Sometimes a friend or a loved one surprises you with a gift. Maybe it’s a book they knew you would like, or a piece of clothing that’s just your style. Maybe it’s just some flowers or, hell, tickets to a Mariners’ game. You weren’t even thinking about getting something for them, and the gift is not so extravagant that you feel pressure to lavishly return the favor. It’s just a kind thought that makes you feel appreciated, and makes you appreciate the relationship you share.
I appreciated the Mariners tonight.
Last year, in a desperate attempt to extract any production whatsoever from the leadoff spot, Lloyd McClendon turned to Logan Morrison, whose OBP outpaced his average and speed. LoMo did not do a good job, (and was also a victim of some rough batted ball luck) but I was appreciative of the willingness to try something that did not fit convention. Putting a player with great on-base skills should be the primary focus in front of your best, more powerful hitters. Starting Seth Smith at the top of the order tonight fit that bill, as the Mariners proved necessity to be the mother of invention, and, at least for one game, the grandmother of an offensive explosion.
Following a series of questionable to poor defensive plays by the Rangers on hard hit shots by Smith and Ketel Marte, the bases were loaded up for Adam Lind, and, with one out, we were all buckled in and ready for takeoff.
There was something we did not know, however. Lind, who had been left out of the lineup for the past few days, had a trick up his sleeve. I became suspicious when I saw, well, his sleeve.
More accurately, it was what his sleeve obscured, for hidden, not up his arm, but inside it, was the secret of Lind’s burst of strength. Look closer.
CLOSER. JUST ON THE ARM. WITH THE X-RAY.
Just as I suspected. After struggling this season, Lind took a drastic step, turning himself over to scientific experimentation, and appears to have come away with a new, metal-reinforced skeletal structure. While he tried to camouflage the scars from the procedure, the result of the at-bat raised red flags left and right.
On a pitch level with his new, metallic shoulder, Lind put Seattle ahead, and plunged A.J. Griffin into a nightmare he would not be able to wake up from. Lind returned later in the night to check up on Griffin, and ensure his continued fitful slumber.
Pleased with his newfound power, Lind could barely contain his power as he returned to the dugout, causing even his close friends to cringe at the slightest touch.
This game could have easily shared Tuesday’s fate of resembling a late 90’s slugfest, with hitters on both teams taking turns padding their power numbers. Ariel Miranda ensured it did not. Had it not been for an error by Ketel Marte, Miranda would have emerged from today’s game with an outing beyond 6 innings for the first time in his career. Unfortunately, the two out mishap on a spinning grounder lead to a Carlos Beltrán three run home run that would be the only blemish on a pleasant, relaxing evening of Mariners’ baseball. An 8-3 victory that never felt that close was the result. It was lovely.
Tonight the Mariners snagged us all a nice little gift.
Thanks, y’all, we appreciate it.