I played offensive and defensive line at Garfield High School. I started for all four years because we did not have many other options, and, as you might imagine from a team starting a freshman with two weeks of experience in organized football, we did not often win. Our collective record during my career was, by my memory, 6-30, and many of our losses were utter blowouts. There is something utterly demoralizing about stepping onto the field knowing you are the inferior team. It is one thing if there is a single player that simply is too much to handle. It is another thing entirely to match up against a team and not see a single position where you can expect to win. Overcoming that takes a great deal of coaching skill and significant mental fortitude from the players. Today, it appeared, the Oakland A’s had neither, and the Seattle Mariners mollywhopped them.
They did it with 17(!!!) hits, giving the boot to Kendall Graveman after he surrendered 12 of the base knocks and eight of the 14 total runs the Mariners tagged Oakland with, all of which were earned. he Mariners’ offense has depended on home runs to keep them in games this year, and they have been fairly successful. It is nice, sometimes, to see a game where the entire team gets involved, and tonight was such a night.
Look at this box score.
It’s beautiful. So many real numbers and so few zeroes. Every single Mariner reached base at least once. Robinson Canó had a rare “off” game, relative to the team, and it could not have mattered less. Nori Aoki buffeted his slugging percentage with a pair of doubles, continuing an excellent stretch since returning from AAA. Confirmed warlock Jesus Sucre’s pact with The Dark Prince Graz’zt appears to provide continued providence for him, as he reached on an infield single in the 3rd inning, where the Mariners built a 6-0 lead that they would not relinquish. Nelson Cruz put the fear of God in the baseball on each of his doubles, and even drove a ball to deep center field on a pitch that might have bounced for a sacrifice fly in the six run 7th inning that put Seattle up 14-0. Kyle Seager nearly destroyed the offspring of Dennis Eckersley and an Easter Island head.
Ben Gamel gave Leonys Martín his first day off since July 8th (yikes, hey there Daniel Robertson) and had his best offensive day as a Mariner, but somehow Leonys stole the show anyways. After reportedly being such an intolerably enthusiastic teammate in the dugout that Scott Servais said Martín would never get another off day again, Leonys received the honor he deserved.
Perhaps the best part of the game, however, was the man who has yet to be mentioned. The King’s starts this year have become stressful in a way that is disheartening. Wanting to see him succeed and seeing his effectiveness fade in and out has been difficult. Last week’s Texas yo-yo affair was one of the least relaxing eight run wins I’ve ever seen. Today, after the first two innings, Hernandez was at ease. His strikeout number (2) tied his low for the season in a start that exceeded 4 innings, but it was also, pleasantly, the fourth time this season Félix had walked just one batter. After 91 pitches through 6 innings, with the game in hand, The King was done. He wasn’t perfect, but his so-so was enough to easily handle the A’s today. That’s the King we know and love, just as much as the lights out ace is.
Merry Sweepsmas Eve.