Today was Felix Day, and we were playing the Kansas City Royals. How bad could it be? I’ve had kind of a bummer of a day outside the realm of baseball, so I figured when I saw a pullback shot of Kaufman Stadium on FSN and there was a little sunshine and a rainbow over it (no lollipops, that I could tell, but two out of three ain’t bad), maybe it was a sign. But the sunshine didn’t last long, and by the bottom of the second inning, the rain was coming down so hard that you could barely see the players through the camera in the outfield. As a slim crowd settled in with rain gear and umbrellas, Felix settled in and struck out David DeJesus.
The rain had stopped by the 4th inning, but the Mariners bats had still not even started, and Felix was getting absolutely zero run support. He was also getting pelted by the KC lineup. In the bottom of the fourth with two men on the corners (one of whom was Yuniesky Betancourt) and DeJesus at bat, DeJesus grounded into a force out, sending Mitch Maier home to score the second run. Kyle Davies continued mowing through our batters in the top of the 5th, while Dave Sims seemed to be making a point over the air of the fact that he was throwing a no-hitter. I heard that there was some sort of online kerfluffle over the last game Doug Fister threw at SafeCo, as it was a no-no for like 6 and change; not totally sure what happened, but now it’s a “thing”, I guess. Ichiro finally got the Ms first base hit of the game in the top of the 6th by being fast and outrunning the tag. With two men out and two on, Franklin Gutierrez collected a walk to load the bases. Davies and his teammates had a conference on the mound, and Dave Sims and Mike Blowers waxed poetic over the air about how bad the Royals bullpen has been so far this year. Davies had to face Jose Lopez next, but Lopi sent a flyout to Scott Podsednik in left field to end our threat. On the first pitch.
In the bottom of the 6th, Yuniesky Betancourt came up again, but the wild pitch that Felix hammered into the ground by a swinging Yuni’s feet sent Rob Johnson scuttling for the ball, only to overthrow it to Casey Kotchman at first, and Yuni -running faster than I’ve ever seen him move in my life – was safe. That’s a huge sentence I just typed, but the devil is in the details. David DeJesus singled to right field, and somehow Yuni, who couldn’t manage a single lick of speed for us in either 2008 or the first part of 2009, managed to make it all the way to third (!!!). Scott Podsednik got the bat on the ball, but sent it sailing out to center field, where Gutz was waiting patiently to catch it.
Kyle Davies was taken out in the top of the 7th and replaced with Brad Thompson who was then replaced by Dusty Hughes, who gave up a single to Casey Kotchman on a fielder’s choice (Ken Griffey Jr was the odd man out), and then a double to Rob Johnson. Hughes got Jack Wilson to ground out for the last out, leaving our two boys stranded on. In the bottom of the 7th, Billy Butler took a solo home run away from Felix to push the score up to 3-0 and secure Felix the loss. Jose Guillen came to the plate looking determined to hit his old teammmate, but it didn’t happen – he struck out swinging. Alberto Callaspo grounded out to second, and Felix took on Jason Kendall, who grounded out weakly to Lopez at third.
In the top of the 8th, Ichiro nearly Jakubauskas’d Dusty Hughes for a single, and Hughes was pulled (unhurt, I said “nearly”) in exchange for Kyle Farnsworth, who for a few moments I thought was Chad Bradford. With tattoos. Give me a break, I’m exhausted. If we were going to do anything with this game, we were going to have to hit Farnsworth and hit him hard. Ichiro was already on second, and Chone Figgins was up with no outs. Figgins struck out swinging while the twelve or so people in the stands clapped and chanted their approval of the Royals (seriously, there was nobody there). Ichiro stole third to help secure a run in the event that Gutierrez could come through, and Gutz tried to do just that with a sac fly to center – but Ichi was not fast enough to make the tag and beat the throw, so we took our out with no reward. Jose Lopez could do nothing with a Farnsworth slider except pop it way up into the air for the final out. We were getting blanked.
Sean White was the Royals’ next victim, and while White got Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier both to flyout, Yuni took him to left field for a double. Yuniesky Betancourt has a BA of around .338. It’d be funny if it really, really wasn’t. In the top of the 9th with Farnsworth still pitching, Milton Bradley, 0 for 3, became 1 for 4 then dug for second, sliding into the base under the tag. Casey Kotchman flew out, and Rob Johnson was our last hope. I’m not entirely sure that there are any more terrifying words in the English language this year. Johnson tamed a bit of my skepticism – tonight, anyway – by grabbing a walk. Mike Sweeney was the next batter up, and got to the plate to a chorus of boos from the small KC crowd. This confuses me – I thought Sweeney was loved in Kansas City? Sweeney dug at the dirt with his cleats, called time, dug some more, and took a chunk out of a 1-1 pitch to send Bradley home and cancel our shutout. Ichiro waled up to the plate, and Bruce Chen was called in, while Matt Tuiasosopo was sent out to run for Sweeney. Chen looked a little stunned, and Ichiro made him work a little, fouling off a bunch of pitches calmly and confidently. Ichiro popped up to end it, our 4th consecutive loss on the road.
I love you guys, but you make it so. freaking. hard. I had a bunch of stuff I was debating writing, but this has already been torturous enough to post. If tomorrow night’s game is as terrible, maybe I’ll have a nice long meltdown. That may at least purge some of the road trip badness for me.
EDIT: Oh, dear. I just looked at the schedule. Ian Snell vs. Zack Greinke. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the other room writing out my will…