Kyle Seager is not, as a person, given to dramatics, at least not publicly. After his inaugural Player’s Weekend nickname of “Corey’s Brother” attracted too much media attention, he dropped it in favor of simply “Seager” (and probably also rejected Mariners’ marketing reps pleas to go with “Simply Seager”). But Seager brought a little drama in his understated Seager way today as he put a final flourish on a career at Globe Life Park where he hit over .300 and slugged over .500 in his career there. (Kyle has other ballparks where he’s slugged over .500, but with over 330 plate appearances at Globe Life, it is the place he’s had the most at-bats).
The Mariners jumped out ahead early in this one, plating four runs in the first inning. The Rangers were going with a bullpen day anyway but lefty Brett Martin couldn’t clear the first despite not giving up any hard contact: the order of operations for Martin in the inning went HBP, single, strikeout, walk, strikeout, walk, single, single. Luke Farrell came in to shut things down, but not before the Mariners had given Yusei Kikuchi a healthy cushion before he even threw a pitch.
As for Kikuchi, this outing falls somewhere between his performance against the Blue Jays (very good!) and the Yankees (not very good!). Kikuchi’s mechanics continue to look smoothed out, as he’s largely disposed of the hesitation leg kick and instead is coming straight to the plate. His fastball touched 95 at times, and while he only got one strikeout, it was on the fastball. He used the slider almost as much as the fastball, mixing in the curveball and changeup sparingly, and of the six (yikes) whiffs he got, half were on the slider and half on the fastball. The issue with Kikuchi today was location; while he was able to limit the damage to just one run in a first inning where he loaded the bases with just one out, and gave up two more runs in the third, one on an RBI triple, he wasn’t efficient with his pitches. It took Kikuchi just one pitch shy of 80 pitches to clear five innings today, with just 48 of those pitches for strikes. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this outing encouraging, but on a very hot day in hitter-friendly Globe Life, things could have been much worse.
As for offense, the Mariners brought plenty of their own. Perhaps sensing the need to pad their lead, Tom Murphy and Daniel Vogelbach went back-to-back in the third:
Tom Murphy continues to be the shiniest diamond in the rough. He entered today 5th among all catchers (min. 200 PAs) in fWAR. Your backup catcher could never. (To be honest, prior to this year, our starting catcher could never.)
Meanwhile, Kikuchi’s short start wasn’t a problem for a bullpen that had recently been recharged with some new additions off the IL. Dan Altavilla, Austin Adams, Sam Tuivailala, and Brandon Brennan combined for four scoreless innings with six strikeouts between them. They showed varying degrees of rust, with three walks between them, and Altavilla was sitting 97-98.
The Mariners added a few more runs thanks to a bases-loaded walk from Braden Bishop, and later a Tim Lopes RBI double. It was turned into a laugher, though, by the man who has so often brought a smile to the faces of Mariners fans while playing in this ballpark, in winning seasons and losing ones:
RIP, Globe Life Park. You looked like a fairly miserable place to play baseball, but thanks for the memories...even the not so great ones.