It’s July 1st, and the Mariners just completed a three-game sweep of the Royals to push them 23 games above .500 and extending their winning streak to seven. And arguably the most exceptional part of this series (save for Marco Gonzales’s first complete game and the glory that was Nelson Cruz sleeveless), was that the series was completed with less than nine total hours of game time (shout out Matt/erstwhile Cascadian Man for this tidbit).
In exactly two hours, the Ms quietly, benignly, disposed of Kansas City in precisely the way that fans demand “good” teams triumph over “bad” teams. This season has felt unreal in many moments, but especially this afternoon as I considered the recap narrative and marveled at the fact that a 1-0 shutout wherein James Paxton struck out 11 felt...sleepy. The primary offensive burble came off a Ben Gamel single in the second, allowing Kyle Seager to score from second. And then it was as if the offense had struck up a genie-like deal with Paxton: efficient run support, with minimal rest time, in exchange for no runs allowed. The two shook on the deal, and then the offense huddled together and snickered at their cleverness for not specifying just how much run support they’d provide.
22-year-old Brad Keller will be saddled with the decidedly Félix-like loss, but he pitched his newly-legal heart out and looks to be one to keep an eye on as he approaches exciting milestones like car-rental age.
There’s not much else to really say so, in the spirit of this game that many Hollywood directors could do well to emulate, I’ll end it here, with a few final Sunday fun facts.
- Edwin Díaz notched his 20th one run save of the season
- And hey, speaking of saves, Diaz leads all of MLB in saves and has eight more than the next best AL closer, Craig Kimbrel
- 38,000+ fans filled Safeco Field this afternoon and made their presence known, which isn’t really a fun fact but there’s something instantly goosebumps-inducing about hearing a packed crowd roar as Díaz closes out the game
- This was Paxton’s seventh game of the season with 10 or more strikeout, which ties him with 1991 Randy Johnson and 2011 Félix Hernández for ninth-most in franchise history (it should be noted that Randy Johnson and OG brave little toaster Mark Langston occupy spots 1-8 in franchise history)
- Diaz’s 22.2% hard hit rate is eighth-best among qualified pitchers (Erik Goeddel is fourth)
- The Mariners are half a game back from the division lead and concluded June 19-9, their best month yet, despite the June Gauntlet
- Scott Servais is 19 saves away from a new haircut
- Nelson Cruz was born 38 years ago today
At 54-31, the Mariners are a season-high 23 games over .500, marking the first time they have been at least 23 games over .500 since being 93-69 after game #162 of 2003.— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) July 1, 2018