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Mariners do just enough to beat terrible team, win 2-1

Electric Edi shines on his night

Baltimore Orioles v Seattle Mariners Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

I’m not going to talk about run differential, because talking about run differential is boring and tiresome, but wins like tonight encapsulate why the Mariners have such a good record with such a poor run differential. All season long, they’ve used this formula to great success:

  1. Get a lead;
  2. Get it to Edi.

The Mariners could have blown out the Baltimore Orioles, a legitimately terrible team, by five or seven or ten runs. They could have, but they didn’t. They didn’t have to. All they had to do was get a lead, and get it to Edi, and they did that. If the season can’t have anything else, let it have this: Edwin Díaz blossoming into the most dominant reliever in baseball. On his night, with fans wearing t-shirts with his silhouette, some sporting his signature haircut, Edwin Díaz showed again why he’s the most exciting reliever in baseball, striking out each batter he faced to secure his MLB-leading, Mariner-record 52nd save.

The Mariners fell behind in this one early, when Erasmo Ramirez surrendered a foul-pole-clanker of a homer to Jonathan Villar. Meanwhile, the M’s struggled against lefty Josh Rogers, part of the Orioles’ return in the Zach Britton deal. Rogers doesn’t have overwhelming stuff but he does have a fair bit of deception, the ability to locate, and he throws baseballs with his left hand. The Mariners finally got to Rogers in the fourth, when he surrendered back-to-back walks to Cruz and Canó, and the Ryon Healy singled home the Mariners’ first run (but was thrown out at second, because Ryon has not yet accepted the fact that he Is. Not. Fast. C’mon, Ryon). They kept the pressure on in the fifth when Cameron Maybin tripled and Dee Gordon sent him home on a sac fly.

That would be all the Mariners needed, as the bullpen combined for four scoreless innings after a much-improved start from Ramírez. The bullpen struck out seven total, two of which belonged to Nick Vincent and three of whom were victims of Edwin Díaz’s brutal buzz cut.

It wasn’t an overwhelming victory. It didn’t have to be.

When Edwin Díaz is on your team, you only have to win by one.