As with most Americans, I don’t keep my disdain for the New York Yankees a secret. In fact, had the Mariners lost today to finish the sweep, I would have simply made this recap a selection of excerpts from this NYT Opinion column on their detestable, yet necessary, existence.
Nevertheless, I’ll start with some words by that same author for a different publication:
I only observe that the ballpark is a paradise into which evil does occasionally come, whenever the Yankees are in town, and this occasionally lends the game a cosmic significance that it would not be improper to call “apocalyptic.”
from “A Perfect Game” by David Bentley Hart in First Things (2010)
Hyperbole though this is, the apocalyptic feeling is certainly palpable, particularly when the stakes are whether the Evil Empire will complete their sweep and inch closer in the standings, or whether they will endure the indignation of home team fans cheering their failure.
Evidently Logan Gilbert understood the stakes, as he came roaring out of the gate throwing 97-98 MPH heaters. His slider was his most effective weapon against the Yankees righty-bloated lineup, eliciting an elite 41% CSW (called strikes + whiffs) on that pitch. Here’s a Pitching Ninja clip featuring the silly swings he got off his slider to absolutely torment New York:
Logan Gilbert, Wicked Sliders. pic.twitter.com/UelagUASFK— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 8, 2021
His dominance today came without the confidence to use the changeup Jake Mailhot called his “secret weapon” over at FanGraphs, which he threw just twice, neither one eliciting a called strike or whiff. The right-on-right matchup certainly helps explain his reticence to deploy it, but he made it clear that he can rely on the four-seamer and the slider to shut down righties.
Would that success hold against a lineup with a more balanced platoon approach or even some apparent confidence that RHPs can be hit at all? Hard to say. As LL’s Isabelle and Mikey noted to me, we knew Sheffield would get obliterated, and the possibility that Kikuchi could get eaten alive was certainly present all along, but Gilbert stood uniquely suited to decimate New York.
I wouldn’t say it’s quite the right comparison, but the numbers are utterly impressive regardless.
After 7 innings of one-hit, zero-walk, eight-K ball (he let up a screaming line drive double from Stanton), Sewald and Graveman had their opportunities to shine. The former struck out two of the three batters he faced while the latter incited the rage of the Yankees’ dugout by “pitching inside” to Rougned Odor and then lightly scraping LeMahieu’s jersey. After the game-ending double play, Judge and the Yankees dugout gave Mariner Moose a staredown that only a truly vile franchise can muster against a symbol of joy.
Apologies for the source, but the footage is here for those (like me) invested in the possibility of Seattle-New York bad blood.
Seattle broadcast got another shot of several Yankees staring back at Mariners players after the game— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) July 8, 2021
Broadcasters remind us that the two teams meet once more this season August 5-8 at Yankee Stadium pic.twitter.com/kcdtMEm1IW
On the offensive end of things, it was a trio of names that are desperate to return to fans’ good graces who delivered tonight. Kyle Seager’s ultimately game-winning home run in the first reminded us that his 10 years here have been a delight, while Dylan Moore thought he should ensure that no one forgets he has pop in that absolutely minuscule waist with a two run shot in the second. Mitch Haniger’s eighth inning dinger was a bit of an afterthought, but he knew it would look bad not to hit a home run in the month of July before the All-Star Break. It would have, so good job, Mitch.
Despite the two losses in this series, resulting in the first series loss in what feels like ages, the Mariners homestand continues to be tolerable as they stay afloat in their unexpected Wild Card contention. The series with the Angels (aka the Jack Mayfield revenge weekend) will be critical in that effort, as well as to purge from our ears the lingering “let’s go Yankees” chants that sadly fill T-Mobile Park when the Empire comes to town.
Thank you Logan Gilbert for preventing this recap from being profanity-laden and full of apocalyptic narratives that I can’t help but let slip. The effort is appreciated.