Lloyd McClendon's hat: Robinson Cano (.070 WPA)
Eric Wedge's 'stache: Taijuan Walker (-.380 WPA)
Jerry's: (1 M's hitter BB + 8 M's pitcher K) - (2 Twins BB + 9 Twins pitcher K) = -2?
Well the Mariners did not, in fact, win today. That means they just got swept, at home, by the sub-.300 Minnesota Twins. This means that the season is over and this also means that it is your job to police how people feel about this, this extremely important baseball game in May that will determine the rest of the season. Please feel free to complain below, I will be taking numbers and addressing your concerns in turn.
Sure, that's a bit of a straw man. I know that's not actually what everyone is saying, and I also understand that incessant WERE IN FIRST GO BIZ IT DOESNT MATTER SHUT UP can also be annoying. Especially when the M's aren't actually in first. But they have been bad for a long time, and then they weren't, and then they were again, but now they aren't, except for when they are. A shit is a shit is a shit is a shit. At least I think that's how the saying goes.
I just literally don't have it in me to care right now. It was frustrating, sure. Taijuan lasted four and some change today, and in the process he gave up six hits, leading to five runs with only three strikeouts. Oh, and three home runs. Oh, and another Oh,: he hit Brian Dozier in the helmet with a 92 mph fastball. So it was one of those games. Let's have a beer and talk next week.
The Mariners actually got on board first today, when Robinson Cano took a Ricky Nolaso pitch and put it over there beyond the fence where the guys with the bigger gloves who run around in the grass can't get it. It looked like this:
Although Taijuan gave up a dinger to Robbie Grossman in the second to tie it at 2-2, the M's got on the board again the second after Kyle Seager led off with a double (missed the fence by about six inches), made it to third on a groundout, and then scored thanks to a wild pitch. So like last night, it was a bit of a back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth. Except where last night consisted mainly of some luck sprinkles splashed on top of a pitch-location sundae served by Wade Miley, today was Taijuan Walker taking one look at a lousy paycheck and saying
After this, Taijuan was pulled with the bases loaded and a single out. Vidal Nuno lucked into a grounder when he came in to replace the guy, but...you know what that actually means when the preceding sentence says what it does. And that was that--the game was pretty much decided in a span of about 24 minutes.
It's funny how baseball can do this. One game can be a collection of traded blows, leveling itself out only when one side has enough balance left after getting fists to the skull to still stand in the end, if swooning. Another game can be lost in the first inning, just a miraculous mess in which your starting pitcher doesn't even make it out of the first before wearing a coat of boos. And then you can just run into a brick wall in the middle of the game, like when you don't eat enough breakfast and your boss tells you you're gonna have to take a late lunch. But unlike real life, they all count the same in baseball. A shit is a shit is a shit is a shit.
What wasn't a shit however, was Franklin Gutierrez hitting a two-run blast down to the final out in the ninth to bring the Mariners within a run. After getting off to an incredibly rough start, he's raised his wRC+ on the season all the way up to 118 (in only 82 PA) but this should be a bit of a reminder that last year was magic, April was worst-case, and this is...this is fine. If he can stay healthy enough to get that DH spot now and then, which might not work out too well with a Cruz on the roster--he will be in great shape.
More good news is that Vidal Nuno looked pretty fine out of the pen, as he has been lately. Before giving up a harmless leadoff single to Eduardo Nunez in the top of the seventh, he had been riding a hitless streak since May 11th. Sure--his lack of strikeouts has left a bit to be desired. But since April, his velo has ticked just ever so slightly back up to career highs, and with Furbush ostensibly on his way back up to the club soon you have to at least feel good that we don't have any tire fires out in the pen this time around.
No, instead, it's this starting rotation. The rotation--that Gold Standard which had been protecting the entire economy of Seattle baseball for the past few years--has finally decided to join the other three branches of the team with some classic junk. Except they forgot that the offense is off to an unbelievable start, and the bullpen is, overall, hanging right in there. Well, the US went off the Gold Standard in 1971. Let's just hope we can't say the same thing for this 2016 team.
And then James Paxton's phone rang.