Today’s time sink: trying to determine the origin of the phrase “rubber match.” The internet is of little help in determining exact origin or etymology, although I did find an interesting discussion here. One thing seems universally agreed-upon: the term predates the widespread use of the substance of rubber as a material, so there’s probably not anything related to bouncing in the etymology. In fact, the term might be closer to Shakespeare: Hamlet’s famous “ay, there’s the rub,” meaning obstacle, refers to something that impedes the trajectory of a ball in lawn bowling, which is also where many scholars think the term “rubber match” originated.
Anyway, the Mariners are playing a game against the Red Sox today.
Dylan Moore gets the start on his birthday despite the Red Sox throwing a righty pitcher, Kutter Crawford—who yes, throws a cutter, in addition to about sixteen other pitches, although most of them are in the development stage. Mariners hitters can expect to see a lot of the fastball/cutter and will need to stay on top of those in order to force Crawford to pitch backwards, especially with his curveball, which has a tendency to get punished. They’ll also need to be disciplined in the zone, as Crawford can struggle with establishing the strike zone.
News and notes from Scott Servais’s pregame presser:
- Servais said there’s a sense of “relief” post trade. “Our team knows that we played much better over the last month or so to stay in the race. We’ve still got a lot of work to do...but I think that sense of relief, guys know they don’t have to move their families, and our guys still believe in our team.”
- Servais says the focus with the new additions is getting them comfortable as quickly as possible, “because when they’re comfortable, they play better.”
- On Trent Thornton, they’re going to try to get him to throw his sweeping slider more, but Servais sees him as fitting in well already. “He quickly understood what we were about: o get strike one, and when he does that, he’ll get really good results.” He compared Thornton to Penn Murfee as being a different look coming out of the Mariners bullpen.
- Julio Rodríguez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games last night, and also has a 26-game on-base streak, also a career high and currently the longest active streak in the majors. That’s also the longest on-base streak for a player age 22 or younger in franchise history, surpassing both Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, who were tied at 25.
- Speaking of streaks, Eugenio Suárez is working on a streak of his own: a seven-game RBI streak, currently the longest active in MLB this season and one shy of the longest yet this season (Nolan Arenado and Justin Turner both have an eight-game streak this season). Suárez is the first Mariners player with a 7+ game RBI streak since fellow third baseman Kyle Seager recorded RBI in 8 consecutive contests from July 25-Aug. 2, 2021, exactly two years ago to the date that Suárez has put together his streak.
Today’s series finale starts at 1:10 PT and will be televised on ROOT Sports NW with Dave Sims and Angie Mentink on the call, which seems like too delightful a pairing to waste on a midweek day game, so make sure to catch that replay tonight on ROOT around 6:30 (or tune in early for a block of Mariners All-Access programming. There are benefits to sitting in front of the ROOT crew in the press box, it turns out.) Over on Seattle Sports (710 AM, also streaming on Mariners.com or MLB At-Bat), you’ll hear Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith. I hope Spicy Rizzs shows up again.
After the Mariners finish up today’s series they’ll head straight to Anaheim with no break to start a four-game series against the Angels that I already hate.
Today in Mariners history:
- 1991: Former Mariners pitcher and current ROOT Sports personality Bill Krueger is named AL pitcher of the Month for July. Krueger, LHP, was 4-0 with a 1.19 ERA for the month.
- 2003: John Olerud sets a career high with seven RBI. His three-run homer and grand slam account for 70% of the Mariners offense in a 10-0 win over the White Sox.
- 2012: Jason Vargas earns AL Pitcher of the Month for July, where he went 5-0 (including a complete game) with a 1.64 ERA. He is the first Mariners pitcher to go 5-0 in a month since Felíx in September 2009.
- 2016: Edwin Díaz records his first MLB save in a win over the Red Sox.