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Mariners C the Z, W the G

I can’t tell if Edwin Diaz should apologize to the Athletics or if the Athletics should apologize to Edwin Diaz.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels
Edwin Diaz wears number 39 because he will strike out three batters in nine pitches.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Five of the eight runners that scored in Thursday night’s matchup between the Athletics and the Mariners got on base via the free pass. The difference, unsurprisingly, was that the Mariners were able to limit their issued walks, while the Athletics couldn’t.

The third inning illustrated this perfectly. The Mariners, trailing 1-0, started the inning with back to back singles from two of their top 10 prospects, Evan White and Braden Bishop. A couple batters later, Mitch Haniger after A.J. Puk threw a wild pitch in the dirt, allowing White to score from third and putting runners on the corners with just one out. A.J. Puk, the Athletics’ top prospect, proceeded to retire Kyle Seager in an impressive 10-pitch battle to get one out closer to escaping a jam; however, the Mariners had other intentions. Junior Lake stepped up with the bases loaded and drew a walk to load the bases for Mike Ford.

Bob Melvin decided to give Puk the rest of the night off and handed the ball over to Eric Jokisch. Ford would not be deterred by the lefty-lefty matchup and worked a full count before walking to plate Seattle’s second run of the game. The Mariners, now leading, still had the bases loaded with runners that walked their way to first base. Then Taylor Motter strolled into the box thinking “walking in runs is fun, but hitting dingers is even more fun.” And just like that, he launched a laser shot over the left field fence to put the Mariners in front 6-1.

In the bottom half of the third, Ariel Miranda found himself in a bit of trouble after a one-out double from Chad Pinder put runners on second and third for the Athletics. Jed Lowrie was due up next for Oakland and watched the first three pitches of his at bat miss the zone. Learning from the mistakes of the Athletics, Miranda refused to throw a fourth ball and fought back to get Lowrie swinging at a slider. Then it was Khris Davis’ turn. He also worked the count full before swinging and missing at another Ariel Miranda slider, bringing the inning to an end.

The Mariners wouldn’t score another run, but they wouldn’t need to. Miranda finished the night after four innings of work, and although he allowed five hits and a pair of doubles, he also struck out four and walked just one. He forced the Athletics to manufacture runs on their own by not giving in when falling down in the count and surrendering walks in pivotal moments.

The score would remain 6-2 from the end of the fourth inning to the end of the game. Did anything important happened during those final five innings? Hm... Oh yeah, EDWIN DIAZ THREW AN IMMACULATE INNING! Talk about C’ing the Z!

Edwin’s heater was working, missing bats on the top part of the zone with ease. This is as good as a time as any to remind everyone that in two weeks we’ll see things like that happen in games that count.

Here are some noteworthy occurrences from the rest of the game:

  • The Mariners bullpen combined to throw five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out five.
  • I made a mid-game food run with my younger sister to grab some fries. In one ear I was listening to a playlist that features ranging from Yo Gotti to Eric Church while listening to the Mariners in the other. When we got back to the house, I turned to the TV to see Nick Vincent’s fastball cut through the upper part of the zone like a knife through hot butter. This was nice to see.
  • Braden Bishop continued his hot spring with a pair of hits. Go Huskies.
  • Mike Ford worked a pair of walks, both off of left handed pitchers.
  • I think that Gordon Beckham and Ben Gamel look similar.
  • Taylor Motter had a pair of extra base hits.
  • Former Mariner prospect Paul Blackburn pitched very well for the Athletics tonight, tossing four scoreless innings in relief.

Considering Opening Day is exactly two weeks away, we’ll call this a good vibes victory. Here’s to hoping this is a sign of good things to come.

Go M’s.