Today was supposed to be a fun day. Fresh off of his appeal, Héctor Santiago got the nod as the opener for the Mariners for his first appearance in five days. The draft is today! Cal Raleigh made his debut! The Mariners were in position for a sweep against one of their division rivals, too. Some of that went well. The latter did not, because David Fletcher is just the worst.
Before Fletcher had an opportunity to be the worst, MLB had their go at it. Santiago’s first glove has yet to be returned after being confiscated, and his second glove was deemed...too...grey(???), and thus wasn’t able to be used either. Santiago — an actual saint — obliged with a sick blue glove to match the team’s Sunday home alternates:
Santiago tossed a helluva game, which is something that we’ve grown accustomed to this year. He was up to his usual tricks, leaning heavily on his fastball and changeup. While his fastball velocity was down over a tick, he still threw it for plenty of strikes. He didn’t do so with his changeup, but he did induce plenty of ground balls.
Here’s a changeup that was not a ground ball:
Whoops! It doesn’t seem that he even missed Cal Raleigh’s target by much. But David Fletcher sends it over the fence in left field regardless. If you know anything about Fletcher, you’ll know that he hits for very little power. This is just his second home run on the year. He’s literally tied with Billy Hamilton in ISO since 2018. Now, if you know at least that much about Fletcher, then you’ll probably also know that he’s really fuckin annoying too.
We’ll get to that in a moment. But first, here’s Santiago, again, blowing a fastball by the next hitter, Shohei Ohtani, for a strikeout:
Santiago did his job, going on to open the game with three frames of two-hit, one-run ball. He left the rest of the game in the hands of the Mariners’ bullpen. JT Chargois entered and did his thing, tossing one full inning and striking out two. Unfortunately, Yohan Ramirez also did his thing too.
Literally on his second pitch of the game:
Ramirez wouldn’t throw anything but his four-seam fastball after this pitch. He went on to walk Juan Lagares, and then Jack Mayfield bunted them over. That set up David Fletcher to do as David Fletcher does, which is to be an annoying lil rat boy.
Apparently, Fletcher’s annoyingness supersedes Ramirez’s wildness. It’s not even a particularly bad pitch. Fletcher just throws his hands at the ball and sends it into right field. And guess what? He’d do it again, too, because he’s trying to ruin my life.
I mean, it’s not like I expecting a win today, per se. Bullpen starts are always a bit of a struggle. But I also wasn’t anticipating that the Los Angles David Fletchers of Anaheim would score several, several runs at the hands of their player-mascot, David Fletcher. Only one run was not accounted for by Fletcher.
Make no mistake, he did it again:
This — this! — was Fletcher’s hardest-hit ball of the game. He hits it 100 mph into the ground and makes Rafael Montero his fourth victim of the game. And just for good measure, just to be a pain in our collective ass, Fletcher scored on a Jared Walsh single to right field. Just the worst.
You know who wasn’t the worst? Cal Raleigh wasn’t the worst! Well, if you ask WPA, he was, but if you ask us (Addie and Mikey) he was actually pretty fine. Raleigh had been left on deck following an almost-promising clinic in collaboration in the first, which came to a grinding halt after France’s sac fly gave the M’s their only run of the day. His first MLB plate appearance was an opportunity he made the most of, in spite of the swinging strikeout. Suarez started him off with a curve that slid in for a called strike one, but our beef boy was ready with his “Dominate the Zone” mindset and fouled off four consecutive pitches to hold the count at 0-2. He took Suarez’s changeup for ball one on the sixth pitch of the at-bat but fell to the lefty’s FB-CH combo as he fouled off the former and swung through the latter.
Today’s performances in the early home frames were filled with weak grounders and soft pop-ups, looking more like the May-slump Mariners than the team we’ve gotten used to so far this summer. Jake Fraley attempted to instigate some offense entering the fourth, but Cal’s second AB was spoiled by what proved to be a momentum-snuffing, off-brand Evan White catch by Jared Walsh in foul territory.
Cal’s early adrenaline seemed drained toward the end of the game, as he went down swinging in four pitches and subsequently hit a soft ground out for his last trip up. Between the last two innings of Mariner offense, as the Angels piled on runs off Rafael Montero, there was really nothing left for a lineup with a painfully evident last-day-of-school-before-break level of investment in the game to do but hasten their rest days.