They share secrets!
The secret here is: “throw strikes.” This first-inning mound visit wasn’t that helpful in getting Marco’s act together, but at least it gave him a break. Although things started out promisingly enough with Marco striking out Rob Refsnyder (who I swear is a real person), he slogged through the rest of his first frame. As you can see from the bug in the image above, he was already at 28 pitches here. After his initial strikeout, Marco walked Rafael Devers on seven pitches. Two batters later, Xander Bogaerts had a hot shot down the right field line for an RBI double. Bogaerts did so on the seventh pitch of his at-bat. It was the first of four full counts in a row, something I can’t remember seeing before, at least from Marco, who’s nibbled on occasion as he worked the shadow zones, but nothing like this before. In a nod to the Kombucha lady, Marco needed 44 pitches to get through the inning (gross!), but only seven batters had turns at the plate with one runner scoring (well...).
They have existential despair!
You don’t need the statcast stats on this one; Cal Raleigh’s eyes tell the whole story. JD Martinez’s solo homer here in the third came on another set of back-to-back three-ball counts. Cal’s been doing his best to manage this pitching staff, but there’s only so much he can do. Yet for as much as Marco labored through this outing, these were the only two runs he would give up over four and a third. He managed to convince Scott Servais to let him try to pitch the fifth inning, even though his pitch count was already over 90, and he delivered with a strikeout of Devers on a sinker up and in. But then with JD Martinez in yet another full count, Dan Bellino called strike three a ball, and Martinez was awarded first base. At 102 pitches, Scott had little choice but to pull Marco for Penn Murfee.
All in all, it was a gutty outing, the kind you expect Marco Gonzlaes to put up even when he doesn’t have his best command. Marco was somewhat lucky that more of his six walks didn’t come around to score. Six is a career high for him; recall that in 2020, Marco only walked seven batters all (shortened) season. And yet it wasn’t all luck. Marco’s a pro’s pro—he was sharp enough not to miss where it could hurt him. The nibbling cost him the six walks, but it let him get through his start with just four hard hits.
They appreciate art!
Here’s Jesse Winker admiring his fourth home run of the year, once again going deep off a lefty. This fifth-inning blast tied the game at two thanks to Luis Torrens showing a sign of life with a leadoff double. Rich Hill and Christian Vazquez’s posture suggests that all three of them are trying to tell whether the ball’s going to stay fair. But you can tell from the body language here that all three of them know that’s a homer. Judge for yourself.
The home run would be Hill’s last pitch of the night. The Sox bullpen promptly gave up a classic Ty France opposite-field double, and a Julio groundball that got booted by Rafael Devers put runners on the corners with just one out. J.P. then worked a walk to load the bases, but Suárez struck out and a pinch-hitting Adam Frazier popped out to third base. The Mariners left the bases loaded. In lit theory, they call that foreshadowing.
They encourage their friends!
Here’s Matt Festa giving Cal Raleigh a thumbs up. And why not? With an important exception, the bullpen showed up to play tonight. Murfee, Swanson, Festa, Elías, and Romo combined to cover 11 outs with five strikeouts, no walks, and just two singles, which had a combined xBA of .340. Swanson was particularly impressive in his first outing back after a month on the IL. Swanson casually struck out his first batter faced and worked a clean inning with the help of a fun catch from Jesse Winker, who wins today’s Sun Hat Award for combining his fun offense with fun defense.
when Jesse Winker is having fun we are all having fun pic.twitter.com/BzhRpl9jY9— Lydia Cruz (@TheLydiaCruz) June 11, 2022
But if those guys were Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well”—sharp and flawless—Andrés Muñoz was “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)”—unrestrained and embarrassing. Muñoz’s tools are so flashy, but if doesn’t refine them, that 100 mph fastball and sometimes-on/sometimes-off slider are going to keep getting him in trouble. His first batter, Seattle-born Bobby Dalbec, had no trouble laying off two 99 mph four-seamers way up out of the zone. Now sitting on the slider, he took one that landed middle middle and deposited it into the left field seats.
When Rob Refsnyder (who, again, I promise is an actual ball player) predictably ended up with two strikes, Muñoz couldn’t take advantage, instead hitting him with a fastball. Devers moved him to third and J.P. Crawford had to let him score in order to turn two against JD Martinez, bringing the score to 4-2. If you only focus on the velocity, as Aaron Goldsmith and Dave Sims seem to do, Muñoz looks like he should work, but until he can harness his tools, he’s three kids in a trenchcoat. In other words, boy, oh, boy is it nice to have Erik Swanson back to move Muñoz down a rung on the high-leverage depth chart.
They laugh with thier co-workers!
Cal Raleigh has been the main character this week, with Bren Everfolly’s ode to Cal’s recent improvements well timed between his great Houston series and tonight. In the image above, he’s laughing after having driven in an run off a Matt Strahm changeup. It was his third time on base tonight after working walks off of both Rich Hill and Jake Diekman. It’s pulled his wRC+ up to 97 on the year, downright good for a catcher, and he’s doing it with a .175 BABIP. There will be more readjusting and readjusting back, but it’s a thrill to watch his first legitimate hot streak.
This single was one of three consecutive hits from 7-8-9 batters Toro, Torrens, and Cal, and it put runners on the corners in the eighth inning down by just one run. But after Cal’s RBI, the corners is as far as they’d get.
They can’t beat the Red Sox at baseball!
Here’s Julio striking out in the ninth despite Ty France having gotten on base by doing what Ty France does best—getting hit on his elbow pad. J.P. managed to hit a flare for a single to move France to third and put runners at the corners. But once again, the Mariners couldn’t bring them home. Boston left eight runners on base, which is no joke, but Seattle stranded a dozen, wasting opportunities in seemingly every inning, and that’s how they lost.
Still, for the fifth straight loss to Boston this year, this one didn’t feel as bad as any of the others. Losses are always a little more bearable when they’re close the whole way so they feel winnable, but where the Mariners never lead, so it doesn’t feel like they were supposed to win. Tonight’s game was a classic of the genre.
They love Mina Kimes!
Extra shoutout to Mina Kimes, who threw a ceremonial pitch over the plate to Trammell, who couldn’t have looked more delighted about it. Stars—They’re Just Like Us! was developed by Us Weekly editor Bonnie Fuller after seeing a picture of Drew Barrymore picking up a penny and thinking that sometimes celebs are more relatable than thier distance suggests. Here, Taylor Trammell shows us the thing that’s probably most relateable about celebs: They love celebs too.