It’s unfair of me to use a picture of Iwakuma for this article because he really wasn’t that bad. He was kind of boring, but in the way that Iwakuma is boring, like going to the restaurant in your neighborhood that you know isn’t very good but as long as you just stick to the one or two things they do okay you know things will be mostly fine, and the prices are fair enough and it’s so close to your house and there’s always parking. Fine. So that was Iwakuma’s night. He went five and a third, which is maybe on the lighter side of where you hope your number three starter to go, and gave up three runs, two on solo shots. His control was not great, but it was fine. Overall, it was mostly fine-to-meh, which is about what we can hope for when Iwakuma is in there now.
What we’re supposed to have, though, is an offense that can prop us up on nights where the starters falter. When everyone else isn’t fine, the core is supposed to be fine. Guillermo Heredia, making a start in place of the embattled Leonys Martín, was fine to good, with two hits and some very fine defense. Mitch Haniger was Mitch Haniger, and hit an RBI triple. Nelson Cruz showed some nice plate discipline and took two walks with a hit. Other than that, Kyle Seager got a hit, and everyone else was goose eggs in the hit column. Robinson Canó, in particular, was not fine, going 0-for-everything and failing to make anything resembling hard contact. Anytime the slightest rally would start, it would fizzle like a pinched match. It was bad, and boring. Mike Freeman pinch hit. That’s the kind of bad, boring game it was.
This is where some key insight might normally go, gleaned from watching the broadcast, but reader, I must confess: I had the game on mute. Listening to games from the Coliseum literally gives me a headache. So all I have to offer you is my own observation of what the silver lining to this game might be: the bullpen was not a tire fire. Nick Vincent went one and a third, and gave up no runs and just one walk. James Pazos also went one and a third, and although he gave up a hit it was a pretty nifty piece of hitting by Matt Joyce. He also hit Jaff Decker in the hand, which might make it seem like he didn’t have great control, but Decker was crowding the plate a fair amount and also is my choice for Most Annoying Athletic so I’m signing a pass for him on that. Pazos continues to look better and better each appearance; tonight he was working with a serious mid-to-high-90s fastball (Gameday calls it a sinker, but I politely disagree) that he could just blow by batters.
Only two more games in Oakland, and they’re day games, ones you have an excuse to follow on your phone or out of the corner of your eye while doing other things. And on mute. Definitely on mute.