Take a moment. Enjoy the offense we watched tonight. Enjoy the pitching. Let it soak in. The fun of this team. The way they can generate runs. The way they can make you temporarily forget the rebuild versus retool argument about the team’s future.
We all find our enjoyment of baseball in different aspects of the game. We all fan differently. When this team is good and the offense is on fire, there is something for every type of fan. This team can play fun baseball.
It’s been a streaky season. It can seem like all is falling into place and Lady Luck has blessed the team. Even with all the injuries, the Mariners are staring .500 right in the eye. Then, they have games and streaks where it feels like the sky is falling and like luck has passed us by.
It’s June now. We have a feel for the direction the season is taking us. Sometimes it’s going to be terrible, and sometimes it’s going to be really, really good.
Enjoy tonight. Enjoy the last four games. We just can’t tell what tomorrow will bring.
The game started out fun right away. James Paxton made his second start since coming off the disabled list. He faced three Twins and sent them straight back to the dugout. In the bottom of the inning, Guillermo Heredia led off with a walk. Danny Valencia followed suit. Robinson Cano thought the first inning was as good a time as any to deposit a line drive into the right field bleachers:
Home runs are fun.
After taking the second inning off, the offense got back to it in the third. Cano walked with one out and Nelson Cruz copied him. Kyle Seager doubled to score Cano. Taylor Motter contributed a sacrifice fly to score Cruz, knocking Minnesota starter Hector Santiago out of the game. It was kind of a shame he left; I was enjoying his pattern of walking two and giving up an RBI hit.
The Mariners were up 5-0 at this point, but the real offensive explosion came in the fourth inning when Danny Valencia attempted to pull a Taylor Motter and hit a grand slam against his former team. Mike Zunino led off the inning with a single. Jarrod Dyson was hit by a pitch (yep, again) and Guillermo Heredia singled to load them up. Valencia launched a pitch right down the left field line. It was so infuriatingly close to the foul pole. So, so close to another four runs.
Valencia dealt with that disappointment, focused, and did this instead:
If you can’t get the grand slam a bases clearing double is the next best thing.
Cano followed Valencia’s double with a single. Cruz drove in Valencia with a single, but was removed from the game with a sore calf and replaced by pinch runner Boog Powell. Kyle Seager launched a fly ball into the right field bleachers to clear the bases once again.
The offense decided to lay off the poor Twins from that point on. That was a nice thing to do. Our team is fun and nice.
James Paxton didn’t look quite as sharp as he did in his first outing back. He went 5 innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 runs while walking 3 and striking out 4. Nothing to complain about there. The bullpen pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief. The Tony Zych, Dan Altavilla, and Nick Vincent trio allowed 6 hits and 1 walk. The Twins may not be great, but a good bullpen showing is a fun thing.
Let’s hope there’s more to enjoy tomorrow night!
- Mike Zunino showed us why catching equipment is sometimes called the Tools of Ignorance. He took two pitches off of right arm and another shot to the chest. It takes a tough person to be a catcher. However you may feel about Zunino and his hat trick of strikeouts tonight, he deserves a gentle sympathetic hug.
- Catcher Chris Giminez pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for the Twins. The former Mariner has a 6.00 ERA in seven career pitching appearances, including four this season.
- Regarding Nelson Cruz, all we know right now is this:
Nelson Cruz came out of the game tonight because of the sore calf. Will have it looked at tomorrow.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) June 7, 2017
- Dyson was hit by a pitch for the ninth time this season, putting him in fourth place in MLB in HBP, and first in the American League.