Ernie Banks once said, “It’s a beautiful day for baseball. Let’s play two.”
After the Seattle Mariners used eight pitchers to eke out an 8-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals in game one of a true doubleheader, however, that adage might not be so popular in the Pacific Northwest — especially since David Phelps, he of the four-prospect-trade, left the game due to the terrifying “right elbow discomfort.”
But before we get too wrapped up in all that, let’s focus on the positives:
- Yonder Alonso! Sure, he’s slumped a bit since the All-Star Break, but acquiring an All-Star first baseman for the second-best Boog Powell in major league history is a good trade-off, and he figures to shore up the first base slot starting on Tuesday.
- Nelson Cruz can hit the ball a LONG way:
MLB Statcast details on the Crus homer ... And yes, it's 7-0 ... again, 7-0 . Once more, 7-0. pic.twitter.com/MRj6Mp8cGc— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 6, 2017
Like, a LONG, LONG way:
And the M’s needed every one of his 4 RBI today, given the up-and-down performance from...
- Marco Gonzales! The young lefty started out strong but fell victim to a rough fifth inning, where he allowed three straight baserunners before getting the hook. He finished the day with 4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, and 5 K, a line that looks worse than he actually pitched. There were flashes of brilliance, but I’d still prefer the (somewhat diminished) King.
- Finally, Scott Servais has had his issues managing the bullpen this season, but I thought he played this one well, especially since Cody Martin will be joining the ‘pen for this afternoon’s game. James Pazos and Tony Zych turned in scoreless frames, and the young skipper dealt nicely with Phelps’ injury.
Of course, baseball is much more fun when you stake your squad to a 7-0 lead through two innings. All it took was some nice power from Cruz, Kyle Seager, and Danny Valencia. A win in Game Two would tie the Mariners with the Rays for the second Wild Card spot, though it could take a Herculean effort from the pitching staff to make it through a full game. I’m quite worried, especially since Erasmo Ramirez doesn’t go deep into games. Expect to see Cody Martin, hopefully for two innings, and Casey Lawrence figures to make an appearance as the only reliever who didn’t pitch in the first game.
Is it any wonder, then, that David Phelps’ injury could be sorely damaging to an already-thin bullpen that’s over-reliant on guys like Vincent and Edwin Diaz? It’s pointless to speculate since we won’t know anything until tomorrow, but Phelps’ velocity was down for all seven pitches he threw. Not a good sign. Without Phelps, the M’s could struggle to get through games like this.
But Sunday afternoon baseball awaits, and that’s a phrase we only get to say so many more times this year. Let’s settle in and see what Game Two brings us.