Per an early-game Tweet from Shannon Drayer, the Mariners did not get in any sort of pre-game field warmup due to rain in Boston. So I can sort of forgive the two runs in the bottom of the first, which came at the hands of the Green Monster and Casper Wells’ miscalculation of the bounce. I can’t even get mad at the wall (not like I used to, anyway). It is what it is, it’s always going to be there, and it’s always going to give fielders problems. I could be critical of Wells and say he shouldn’t have run in so close to the warning track, but based on what I’ve seen in Fenway over the years, it’s a mistake that anyone can make there. It’s one that players probably shouldn’t make, but it doesn’t seem to stop them. I can maybe chalk up the lack of pre-game warmups to the rough first inning, but you would think that a major league ball club would know what they were doing by now. OK, I am trying to be more positive here. Settle down. Breathe…
Vargas had an easy bottom of the second, thankfully, and got a little help from Jesus Montero, who gunned down Marlon Byrd during an attempted steal of second. By the looks of how fast Byrd was running there, it was a pickoff that could have easily gone wrong; but Montero and Kyle Seager executed it perfectly for the second out of the inning. Vargas’s third inning was not smooth, but also not damaging run-wise. He had already thrown 57 pitches, however, so I was thinking that there was a distinct possibility that it would be an early night for Vargas, and more bullpen fun for the team.
It was the bottom of the 4th where the real fun started. I had to grab some dinner, and just sat here, eating and watching the home runs roll in. First from Daniel Nava with Cody Ross on base, then a Kelly Shoppach solo shot. Hisashi Iwakuma was rumored to be warming up in the bullpen, but when the bottom of the fifth inning rolled around, Vargas was still on the hill, back to being successful again with a 1-2-3 inning. Vargas in fact lasted until the end of the 6th inning, with 103 pitches thrown, 7 hits, 5 runs, and 3 walks. Disappointing numbers from one who has been doing so well this year. Shawn Kelley turned out to be Vargas’s one and only replacement tonight, pitching both the 7th and 8th innings, and allowing the Red Sox’s final run of the game.
The Mariners managed to get to Lester a little bit in the 7th, but with two men on and two out, Michael Saunders just couldn’t do what needed to be done, and popped out easily to short. I think that this game tonight displayed perfectly what I was talking about earlier today. It’s difficult to sit here and watch a game where the opposing team does things with their hits, gets runs in, moves batters forward, makes their fans cheer, and your team grounds into double plays, pops or flys out, grounds out, does anything but get runs in. And that seems to happen this season more frequently than not. The part that is the most difficult to deal with, I think, is that it isn’t like we got no-hit. We had 8 hits to Boston’s 9. But take away the two dingers, and this is still a 2-1 game in Boston’s favor. It’s difficult to watch, and it leaves me glad that this week is a week full of day games, so I have something to listen to at work, but I can still have a nice evening out in the sun if I so choose, without feeling like I’m missing something. It’s easier to hear it on the radio than it is to see it on the players’ faces. Watching the broadcast show expressions in the dugout, the look of exhausted agony on players faces, can sometimes be a little too much to take. At least Rick Rizzs has a cheery disposition just about all the time, and that makes things a little easier to come to terms with the way things are right now. I am looking forward to my week of mostly-radio.
Tonight’s game ended with John Lester going the full 9 innings. We got a run in on a Kyle Seager sacrifice groundout. Lester struggled a little with Alex Liddi, taking things to a full count before getting Liddi to strike out swinging on a 94MPH fastball, game over, 5-1 Boston. 119 pitches, nine innings, no victory for the Mariners. Again.
There’s always tomorrow right?