A series win, Taylor Trammell’s first career hit, dingers and some competent pitching. Honestly, what more could you want on a Saturday night?
Chris Flexen, in his Mariners debut - and first major league start since Aug. 24, 2019 - swirled through the hoary San Francisco Giants lineup for five innings, striking out six and not allowing a run. He topped out at 95 and wielded his cutter with aplomb, but struggled with command and the changeup in particular was...not pleasant. Could he have replicated this outing with minimal damage against a more formidable offensive foe? Probably not, but that’s okay for now.
In the bottom of the third, after 21 innings of baseball,with nary a dinger to speak of, Ty France finally took pity on us and sent a laser into the bullpen.
Seattle’s offense continued to embody what Jerry Dipoto classified as “just walks and doubles,” with Evan White, Trammell and Dylan Moore doubling back-to-back-to-back in the fourth.
Kendall Graveman, who must have spent the preceding innings snorting Pixie Stix and shotgunning Red Bull, arrived in the sixth hurling 99 MPH heaters and patently unfair secondaries, including this slider to Austin Slater that I’d happily watch all night long.
Two innings of dominance from Graveman were followed up by a serviceable Anthony Misiewicz appearance and an uneventful extended close from Rafael Montero.
And yes, in between all that, Mitch Haniger hit his first MLB homer since “Old Town Road” was topping the charts in the summer of 2019.
The trio of Graveman, Misiewicz and Montero is, in all likelihood, the best-case scenario coming out of the bullpen this season. The copse of relievers assembled by Dipoto this season is arguably his weakest since taking over the team, and I think there’s going to be a huge point of variance in the outcome and enjoyability of games depending on what crew is tasked with the final innings (See: Friday, April 2, 2021).
Tonight’s game was satisfactory, but nothing collectively mind-blowing: just nine innings of solid, well-played baseball. But these ambiguous, semi-forgettable games add up. They’re the bottom layer of the pyramid, the gaping concrete foundation of an as-of-yet unbuilt house. Big things are coming (arrival time TBD), and this evening’s shutout was definitely a step in the right direction.