Florida is, by most accounts, fully settled and inhabited. It’s been a U.S. state since 1845 and is home to over 20 million people. While it certainly has amenities such as luxurious beaches and theme parks, it is perhaps best known for being home to the Florida Men. The Florida Men are well known for engaging in lawless absurdity, fueling headlines with antics such destroying liquor stores with forklifts and feeding wild alligators. Kate summarized the antics of the Florida Men quite nicely last night.
Most know Alaska as the “Final Frontier”. Alaska, however, is a known commodity. There’s snow. There’s oil. There’s fishing. The chaotic Florida is ever-changing, unable to ever truly be known. For this reason, it is unique. An ever-changing landscape is always open to new discoveries.
This week, a team of adventurers ventured down to Florida. They were not the first, and they will doubtlessly not be the last. After emerging victorious last night after their first clash with the locals, our exploratory Mariners hunkered down for another battle. Tonight, they would be facing a formidable, if wild, opener in Diego Castillo, followed by an intriguingly average starter in Jalen Beeks. With the terrifying Charlie Morton set to take the hill for tomorrow, this battle was one the Mariners would need to win.
Well, the Mariners came out, guns absolutely a-blazin’. Kyle Seager, the wizened veteran of North Carolina, who is out here trying to solidify 2019 as a true bounce-back season, clocked a dinger in the first inning to put the Mariners up 2-0.
Of course, if there is one thing that the Florida Men do, it is fight. Fight, and fail to uphold the law. Matt Wisler managed to wiggle out of a tight first inning jam, but Tommy Milone didn’t do quite as well. Milone allowed three straight hard singles that led to two runs for the Rays.
Two innings later, Milone allowed another two runs. The Rays opened the fourth by recording three straight hits, setting the stage for Mike Zunino. Thankfully, Zunino was as reliably unreliable as he always was as a Mariner, and he struck out. Milone was able to limit the damage to just the two runs.
The Mariners, fresh off of being battered by a forklift or beaten by an alligator, were able to immediately answer the onslaught with two more runs of their own. A Tim Lopes reach-on-error, a Dee Gordon single, and a Crawford walk set the stage for Austin Nola, who continued his shocking season by ripping an RBI double down the left field line. Unfortunately, Crawford was sent home on one of the more ill-advised decisions in recent memory, and was thrown out at the plate.
Milone managed to get through a clean sixth, which set the stage for Seager and Tom Murphy to regain the lead. Though Murphy is just 28 years old, he feels like almost as much as a grizzled veteran as Seager does. Seager drew another walk, helping to solidify his walk rate at the levels it saw in his prime. This set the table for Murphy, who continued his torrid 2019 with this obliteration of a changeup.
With the Mariners leading 6-4 after six innings, the bullpen was able to cobble together another three scoreless innings to quell the rabble-rousers and seal the victory. Sam Tuivailala, Anthony Bass, and Matt McGill each threw a scoreless inning, and the Mariners earned their second straight victory over the untamed Rays.
With their recent hot streak, the Mariners are plummeting concerningly fast down the draft pick standings. It’s worth it, however, if it means that Kyle Seager, Tom Murphy, and Austin Nola are each able to continue their hot hitting. If any one of them is a productive player for a competitive Mariner team, I think we can call that a win.
The Mariners will play again tomorrow at 10:10 AM PST. If you can, join us for breakfast baseball as the Mariners try to take down one of the best pitchers in the league for the sweep.