It was, once again, a beautiful day at the ballpark. If this game had been played on a rural sandlot, there’d have been birds and crickets dueling for airtime in the beautiful Seattle sunshine. Instead, seagulls and SoDo bore witness to baseball’s equivalent of a septuagenarian showdown, with Albert Pujols and Edwin Encarnación trading blows like aging battleships, before Seattle’s leaky bullpen and a torpedo from Kole Calhoun scuttled Seattle to the briny depths.
Tommy Milone started for Seattle, because when you ask for a rebuild you get things like this. No pitcher seems better crafted to still be obliterated by the scuffling husk of Albert Pujols, and Pujols happily obliged. Going up with an 87 mph fastball sure was a choice by Tommy Milone, but it’s not as though he missed his spot, so much as it was a suspect pitch call.
Live your life like Tommy Milone throwing a heater I suppose. He’d give way to the bullpen midway through the 5th, with Cory Gearrin working out of a jam, but not before Milone and the Mariners feted Pujols’ ego with a two-out intentional walk in the 3rd to further improve the day for MLB Elders Who Would REALLY Love Not Having To Run Today.
Seattle’s ranking member of the club, Edwin Encarnación was the story for the Mariners today, launching two what-even-is-the-concept-of-doubters that led him to stand casually post-contact in a delightful recognition of his handiwork. Dinger number one (the solo shot in the 4th to cut the Angels lead to 3-1) was a thing of beauty, and seeing Mike Trout throw in the towel on dinger number two (a two-run jack in the 6th) was pure poetry.
Despite Edwing’s incredibly productive roundtrippers, Seattle could get little else going against Andrew Heaney. Mitch Haniger hit the ball hard a couple times, Vogelbach narrowly missed a dinger, and the Mariners didn’t draw a single walk. That window gave the Angels plenty of chances against the shaky Mariners bullpen, as Brandon Brennan walked a pair before Kole Calhoun launched a predictable 3-2 fastball into the afternoon sun against Roenis Elías. Noted garbage time specialist Mike Trout snuck a dinger of his own in off recently-recalled Chasen Bradford, and that was all she wrote.
But I’m writing a bit more. We’re hours away from a presumed Jay Bruce trade, and the chances Edwin Encarnación doesn’t follow soon are minute. Like Nelson Cruz before him, Edwin will not command a plaque in the Hall of Fame, but I will remember him like I imagine those a generation before recall Dave Kingman, Darrell Evans, and Dave Parker: true sluggers who made every game a bit more exciting when they came to bat. Remember Edwin, and appreciate his power like he does. There’s no guarantee of seeing another of his like again.