You know the narrative. Oakland is generally a place where the Mariners don't play well. The games take forever, are always down to the wire, and have inexplicable strike zones. We're up against Sonny Gray and he normally does pretty well historically agains the Mariners. Going into this game, there was a lot to be concerned about; But that might be a feeling for year's past. With each passing day, with every win, you can start to tell that the 2016 Seattle Mariners feel different in the best possible way.
You can't help but feel those past feelings creep up on you. A familiar bead of sweat goes down your brow as Iwakuma walks two batters to load the bases after Steven Vogt beats the shift. You think to yourself how it's only the second inning and you start to sweat a little more when you see Iwakuma's pitch count is creeping above 35. Those feelings of dread start to wash away as Marcus Semien hits a routine grounder to Robinson Cano to end the inning. At that point, you can feel tonight is going to be different.
Blow the whistle-
- Other than that problematic second inning, Iwakuma looked clean, clear, and under control for the majority of his outing. In seven innings of work, he only gave up one run (because Billy Burns is annoying) only walked the two from the second inning and scattered four hits.
- Don't look now, but Kyle Seager is starting to heat up. Going 2-4 today with a double and a home run that probably had that dude with the drum fearing for his life that it could be heading his way. Since Wednesday, he is hitting .338 and it seems that balls in play are finally not landing in gloves.
- Robinson Cano completely smashed a ball over the wall in left center field for his 9th home run of the season. That is one more home run than Mark Trumbo, but who's counting. He is also quietly leading the American League in RBI with 25. This is what it's like to have a healthy Robinson Cano.
- Leonys Martin had a nice day at the plate as well. He started the scoring barrage with a 2-run shot in the top of the 3rd. He said in the post game interview that they have worked on straightening out his swing. So let's keep an eye on that moving forward.
- Tonight, we were introduced to Steve Johnson. To my surprise, he is not a create-a-player from MLB: The Show 16, but an actual person. With feelings. He worked the 9th and it was relatively clean if we ignore Khris Davis taking out his anger toward his parents over the spelling of his name to send one over the center field wall for the A's second run. It looks like the plan for him will be mop up duty and coming in during blowouts. We'll see if he ends up more than a trivia question.
- Ketel Marte was outstanding tonight. He had a few hits and he started a double play that needs to be seen to be believed. If you've seen it. Watch it again. Let's share this moment together-
As you go to bed tonight (it has passed the witching hour, after all) I would like to leave you with the following obvious statement that is fun to say The Seattle Mariners are in first place. It is May. Let that sink in a little. Felix Hernandez is taking the mound tomorrow to go for a sweep in Oakland.
It's fine to be cautious about your optimism for this team. However, you would be lying to yourself if you said this didn't feel different than ever before.