The day began with swirling trade rumors. With the Mariners calling up an additional catcher — and with Austin Nola held out of the lineup — was Jerry Dipoto about to make yet another deal?
Well, we still don’t know the answer to that one. Ken Rosenthal reported that the Tampa Bay Rays have liked Nola for quite some time, although he gave no indications that a deal was imminent.
UPDATE: Between when I started writing this recap and when I finished, we got some confirmation that Nola is, indeed, on his way out. We’ve got full coverage here.
The San Diego Padres are nearing a deal to get catcher Austin Nola from the Seattle Mariners for a highly regarded prospect, sources tell ESPN. It would be the Padres’ fourth trade in a little more than 24 hours.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 30, 2020
But once we’ve moved past the off-field drama, there’s still plenty to unpack on the field, as a couple of the Mariners’ young guns showed glimpses of hope en route to a 2–1 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 10 innings.
It’s impossible to talk about the game today without first mentioning Justin Dunn. The 24-year-old righty has been up and down on the season, with mediocre outings (2 IP, 6 ER against the Dodgers; 4 IP, 3 ER against the Angels) putting a damper on his future outlook. Many (myself included) have assumed he’s destined for a relief role in the not-so-distant future.
A week ago, however, Dunn excelled against the Rangers, allowing just a single hit in six innings and scattering six strikeouts to one walk. He built on that today, matching that one hit in six frames (although he walked four this time around):
I’m still not sure what to make of Dunn. This start brought his ERA down to 4.33 (okay), his FIP to 5.88 (ummmm....), and his xFIP to 6.22 (still not great, Bob!). But his breaking pitches were working today, as evidenced by some legit major leaguers swinging and missing, plus Jo Adell. (I kid, I kid.)
That said, in all-too-familiar Mariners fashion, the offense couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Angels starter Griffin Canning faced the minimum through four after the only baserunner, Kyle Lewis, walked and was promptly picked off back in the first inning. In the fifth, Jose Marmolejos recorded the first hit of the game for the Teal & Green, but a 103 MPH EV flyout from Evan White and a Jake Fraley lineout stranded Marmo at first.
It wasn’t until the 7th that either team got on the board, but it was a familiar face:
106 MPH off the bat? Taking a middle-away pitch and launching it oppo? Kyle Lewis continues to enthrall. Perhaps Jarred will get knocked off my next-jersey-to-purchase list.
Two names nowhere near that list? Anthony Misiewicz and Jake Fraley. (Sorry, guys.) After allowing a ground-rule double to Albert Pujols, Misiewicz temporarily righted the ship with a pair of strikeouts. But a single to right field from Andrelton Simmons — and a painful misplay from Fraley — allowed the lumbering legend to round third and tie it up. See for yourself:
Each of the next two innings also provided a scare for Mariners fans. In the eighth, Yoshi Hirano allowed a single and a walk, sandwiched around a flyout. Hirano then misplayed a line drive hit right at him; while he recovered to get an out at second, Shed Long then airmailed his throw to first and failed to complete what would have been an inning-ending double play. Thankfully, Brian Goodwin couldn’t do much with the opportunity, striking out on a 2-2 count to wrap up the frame.
In the ninth, it was Taylor Williams’ turn to raise Mariners fans’ heart rates. With nobody on and two outs, TWilly walked Anthony Bemboom...then threw a wild pitch where Bemboom advanced to second...then threw ANOTHER wild pitch where Bemboom scampered over to third. But an Andrelton Simmons strikeout saved me from writing a very sad recap, and things progressed to extras. At which point, Tim Lopes decided enough was enough.
I gotta say, though, credit should be split here between Lopes and third-base coach Manny Acta. Lopes battled back from an 0-2 count to get this hit, and Acta correctly read the outfield to send Lewis from third. I was absolutely screaming at Manny when I saw that KLew was on his way home...mea culpa, Manny. Because that aggressive baserunning is what won the game for the Mariners. Yohan Ramirez recorded a pair of strikeouts, intentionally walked Mike Trout (honestly, even if nobody had been on base, I would’ve walked Trout there), and induced a pop-out from Anthony Rendon to clinch the W.
This wasn’t the prettiest win — the Mariners were more than a little lucky to allow just one run — but nor was it an ugly win. It was a great showing of resilience after yesterday’s bloodbath. Hopefully, we’re seeing Justin Dunn turn the corner and put something together. Whether or not this is a mirage, however, there’s one thing we can agree on: Sunday afternoons are way more fun with a Mariners win.