Ariel Miranda did not have a fun day today.
He struggled mightily, throwing 64 pitches just to get through the first two innings. And that was before he gave up a SECOND home run of the day to Chris Gimenez in the third inning as some kind of karma offering to the baseball god of position player pitching (we’ll call him Triple P), who was starving for satisfaction. Too long have we pointed and laughed at the hapless backup catcher or bench infielder who has been forced into the the unenviable position of pitching baseballs in a Major League Baseball game despite that not being their chosen specialty. Triple P was fed up after his favorite son, Chris Gimenez, had been cruelly forced to pitch twice against these Mariners in two different blowout losses. Triple P demanded at least two sacrifices. Miranda was powerless. Triple P also decided to be a real dick and make the Mariners outfielders lose two fly balls in the sun.
But, to his credit, Miranda managed to get through four innings at least before turning it over to newly designated long reliever and old, boring friend Chase De Jong. De Jong actually did his part to save the Mariners bullpen and finished out the game without giving up another run. Good on ya, Chase. Your reward is a trip back to Tacoma. Tough break.
Let’s see, what else happened? Oh yeah, this was shitty.
Look at pitch number six out there, hanging out there on the ragged edge. It wanted so badly to be a strike that umpire Shane Livensparger (real name) took pity on it and granted that ball its one wish, much to the chagrin of Nelson Cruz.
Moving on, Byron Buxton almost died in the seventh inning trying to live up to his new title of Best Centerfielder in Baseball Who Never Lets Any Balls Drop (shhhh, grow up).
The Mariners did manage to plate two runs thanks to RBI singles from Ben Gamel, who just refuses to stop hitting, and Robinson Cano. But, Jose Berrios was on his game today and the early deficit and free flying dingers proved too much to overcome.
On that note, the juiced ball theories are really starting to drive me a little nuts. It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the increase in home runs, both the quantity and the types of hitters hitting them. If the construction of the balls has changed, why can’t they just tell us? What’s the big deal? Home runs are fun and I have zero problem with them, but it would be nice to know how much stock to put in them when certain players hit them. Every damn stadium is starting to play like a bandbox a la new Yankee Stadium. When Target Field opened, only Jim Thome could hit home runs there (ed. note: this is a lie). Now Eduardo Escobar, Eddie Rosario and even noodle-armed Byron Buxton are hitting ball out with aplomb. We’ve seen the increase first-hand at Safeco Field, which is no longer the pitcher’s paradise it once was (also due to the moved-in fences since 2013).
But, I digress. This was a big ol’ shrug of a getaway baseball game that was mercifully over in under 3 hours. This team can’t get over the .500 hump to save their lives at the moment. Onto Texas they go, where the Rangers have recently leapfrogged the Mariners in the standings.