.
- After a rough go at starting the season, Ketel Marte has looked pretty comfortable at the plate for the past week. He now has 13 hits in his last seven games.
- ACK EDIT: Oh and Dae Ho Lee also had an infield single. He now has as many infield singles (2) as he does home runs (2). Baseball.