The Mariners rolled into Cincinnati today with a little pep in their step, a fresh feather in their cap, a nice cut to their jib, having taken a series from the AL East-leading Orioles, and promptly re-enacted the Roadside Wave TV trope. There were so many things that were so annoying about this game, like a pebble in your shoe if the pebble was made of battery acid and your shoe was made of sandpaper and also you're riding a tandem bike with Kendrys Morales and he's making you do all the work. Anyway, here are some things that were annoying:
- The rain delay. 45 minutes! After dilly-dallying all day about whether or not we would play! Get a darn roof on your darn stadiums, people, it's 2016. We have mini origami robots that people can swallow if they accidentally swallowed a battery; there is no reason you can't put a roof on your dumb midwestern stadiums.
- Dan Straily. Dan Straily doesn't have a terrible ERA (3.05), although his FIP (4.60) suggests that number might be artificially suppressed, but he doesn't exactly have overwhelming stuff and doesn't manufacture many strikeouts. In the top of the third he'd already thrown 63 pitches, only 34 of them for strikes. But the Mariners failed to get after Straily early, despite loading the bases in the second inning. They didn't plate a run until the sixth inning, after the Reds had already climbed out to a 3-0 lead with the clouds looming heavy overhead.
- "The clouds looming heavy overhead" SERIOUSLY NATURE SOMETIMES YOU SO HEAVY-HANDED
- Hisashi Iwakuma: I might upgrade this from "annoyance" into "creeping sense of dread one feels while sitting in the dentist's chair five minutes into a three-hour appointment." Kuma wasn't sharp, again. His stuff sat low 90s and looked eminently hittable.
- And hit it they did! Kuma gave up 6 hits over his 6 innings of work, which, if math is not your forte, is one hit per inning. Despite the Reds being a supposed Bad Team, Brandon Phillips decided today would be the day he'd break his 0-for-11 streak and knocked a double to score Joey Votto, who Kuma had walked on four straight pitches.
- What's that, you say? How did slowpoke Joey Vots score from first on a double? Well, Chris Iannetta dropped the relay from Marte despite the ball being there in plenty of time, that's how. Chris also struck out in the aforementioned bases-loaded inning, which caused me to kick out in anger and accidentally kick my cat. Thanks a lot, Chris.
- Also, Zack Cozart hit a home run against Kuma. Which in itself isn't that bad; Cozart is hot right now (if he's still available in your fantasy league, scramble!). Kuma got really lucky on this pitch to Billy Hamilton, though:
Yeeeesh. That is not something I like imagining headed in, say, Mike Trout's direction.
- Also annoying: the ballpark ad for the Griffey dual bobblehead. That's our Kid, you chili-sucking jerks.
- Again, possibly-just-annoying-but-maybe-also-night-terrors: the Mariners were 1-for-13 with RISP. We could have had one runner in every single grade from K to high school senior and not brought a single one of them home. Poor stranded schoolkids.
- Annoying: this was soclose to being a dinger for Kyle in that little hatbox of a ballpark.
But then things took a turn for the not-annoying:
But then went right back to being annoying when Lind and Iannetta both made outs and the rally was capped at just one measly run.
So things were looking a little rough as we rounded the corner into the seventh inning and the rain began to fall more heavily, and the Mariners still trailed the Reds, 3-1. But then the clouds metaphorically parted, as in, the gates to the bullpen opened, and lo and behold, on came the bullpen, and it was good. For us. For the poor sodden Reds fans in attendance, not so good. Blake Wood (whose name I have typed alternately as Billy Wood and Blake Lively) came into the game and showed us why reliever ERAs are the baseball equivalent of Schrodinger's box, allowing a base hit each to Martin and Aoki before walking Ketel Marte, and then walking Seth Smith to give #AllStarDad an early Father's Day present of a nice easy RBI. Off with Blake Wood and his generic white boy name, and in comes Tony Cingrani and his generic "book set in 1950s Brooklyn" name. Cingrani promptly hit Robinson Cano (Cano's second HBP of the game, because apparently that was their plan for pitching to him?) to give Cano a slightly less easy, more achy RBI, and the game was tied. Then Nelson Cruz struck out--which was also an annoying thing about this game, Cruz had some pretty ugly PAs in it--and Kyle Seager got lost in thinking about whether or not Cincinnati is close enough to North Carolina that he could swing in to visit his Meemaw or at least maybe get some decent barbecue and then oh whoops struck out looking. Game tied, two outs, lefty on the mound.
I will admit, when I saw Dae Ho Lee ambling up to home plate, my response was to groan and drop my face into my hands. How fair is it, really, to ask a guy who is essentially a rookie to come off the bench in the highest-leverage situations and ask him to just produce, again and again, against pitchers he's never seen in ballparks he's never played in and hey what just happened.
I mean yeah, basically.
Mike Montgomery would come on and work a scoreless seventh to preserve the lead because sometimes I have ideas that are good and then in the eighth Leonys Martin made Jay Bruce look silly on a double and Ketel Marte brought him home on a sac fly to make it 6-3 Mariners. Nick Vincent took ten pitches to mow down the Reds in the bottom of the eighth, and then in the battle of Big Boy vs. Jumbo, Big Boy emerged victorious, and then Cruz felt left out so he also belted a homer for a final score of 8-3 Mariners after Peralta closed out the game.
Okay, so you know what? This team can be annoying but they can also be the most fun and I just love them so much. They are your uncle who tells long and self-serving stories at family dinners but also sends you money on your birthday every year. They are a book that's a hundred pages too long but has the one scene that always brings a tear to your eye. They are flawed, they are charming, they are ours, they are irresistible.
(goms, gobiz, gobigboy)