“This ain’t a football game. We do this every day.”
The late Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver famously told this to a young Thomas Boswell when the Washington Post columnist felt he had overstayed his welcome in the dugout.
We do this every day.
When it’s cold. When our pitching staff is depleted. When we’ve had our souls ripped out by the Blue Jays.
The rollercoaster road trip to Philadelphia and Toronto was just the latest rise and drop in this rollercoaster season. The team came home. They slept in their own beds (presumably), had some familiar food, and went to their home park.
Yovani Gallardo, competing with Ariel Miranda to be the Last Man Standing in the starting rotation, took the mound. His night got off to a fantastic start, holding the Athletics hitless through 3 innings and earning a quality start.
Dan Altavilla came in to wrap up the seventh inning when Gallardo started to lose his command at just under 100 pitches. The eighth inning brought us the long awaited return of Steve Cishek, fresh off the disabled list. He would face only Kris Davis, inducing a groundout, before leaving the game. He was followed by Marc Rzepczynski and Nick Vincent in some Scott Servais bullpen maneuvering that worked out perfectly.
Edwin Diaz had a rough outing in the ninth inning. After getting a quick popout for the first out of the inning, Diaz walked four consecutive A’s to load the bases and score a run. Tony Zych was brought in to replace him. After an RBI groundout for the second out, Zych struck out Adam Rosales to secure a much needed win and the first save of his career:
The pitching staff was helped out by the defense. Jean Segura made this nice play in the first inning:
Jarrod Dyson made an acrobatic catch in the sixth inning. There was catching and twisting and flipping. It must be seen in slow motion to fully appreciate it:
The catch is cool.— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) May 16, 2017
The landing is . https://t.co/OMOKui8mJD pic.twitter.com/TqwDS8UnfA
Among Earl Weaver’s other famous sayings was his preaching of the virtues of pitching, defense, and the three-run home run. Ignoring Diaz’s struggles in the ninth, the Mariners certainly had pitching tonight and the defense had a couple great plays. So what about the offense?
In the first inning, Oakland starter Sean Manaea struck out the side, but in between those strikeouts the Mariners would score 2 runs on 1 hit and 4 walks.
In the second inning, Nelson Cruz reminded us how strong he is with this two-run home run to centerfield:
Kyle Seager added his own two-run home run in the eighth inning to give the Mariners some much needed insurance:
They weren’t the three-run home runs Earl Weaver preferred, but in a strange season you still go out there every day. After a rough series, two-run home runs and quality starts can be soothing.
Let’s all exhale after that scary ninth inning.
After all, we do this every day.
Final Score: Mariners 6, Athletics 5
- Lots of walks in this one. The Mariners walked seven times and the Athletics walked eight times.
- Taylor Motter stole his fourth base of the season.
- Jean Segura had a base hit in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. His hit was Ichiro-esque. The ball was down and away and he went down and drove it past the first baseman. Not textbook, but it started off a two-run inning for the Mariners.
- Tuffy Gosewisch continues to struggle in his role as sacrificial lamb while Mike Zunino works out some swing problems in Tacoma. He struck out swinging to end the first inning, a frustrating situation when the pitcher was unable to find the strike zone. To be fair, he was swinging at strikes. He just wasn’t able to hit them.