Thanks to ESPN, I was able to watch about half of the Diamondbacks/Giants game tonight, and thanks to the DBacks hitting and JJ Putz’s still-stellar closing ability, was able to finish that game just in time for the Mariners game in Oakland to start. There is not a day that has gone by since 2008 that I have not missed JJ Putz. A day during the regular season, anyway.
Meanwhile, in Mariners Land…
Our first run of the evening came in the third inning on a Chone Figgins bunt. I would repeat that, but it would just kill your soul, and I’m working on being a better person. Figgins bunted, Brendan Ryan (who hit a double off the back wall previously) put on the wheels and made it home. The bunt itself was fielded by third baseman Josh Donaldson who threw it into Figgins’ shoulder blade, instead of Jemile Weeks’ glove, so Figgy wound up safe on first. Dustin Ackley singled, then made second base on a passed ball, and Ichiro took a walk to load the bases. Justin Smoak took an 0-2 count, and McCarthy started throwing balls. Smoak popped one up to center, and Yoenis Cespedes caught and then dropped the ball. The out was recorded. Jesus Montero popped one out to right field that was caught – and then dropped, again – by Josh Reddick. The out, again, was recorded, but Figgins made it in to score. Kyle Seager smacked one up the middle which sent Ackley and Ichiro home. Miguel Olivo popped out just beyond the third baseline. Somewhere in his deepest mental recesses, Brandon McCarthy punched a water cooler.
Yoenis Cespedes took a chunk out of Vargas in the bottom of the 4th, a cutter in the mid-80s with a man on base. The stadium went nuts and I can’t say that I blame them; it was ridiculously hard-hit, and Vargas left it in the middle of the middle of the strike zone. The ball couldn’t have been any more in the middle if it had tried, and it made it up into the second deck of the Coliseum. Won’t be the last time, I’m sure.
As Brendan Ryan took a nice slide into home for our 7th run in the top of the 6th, boos rained down on the field. The umpires had declared a foul on Jemile Weeks in the bottom of the 5th that Weeks did not agree with, and manager Bob Melvin stormed out of the dugout and tried to argue the A’s case; so they already had that indignity to deal with. Replay showed Ryan very clearly in, but I can see where people in the stands might not have been able to tell what had happened. I’m sorry, Oakland, but Ryan was in safely; Kurt Suzuki just didn’t touch him in time.
Vargas attempted to field in the bottom of the 6th on a Josh Reddick hit, but overthrew to second, missing the out. After getting Jonny Gomes to fly out for the first out of that half of the inning, Vargas was taken off the hill and Steve Delabar was brought in. Delabar threw a strike and a foul to Cespedes before a 95MPH fastball that caught Cespedes swinging for out number two. Delabar got the final out of the inning, and the crowd got quiet. Probably. the broadcast went to commercial and I wasn’t there, but that’s usually what happens, right? I figure it’s probably universal.
The Athletics put their third pitcher of the game on the hill for the 7th inning in the form of Andrew Carignan, who got Jesus Montero out on a checked swing, then walked Kyle Seager with four 4-seamers, all outside the strike zone. Seager’s walk was for naught; Michael Saunders popped up unceremoniously to third base. Inning over. Delabar worked a nice smooth bottom of the inning, and I’m fully willing to admit that while I might be wrong, I think Delabar has made at least a small case to be our long relief guy. Who was our last real long reliever? Sean Green? I could probably remember someone who was good for more than an inning or a fraction of an inning if i tried, but it’s late and at this point, I’m editing this thing.
Tom Wilhelmsen took over in relief in the 8th inning, and put two men on base, then gave up an RBI to pinch hitter Seth Smith. Runners were at the corners for Yoenis Cespedes to come to the plate for the fourth time. After getting Cespedes out swinging (!!!), Wilhelmsen dealt to Kurt Suzuki with his best serious face on. Wilhelmsen got Suzuki to a full count before painting the corner with a 4-seamer that Suzuki swung at for the final out. Suzuki was obviously not pleased with the call, and the crowd – perhaps knowing that things were done – remained silent.
Fautino De Los Santos (I will never remember that) ….well, he’s a pitcher for the Oakland A’s. I would love to comment on his performance, but it is difficult to do that when I can’t truly see it. Game Day says he was good enough to take out the lower bottom bits of our order, so there’s that. Baseball waits for nobody, so while the network tried to fix their feed, Angie Mentink and Bill Krueger took over at the post-game desk, and tried to talk about the game thus far and fill in time. Brandon League got Josh Donaldson to fly out to center field. Kila Ka’aihue took a single from League, and the broadcast went to the radio feed. Cliff Pennington flew out to left field. Jemile Weeks put an 86MPH splitter in play, grounding out to second base. Final score 7-3 Mariners.
I can’t get super excited about this win. I mean, I’m happy about it, I swear; I had a nice taco dinner and some wine, and some Mariners baseball, and that is a great evening. But I have never felt good about beating the Oakland A’s. I would imagine that it has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t really view the A’s as a threat, in my mere few years of being a fan. I don’t view them as a threat to the point where I almost kind of like them; but I already have another awful AL team that I follow, and I can only deal with so much losing. The A’s are kind of like the Ms, only they live just outside of San Francisco; another city by another body of salt water, where the weather is often kind of iffy, and I don’t feel quite right unless I’m wearing two jackets. I just can’t hate them. There is a lot more gratification in beating the Yankees or Rangers, and I can only imagine the amount of fun I will have watching our pitchers strike out Albert Pujols (fingers crossed!), but the A’s have always been a little engine that could, for the most part, and I kind of want them to succeed. I am a terrible baseball fan.
I can, however, love and have thoroughly enjoyed the game that was played this evening, and the fact that baseball season is finally back. Thanks for that, Mariners. See you tomorrow (hopefully – I’m looking at you, Root Sports NW).