Author’s note: I started typing this recap in the ninth inning and stopped paying attention to the game, but I assume we put Paxton out there to close it out against the aggressive Royals hitters and he got Kendrys Morales to hit into a triple play to end the game.
Hello! Tonight it is my great pleasure to recap for you this contest between the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals. The Mariners are angling to break a three-game losing streak after being swept by the Astros and, more troublingly, a nine-game road losing streak, while the Royals are attempting to stop a four-game skid. As I said, I quit watching in the ninth in order to type this recap, but I can only assume everything went swimmingly.
Tonight’s matchup featured two powerful lefties on the mound and Servais threw out every right-handed batter he could find in the stable, but after all that it was Robinson Canó, freshly minted 2016 All-Star and home run derby participant, to tag Duffy for the first hit of the game on a little flare into left. However, Duffy managed to escape the first inning without damage thanks to his strategy of pumping 96 mph fastballs straight down the middle of the plate and daring the Mariners to hit them, to which they respectfully declined. In the second inning, Dae-Ho Lee extended his hit streak to seven games by mailing a double to RF that would have been a triple if anyone other than Dae-Ho was running. Chris Iannetta, or CI as I like to call him so I can sing “stacks on deck, Patron on ice” every time he comes up to bat, continued to be Baseball’s Unluckiest Player by just missing a single on a fadeaway jump shot masquerading as a throw to first base from Merrifield. That did move DHL to third base, at which point Daniel “Dan” Robertson began an evening of scoring E’s on his OWLs by sending an 84 mph curveball up the middle for an RBI base hit. The Grit Lord giveth and the Grit Lord taketh, however, and DRob was thrown out trying to steal? Or just being caught in a weird place? We call that a GRITBLAN now (©GrassRockFish).
For his part, Paxton cruised through the first part of this game with a combination of a devastating fastball and the Royals’ complete inability to lay off any pitch. He also got some help from his defense, which is a relief because sometimes the defense doesn’t back up Pax as well as they could. Not the story tonight, which featured things like Robinson Canó reminding everyone he’s Robinson Freaking Canó (helpful reminder to Alcides Escobar: you are not Robinson Canó):
And then there was Ketel Marte, who apparently installed a Slip-n-Slide in shallow left:
And oh yeah, the four double plays were pretty great too.
The Mariners would add another run in the fifth when Robertson smoked a double into the RF corner and then the bottom of the order small-balled him around to score, and then Nelson Cruz would add another run in the eighth by crushing Joakim Soria’s 85 mph breaking ball practically into the fountain.
After buzzsawing through the Royals for seven innings—on just 57 pitches!—Paxton ran into a spot of trouble in the eighth. Salvador Perez sent a breaking ball to right field and then Cheslor Cuthbert, who is somehow not the butler in a period drama about the Klondike but a professional baseball player, snuck a ball past Seager that was fair by like, two inches. After getting Eibner to fly out, Paxton got Escobar to hit a comebacker, and then instead of throwing to second for a double play, just soft-tossed the ball over to first. Maybe Pax liked his chances against Paulo Orlando, who is somehow not a 15th-century ruler of an Italian city-state but a professional baseball player. Or maybe this is a reminder that underneath shiny new fire-breathing Paxitus Maximus dwells shy and maybe a touch insecure Jimmy the Stable Boy who doesn’t trust his fielding enough. But for whatever reason, Orlando would come up and scorch a single—first pitch swinging on a fastball, because of course it was—that scored two after Leonys Martín, in as a defensive replacement, threw slightly off-line. Paxton came back in full SKYPOINT mode, throwing 99 to Alex Gordon, to end the inning. The Mariners’ lead was now down to just one run. But, as I type this, I am secure in the knowledge that either Paxton came back out to pitch the bottom of the ninth and preserve his win, or Cishek came in and closed out the game. Surely such an effort by Paxton cannot come to ruin. Let me just click on over to MLB.com and grab some highlights to stick in here at the end and...
WAIT YOU STRETCH POLYESTER CLAD HALFWIT NINNYHAMMERS DID WHAT?!