Captain’s Log, 28 June in the year of our Lord 2016, Captain Servais commanding JDS Mariner.
We had weathered the storm rounding Cape Horn and were looking forward to a few days spent making repairs and recovering some morale. It was a few hours before twilight when the officer on deck spotted sails on the horizon, silhouetted against the bright skies. Because the ship had been lying ahull to weather the choppy seas, the sails had been luffing all day. The unidentified ship was approaching from the east and closing quickly. I ordered Coxswain Iwakuma to bring the ship about full and by.
By 19:00, we had identified the colors flying on the approaching ship: Pirates! Coxswain Iwakuma deftly maneuvered the JDS Mariner into an advantageous position to the port of the enemy and the battle was met. The initial shots from the bow chasers had little effect on either ship, the distance was too great to be truly effective. In the third hour of the battle, some deft rig work from Able Bodied Seaman O’Malley had the Mariner in position for its first broadside of the engagement. Midshipman Marte gave the order to fire but it was a touch too late, and we struck only a glancing blow.
The man at the helm continued to maneuver cleverly, continually dodging the advances of the buccaneer while giving our gunners chances to damage the enemy. Another glancing blow was gained through the efforts of Master-at-Arms Cano, Yeoman Seager, and Sergeant Iannetta—though the pirate smartly avoided the potential for much more damage through some excellent maneuvering himself.
Finally, in the fifth hour, the weight of the Mariner’s broadside was brought to bear on the stern of the renegade. The chasers on the enemy ship bore onto the Mariner but Gunner’s Mate Martin quickly fired a cannon into their gun deck, disabling the threat before it could harm the ship. Then, the Master-at-Arms laid into the enemy with a cannonade to the hull. Unsatisfied, Master Gunner Cruz loaded a pair of cannon-balls into his mount and fired a deafening double-shot into the mast of the opposing ship. With that, the enemy was adrift and listing hard to starboard. The treacherous pirates threw their own captain overboard, no doubt a consequence for his overzealous pursuit of the Mariner.
I ordered Coxswain Iwakuma to bring the Mariner astride the disabled ship, as the marines prepared to board and capture. But the deceitful pirates had other plans. As we came along side, the gun ports suddenly sprung open; we had fallen into their trap. Two shots rang true and suddenly the Mariner was put in a tight position. Coxswain Iwakuma was relieved of duty and repair crews raced to assess the damage. Through the efforts of Boatswain’s Mate Diaz and Boatswain Cishek, the harm to the ship was kept to a minimum and the remaining pirates soon struck their colors and surrendered their vessel. The Mariner and her crew had prevailed!
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Bullet (cannon) points!
- Hisashi Iwakuma cruised through six innings of work, allowing just three baserunners and benefitting from two double plays—one on an outfield assist from Kill Machine Leonys Martin. He had thrown 75 pitches heading into the seventh with the heart of the pirates lineup due up. Scott Servais has shown a lot of trust in his starting pitchers this year but there are times when he leans on them too much. The seventh inning might have been one of those times. The first three balls in play in the inning were very loud: a double, a deep fly out, and a triple.
At that point Iwakuma looked gassed and was about to face a left-handed batter in Matt Joyce. He was lucky enough to generate an easy infield pop fly but his luck ran out against the next batter David Freese. Surely the second run would be enough for Servais but he left Iwakuma in to face the next batter who also singled. It’s hard to tell when Servais should have pulled the trigger and went to the bullpen, and it ultimately ended up working out, but despite the struggles of the relief corps, Servais needs to develop a better feel for when to pull a laboring pitcher.
- Nelson Cruz absolutely destroyed a ball tonight. Observe:
He hit the ball so hard, he broke Statcast:
- With two outs in the seventh, Kyle Seager doubled to left-center field with Dae-ho Lee on first base. Lee rumbled around the bases and Manny Acta waved him home. An excellent relay throw would barely beat Lee to the plate and he was called out. But man was it fun to see the big man run. I asked to see his top speed on the basepaths on Twitter. I’ve yet to receive a response.
- Tonight’s home plate umpire was Ben May, a Triple-A call up. He did not have a good night. Here’s his strike zone plot for right-handed batters:
You see those black points inside the strike zone. Those were called balls. Clint Hurdle and the Pirates bench took issue with May’s strike zone early in the game but they were barking about low pitches that were borderline strikes. May had given Iwakuma a number of called strikes off his curveball that were located toward the bottom of the zone. Hurdle would be ejected for arguing balls and strikes but the plot above justifies his frustration, even if he was arguing about the wrong pitches.