In the past couple weeks, the Mariners have looked and felt... decent? Average? Not terrible? Whichever vaguely positive term you want to use, it’s backed up by facts: since June 19th, Seattle entered today 7-5. That’s a 94-win pace over a full season! Bad teams (and yeah this is one of ‘em) have at least a few good stretches, and this has been one of them. It even looked like for a hot second that the good times would continue!
But they didn’t. Rats.
Catch up on the game thread here:
Mike Leake was the main bringer of fun tonight, spinning one of his best starts of the season against his former team. He faced the minimum through the first four frames, allowing just a single by Yairo Muñoz that doinked off his glove on the first pitch of the game. Following a pretty 5-4-3 double play, Leake kicked it up a notch in the second, striking out Paul Goldschmidt...
...and Dexter Fowler in order, and only needed sixteen pitches to do so.
Facing a righty-heavy Cardinal lineup, Leake mostly scrapped his changeup in favor of plenty of sliders and backdoor cutters, and his masterful mix of pitches kept St. Louis off balance all evening. He worked lightning quick, scattered five hits, didn’t walk a soul, and was generally top tier Mike Leake. I, for one, am going to miss outings like this from a purely aesthetic standpoint.
Dylan Moore also lent a hand with a dinger in the fifth:
Moore is listed at six feet, 185 pounds. His legs are so skinny! He has little to no booty! And yet, three of his now four homers have traveled over 400 feet. Each of them have cracked triple digits in exit velocity. There’s some real power in that small frame, and coupled with another solid night in left field, he is slowly but surely developing into an actual utility player. While Moore is on the older side for a rookie at 26, he’s team-controlled, has all three options remaining, and in his physical prime. I’ll take that off the bench any day. Another run came across in the sixth by way of a wild pitch, and after Leake made it through seven shutout innings on just 82 pitches, the possibility of witnessing a Maddux was growing.
Alas, Yadier Molina dashed those hopes leading off the eighth, battling Leake for nine pitches before going down on strikes. Kolten Wong followed with another strikeout, and Harrison Bader knocked Leake by hammering a first-pitch fastball into left. Bader came into today mired in a Chris Davis-esque slump of 2-for-39. He had two hits including a double today. Baseball! With a high-leverage situation presented to him, Scott Servais put his best reliever in to face the top of the order, and it worked: Austin Adams got Muñoz to harmlessly line out. With the Mariners turned away in the eighth, Adams stayed on for the ninth. Good managing!
Adams labored a bit to kick off the ninth, allowing ground ball singles to José Martínez and Goldschmidt, but sandwiched a three-pitch disintegration of Paul DeJong between them. He wouldn’t make it past O’Neill, though, issuing a seven pitch walk before being pulled for Roenis Elías.
Well, point for the robot ump camp, I suppose.
Elías wobbled quickly, giving up a solid base hit to Fowler and then a sac fly to Molina to blow the lead, though Dylan Moore may have had a chance to get Martínez at home if he hadn’t needed to make a nice leaping grab and an off-balance throw that both Goldschmidt and Fowler were able to tag up on. Oh, well. It’s just a tie. Someone - or something - named Tommy Edman came up to pinch hit for Wong. Roenis has been pretty alright all season. What’s the worst that could happen?
The bottom of the ninth ended in a whimper, as Andrew Miller Andrew Millered Omar Narváez and Kyle Seager, with Carlos Martínez getting Tom Murphy on a lazy flyout to seal the loss. Honestly, though, it’s all good. This game was fun until it wasn’t, and a trade chip increasing value and a youngish bat smoking a dinger are both positive you can walk away with in a rebuild year. An opener will precede Tommy Milone tomorrow, and hopefully there will be more fireworks than what we saw tonight.