I never quite know how to approach posts anymore. Do I get all jacked when something good happens in the game early, or do I just wait and see how badly we can screw it up? Do I pay attention to every single thing that happens during the game? Do I just watch and try to enjoy it and deal with the whats and hows later? When Michael Saunders hits a three-run homer in the first inning, it’s easy to get excited, but one needs to keep in mind that this is the Texas Rangers we are going up against, and we’re…the Seattle Mariners. My solution today was to watch the draft on my laptop while having the game on TV at the same time. It worked, for the most part. I was stoked but didn’t lose my grip on reality when Saunders hit that dinger, and even when Chone Figgins made a Franklin-Gutierrez-esque diving catch over the second base gap to end the bottom of the second inning, I was still feeling pretty grounded.
I felt especially chill when, in the top of the 3rd, we had men on the corners and Rob Johnson up to bat. I had a little bit of a start when RJ actually lined out a single to bring Mike Carp home, but by and large I kept it cool. I didn’t even blink when we were up 4-0 by the bottom of the 5th, and Texas looked like they might be checking into replacing their starter Scott Feldman with someone from their bullpen. Nor did I flip out when Feldman instead remained into the top of the 6th long enough to give up a base hit to Figgins, and was then replaced by Matt Harrison.
In the bottom of the 6th, the last out was Vlad Guerrero, and in fantastic, edge-of-the-seat fashion. He lined out to Josh Wilson, who had to take a massive vertical leap in the air, lost the ball in a fumble for a moment, then recovered it just in time to get it to Mike Carp at first for the out. I’ll confess, I got a little bit of a heart palpitation, but by and large, still remained calm.
Probably wanting to avoid losing his lead – and because he’s Cliff Lee and he can – Lee stayed on the bump to complete the 8th inning. When the broadcast came back for the bottom of the 9th, he was scuffing the dirt with his cleats, glove on, ready to go. Hits were given up, runs were scored, a barehanded catching error was made by Lee himself while trying to cover first base…and I got a little nervous. I mean, for Lee to go all that way, to give our bullpen not only a rest but a little bit of a middle finger – and then give it up because of a catching error? A little scary. But then the game was finally won 4-2 on a Matt Treanor pop-up to first.
And I exhaled.
But a win is a win is a win, and at this point, I have no right or desire to complain. If Saunders doesn’t hit that homer, we lose the game by one run at the last minute because of an increasingly-tired Cliff Lee. But he did, and we didn’t, and after reading Jeff Sullivan’s series preview from earlier today, I’m absolutely OK with this game. In fact with Felix Hernandez going up against Colby Lewis tomorrow, I’m feeling confident that we might not come out of this too badly. It is entirely possible that I have lost my mind.
As an additional interesting note, first base coach Lee Tinsley and third base coach Mike Brumley have apparently swapped positions, effective pre-game, and as a permanent situation. I’m not 100% sure what a first base coach even does, but I know what a third base coach does, and Brumley has not been pretty in that role. If this move saves us runs and prevents unnecessary risk-taking, then I am all for it. I get the feeling it might, but I guess we’ll see.
I love the early games if I have something to do later on – but it’s a Monday, and I have school in the morning, so I guess I get to spend the rest of my evening watching Adult Swim on east coast cable time. But the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers, so I will enjoy the rest of my evening, warm and happy in the knowledge that I just watched Cliff Lee pitch a complete game – and that’s pretty cool.
Oh, and during the draft, we apparently picked up some high school pitcher with a funny name. Jon Shields at ProBallNW has some video and other information, just follow the link. I didn’t participate much in the chat there earlier today, but I did watch some exciting paint dry…