It would not be an exaggeration to say that I am upset. Not by the loss, that might counter-intuitively have been a good thing, but by the way we got there.
JULIOOOOOOOOOOO is back, and he made his presence known tonight. DHing and leading off, Julio wasted no time coming off the IL.
Just a cute little groundball single up the middle. Nothing too noteworthy there. Except the exit velocity. 110.1 mph off the bat. I love watching Julio hit. The way he rotates his entire body and puts everything into his swing is mesmerising. Just look at his follow-through.
I think this rotation also helps his speed. He almost falls over in the box, so when he puts out his right foot to catch himself, he’s practically already running. This gives him rapid acceleration on little grounders like this.
In his second at bat, he didn’t hit the ball near as hard (78.5 mph) but he did put it exactly where it need to be to take advantage of the Tigers’ positioning and ability.
I personally find these loopers to be cute and fun.
In our final JULIOOOOO of the cap, he smoked this double to drive in the M’s last run of the night. With a grounder, flare, and a line drive, he only needed a fly ball hit to collect em all. No matter, a run is just as good.
In the Pitching side of the good news, let me introduce you to Matthew Boyd’s night. Because of the double header tomorrow, Scott did not want to use many arms tonight. So Boyd got put in for 3 innings of work, and he shoved.
Five strikeouts, just one walk, and no hits in three innings is just about perfect on a night like this. He did it with a fairly simple strategy, but one that worked: high fastballs, middle sliders, low changeups. The changeup was especially good at inducing swings, even when the pitch tracker makes it look lower than the limbo bar at a contortionist party.
With Boyd’s interview back on Friday when the M’s broke The Drought and with his performance tonight, I really hope he gets on the playoff roster. I think he deserves it.
For one, the Mariners lost. That sucks. what sucks even more is the the Rays also lost, so it didn’t even help the M’s get to the WC3 spot so they can face Cleveland and not Toronto, since the Jays clinched the WC1 spot tonight.
Second, (in the softest whisper you can imagine) George Kirby wasn’t that great tonight. I know, I know, he’s our darling boy and we love him, but he had a rough time of it.
We can forgive the first inning run, that came off a seeing eye ground ball and seemed like a fluke. We can also forgive the walks. George usually excels at limiting walks, throwing strikes, and keeping runners off the bases, but today he just couldn’t command. Three walks and six hits in four innings isn’t great, but doesn’t feel like the norm.
What’s harder to forgive is the 6 hard hit balls he gave up tonight. For whatever reason, the Tigers, mostly Javier Baez and Akil Baddoo, smoked him. This is a little worrying heading into the playoffs.
What’s even more worrying is what happened to Sam Haggerty in the bottom of the ninth. Down by one run and wanting to Win the Game, Haggerty took off to swipe second, which he did by a mile. Unfortunately, he jammed his leg on the slide, and had to be helped off the field.
This sucks so bad. Haggerty’s speed was built for the playoffs. If his injury is severe, losing him could be a huge, huge blow to the M’s. He’ll have an MRI in the morning. Fingers crossed.
It seems the baseball gods have decreed that there is only room for one speedy outfielder at a time on the M’s roster, and Julio’s triumphant return must be met with the sacrifice of Haggerty. It’s brutal, callous, and downright cruel. That’s baseball, I guess.
But I’m not going all doomer yet. I think the one thing we can say for sure about this Mariners squad is that they adapt well. They roll with the (sometimes literal) punches. Remember when three of the team’s core lineup was suspended and then they won 14 games in a row?
This team ended the drought, They can do anything, with anyone.