This was a sleepy slobber-knocking. A stress-free stomping. A yawning you-just-got-knocked-out. The Seattle Mariners came into Fenway Park and delivered brunch-time beatdown on the boys from Beantown from beginning to bottom nine, and it was beautiful.
One night after Yusei Kikuchi labored through five innings in the chilly New England air, Chris Flexen wove a web of well-located funk across the zone for seven innings, with an economical 88 pitches and showing few signs of tiring. He wasn’t impeccable, starting barely half his hitters off with strikes, but his work around those early holes was all the more impresive, with 61 strikes total and 10(!) outs on the ground. The Mike Leake-esque outing leaned into Seattle’s strong infield defense once again, which turned a pair of double plays to tie them with the Tampa Bay Rays for second-most twin killings turned so far at 20.
Flexen’s hottest heat narrowly clipped 95 mph, but he mixed pitches well while sitting closer to 92, with double-digit usage of his cutter, four-seam fastball, changeup, and curveball and multiple whiffs on each. By the time he was pulled headed into the eighth inning, there was little doubt about the final outcome, though Keynan Middleton and Will Vest kindly filled up the zone to ensure nothing outrageous.
The reason this game was such a breeze starts with a “K” and ends with a “-yle ‘Overpaid’ Seager.” Mariners ownership no doubt gnashed their teeth and wailed into their silken pillows as they presumably do every time the longtime M’s 3B rears his head, reminding them of the horror that is paying good players. If Seager is holding a grudge against Kevin Mather and the Mariners ownership group, he seems blessedly set on delivering its path of vengeance upon other teams. Seager referenced some tweaks he’d made to his swing with M’s hitting coaches Tim Laker and Jarret DeHart after a recent lull at the plate, and Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi has to be wishing they’d saved that conversation for another day.
Take your pick of Seager heroics, which came a dinger away from the first cycle since Adrían Beltré’s back in 2008.
From go to whoa, the M’s followed Seager’s lead and jumped all over BoSox pitching. Ty France smacked a double in the first for one of his three hits, one of several hitters on the day making excellent swing decisions and getting results to match. Between France, Seager, Evan White, and Sam Haggerty, Seattle strung together threat after threat, cashing in what felt like almost every baserunner and was in actuality only slightly less. Seager’s triple, double, single, and dirt ball reading scamper helped the M’s build a comfortable 5-1 lead through seven, and they added another on Haggerty’s Green Monster mounting mash which was about as much certification of a W as anything Boston’s bats could or could not provide.
For good measure, Haggerty snagged a hustle RBI courtesy of, well, excellent hustle in the top of the 9th, outracing the pitcher to the bag for an infield single on a simple grounder to 1st.
The blazing pace from the utility man secured a 3-for-3 day with a pair of walks, an M’s win, and at minimum a split of the series with the AL East leaders. Like nearly every bit of this game, and not coincidentally, fresh Dungeness Crab, it was delectable.