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Mariners celebrate Clear The Shelters Day by being Very Good Boys

Everyone was a very good boy, yes he was

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays
in our family we give hugs and high fives
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Today was Clear the Shelters Day at shelters across the nation, where many shelters waived adoption fees for new animal friends. Our own Ethan Novak got a new friend:

I’m currently typing this sitting next to my own shelter friend, Henry the Cat, who I can’t imagine life without. Some shelters are running specials for the whole weekend, so if you’re in the market for a new best friend, now is a great time.

Speaking of best friends, today the Mariners were Very Good Boys, each contributing in some way to a 7-6 win over the Rays.

After a rough first inning where Miranda had to throw 22 pitches (12 strikes) and gave up a run, Miranda settled down and looked much more like the version of himself we’ve seen earlier this season. He’s back to working at a quick pace, which not only seems to lead to better results for him, but also makes for a much more pleasant watching experience. From the second inning on he was able to work in his splitter and changeup more to put away batters. While he struggled a little in the third, hitting Kiermaier and giving up a sharp double to Peter Bourjos, he came back with a smart plan against Evan Longoria, pitching him backwards before returning to an 80 mph splitter at the bottom of the zone for an easy pop-out. He then struck out Souza on the same splitter and got Ramos to fly out on an easy changeup.

Good job, Ariel. You are our team’s Greyhound: long and leggy, rescued from a bad situation (the Orioles’ rotation), and although you have a tendency to wander astray, you come right back when Stottlemyre calls.

Emilio Pagán took over for Miranda in the fifth after he gave up the home run to Souza and struggled with locating his fastball. He was leaving things too far in the middle of the plate, and got hit hard for it. The good news is Pagán was able to battle back and find his command, getting two strikeouts, which bodes well for the young righty in recovering from adversity. Zep came on to finish out the inning, needing just four pitches to strike out Kiemaier, and then got the first two outs of the sixth before turning things over to Zych for the final out. Nick Vincent looked unhittable as he struck out the side in the eighth, and then Edwin Díaz only gave us a mild heart attack as he surrendered a solo homer to LoMo to let the Rays draw within a run before getting Corey Dickerson to ground out to end the game. Pagán, Zep, Zych and Vincent remind me of Boxers: they’re all stronger than they look, tenacious and intent on their prey. (Edwin Díaz is, of course, a Dalmation: fast, long-limbed, helpful in a crisis, but occasionally will pee on the rug.)

Offensively, despite falling behind early, the Mariners once again made life miserable for Jake Odorizzi. They loaded the bases in the second but were unable to get a run across, and much grumbling was made. But then, when the bases were loaded again, Mitch Haniger wasn’t about to let that opportunity pass twice:

Mitch Haniger is a Border Collie: intelligent, kind, loyal, and resilient. Or you know, just go ahead and insert your favorite breed of dog here. That’s what kind he is.

The Mariners would add on in the fourth, when Jean Segura started off the inning with a double, clobbering the one ball that will probably go over Kiermaier’s head all season. Yonder Alonso then singled and despite a very questionable send at third, Segura was safe at home as the throw skipped past Wilson Ramos.

And now, for another entry in my series entitled, “Why Do Pitchers Throw Nelson Cruz Anything Resembling a Strike?”

Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Just, seems like a losing sort of strategy to me. Anyway. Patient, gentle, strong, and majestic: Nelson is our Bernese Mountain Dog.

The Mariners played well defensively, with the typical “no balls find green” outfield defense we’re used to seeing. Ben Gamel continues to rebound from his very poor August (-17 wRC+!)—he hit the ball hard several times today and just happened to not find green, but he did have a single and took a walk. Meanwhile, he continues to do stuff like this on the regular:

A little shaggy, high-energy to the point of exhaustion, hard-working and friendly: Ben Gamel is a Boykin Spaniel.

Oh yeah, the infield defense isn’t too shabby, either:

Affectionate, friendly, playful, compact, disliking of cold weather, sporty but with little legs that seem prone to injury: Jean Segura is a Cavalier Spaniel.

The Mariners didn’t gain a lot of ground in the Wild Card race today which is sad, but winning is happy. The Mariners are guaranteed a series win; tomorrow they see if they can break out the brooms. Good job, baseball friends.

Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images