Adam Lind's Compression Sleeve: Shawn O'Malley (.166 WPA)
Tom Wilhelmsen's Puka Shell Necklace (Circa 2004): Nelson Cruz (-.042 WPA)
Thirteen years ago something magical happened in the Bay Area. It has since been branded onto the memories of all who were there to see it, memorialized in countless magazine articles (digital and in print), turned into a book, hell--they even made a movie about it. In the years since, many have been living in its shadow, its glory fading just like that cool breeze that comes when the sun starts to dip down behind the mountains in the west. In a way, every day since has been little more than an echo, and the Mariners today reminded us of just that.
You know exactly what it is I'm talking about. I'm talking about the day that Metallica released their critically maligned St. Anger.
I say this because I don't want to say yet that the Mariners are going to pull off anything, well, special this season. Sure, you might say, they already have. But there is a long way to go before they turn this recent streak of hot play into anything that even resembles a season for the ages--look at that rotation behind Paxton's bruised elbow for crying out loud--and yet, you still kind of have to wonder why the cards are starting to fall the way they are.
So no, this is no 2003 Oakland A's magical season--yet. Maybe it's just a gauche old harley instead, sat underneath ol' Doc Eagle wearing a spiderweb prison tattoo on his elbow (Officer Nick, we hardly knew ye), cruisin' in with a downtuned axe and a snare with the snare cut off yellin' IM MADLY IN ANGAR WITH YOUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!
Yeah so this is Adam Lind, the goateed negative-WAR-swinging-everyone's-friend-being-hip-hop-fan-(just pretend it's metallica i guess) hitting a baseball up and to the stratosphere. Or more accurately, 443 feet, which is good for here:
The best part about this is that if you look very closely you can see these two people sitting in the front row of the second deck, assured that nobody on the Mariners could possibly hit a baseball that far. Watch their surprise when they hear it bounce off the plastic seat like eight rows above them:
Wade LeBlanc would end up giving up a dinger to whatever a Ryon Healy is in the bottom of the second before bringing the bats back out in the third. First it was Shawn O'Malley with a first-pitch double, before being sent to third on an Aoki grounder. Kyle Seager would double him in a moment later, and would himself be driven in by a Canó single on--you guessed it--the first pitch. Zach Neal was toast.
At this point, Nelson Cruz walked up to the plate and drew four pitches before grounding into a double play to end the inning--or at least that's what the review called for. But alas, to lead off the fourth, Dae-ho would be hit by a pitch, then try to make his way into second on another inning-ending double play off the bat of Mike Zunino. But then something happened. Dae-ho just stood on second base. ROOT cut to commercial, and as soon as we got back we saw this:
With Dae-Ho at second, Shawn O'Malley roped a--yeah, yes, first pitch fastball--into center, and Big Boy, the Pig Tiger himself promptly did this to bring the M's up by three.
It was honestly just one of those days. Wade LeBlanc, relying on his cutter and change quite a bit and topping out at 87. He ended up giving up another dinger to Khris Davis in the sixth on a just beautiful 73mph curveball straight down the chute--this shit would have won a game of Operation--but the reason he's up here right now is because there are innings to be eaten, and also because Kyle Seager can clear the bases with a one-out-loaded-up double an inning before to give the man a little wiggle room. He would end the day with seven strikeouts over six innings pitched, which is even better than the kind of thing you expect a guy like LeBlanc to do for your rotation at this particular time of the year.
Drew Storen took over for LeBlanc in the seventh in relief and wound up giving up another home run to bring the A's within three, but in the top of the eighth, Martin managed to manufacture a run with a stolen base, scoring on a bleeder single from Aoki to bring the score to 8-4, which carried the M's to the end of the game. M's win and they are...no...no you can look at the standings yourself. I shall not curse thee here.
Tomorrow the team heads down to Anaheim to meet the Angels, currently embroiled in a ten-game losing streak. Let's see if we can't make it fourteen, why don't we?
They are biz'ing, biz'ing. They say that they will never die.