I watched today’s Mariners game, admittedly, not very carefully. There was Easter brunch to assemble and eat, a nephew to watch run around enjoying his new tee ball set, an elderly cat to protect from said nephew and his new tee ball set. Mike Leake didn’t do a ton to inspire interest in the game, either, as his command was a little shaky and he gave up an early two-run home run to Kevan Smith. Then, just when the Mariners had scored an answering run on a Domingo Santana RBI double, Leake gave up a home run to Tommy La Stella, and then later one to Brian Goodwin, making the score a deflating-feeling 4-1.
The offense, meanwhile, couldn’t scrape together a run against Jaime Barria, seemingly wrong-footed by the Angels’ use of Hansel Robles as The Opener. Ty Buttrey, the prize in the Ian Kinsler trade, faltered a little in the seventh, surrendering two hits and a run, but Mallex Smith, who had a fairly brutal day at the plate again, grounded out to kill the threat. I still think Buttrey is the best reliever the Angels have and expect him to take over closing duties by June, if you’re a fantasy baseball type.
The offense did make it interesting in the 9th, when they homered three times off the combination of Noe Ramirez and Cody Allen, who will certainly be happy to see the back of Mitch Haniger. Unlikely suspects Tom Murphy and Dee Gordon and likely suspect Haniger all recorded homers to push the Mariners within two runs.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t make up all the ground ceded by Shawn Armstrong and R.J. Alaniz, who each gave up a pair of runs. Armstrong continued to struggle with his control and Alaniz also got touched up, although he did record two strikeouts. Chasen Bradford is reportedly throwing off a mound with no pain and that’s good news for the Mariners (and for the Tacoma Rainiers, who were absolutely shellacked today by Albuquerque, 23-2).
Bright spot: despite again failing to record an error-free game (Tom Murphy had a bad throw), the infield defense continues to look sharp:
Nice work by @Mariners defense in Anaheim as they turn the DP. #RefreshingPlays pic.twitter.com/jpjZsyEYpy— ROOT SPORTS™ | NW (@ROOTSPORTS_NW) April 21, 2019
After playing 17 games in a row, tomorrow is a well-deserved off day for the Mariners, although the road trip continues to San Diego to face the Padres, who are a game over .500 and in second place in the NL West. In other AL West news, the Astros lost despite the Rangers blowing a literal nine-run lead as Collin McHugh fell apart (nice of the Astros to save all their ace pitching performances for us, wasn’t it), so the Mariners get to enjoy another day atop the AL West despite the loss.