Heraclitus, the misanthropic progenitor of the quote referenced in this recap’s title, specialized in the type of truisms that now occupy inspirational posters across the offices buildings of the world. “Everything flows.” No doubt beardy, but perhaps his most-quoted line refers to the unflinching march of time and the inevitability of change: “no man ever steps in the same river twice.” The Seattle Mariners did their damndest to prove the smarmy Greek from 2,600 years ago wrong this evening in Oakland, but blessedly maintained his technically flawless record once more.
Another man with a flawless record in MLB is rookie Bryce Miller, whose big league debut could scarcely have been more impressive. In front of 2,583 fans, less than half the number that attended his previous start at Double-A Arkansas last week, Miller sliced through the A’s lineup like a bowie knife through cotton candy. He struck out 10, in his 6.0 innings, predominantly leaning on a fastball that had a called strike plus whiff rate of 40%, which, granted it comes facing the A’s, but would place his heater in company with other elite fastballs among many of the best relievers in baseball along with fastball-heavy aces like Zack Wheeler and Brandon Woodruff. Oh, and he was perfect through 5, with a single to Tony Kemp and a well-placed liner for a double by contact-maven Esteury Ruiz the sole blemishes to leave him in line for the hardest of luck losses.
The script seemed familiar, as Seattle had surrendered a deflating 1-0 defeat in Toronto on Saturday when unheralded rookie Easton McGee carried a no-hitter deep into that game, which Seattle ultimately squandered in extras. It seemed for all the world that might come again, as the Oakland Athletics had run their own stellar rookie Mason Miller on the hill to throw 7.0 no-hit innings himself. It was dominance on both sides, somewhat the causation of poor offenses competing but every bit too the display of two exceptional young arms demonstrating the overwhelming majesty of their repertoires.
☑️ Most K's in an MLB debut in @Mariners history— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 3, 2023
☑️ 7th pitcher since 1961 to log at least 5 perfect innings in 1st start
MLB's No. 88 prospect Bryce Miller struck out 10 in a dominant first taste of the big leagues: pic.twitter.com/zkGE7Nobqi
Mercifully, the Oakland bullpen lacked the same brilliance, as was noted throughout the threads tonight. Richard Lovelady gave the M’s just enough, by which I mean the opportunity to let AJ Pollock hit against a left-handed pitcher. On a night where both offenses were utterly overmatched by Millers, and Seattle was still resting Julio Rodríguez, someone needed to fill the space for Seattle’s rookie. Why not the veteran?
Every run has felt difficult to scrape across recently. Even on the heels of a 10-8 victory Sunday night, every offensive opportunity feels labored, scoring feels exhaustingly evitable. The sight of this ball mercifully clearing the fence felt like the relinquishing of a breath held in all spring. On its heels, the star of Seattle’s season thus far did exactly what you hope your No. 3 hitter would do with the game on the line: came up big.
Jarred Kelenic, who came about 10 feet foul from a titanic home run earlier in the game, squared up the ball just a bit better, just well enough to make the difference. Trevor Gott, Justin Topa, Gabe Speier, and Paul Sewald were sharp enough to carry the rest. It would have been grand to see Seattle dominate alongside their rookie starter, but they got 1 out of a possible 1 wins tonight, and they all count the same.