I like early games. I’d rather come in late than not be able to finish, so they’re perfect, since they start right about when I get off work, and end in time enough for me to still do something non-baseball-related with my evening if I want to. So I heard Phil Coke on hand Miguel Olivo his first home run of the year on the radio, and it made me smile to myself on the bus. Fortunately, not a lot of people ride my bus, so none of them saw me looking like a quiet lunatic in the back near the door.
The bats were firing on all cylinders tonight, which shocked me to the point of exclamation while on the phone with my mother, delivering a slightly-overdue call. Justin Smoak, back from bereavement leave, hit a two run blast in the top of the 4th, driving in both himself and Miguel Olivo, who had lit up Coke with a double from his number 4 position in the lineup. I was wondering aloud on Twitter if Phil Coke was horrible or if we had suddenly, randomly, impossibly become good. Someone brought it to my attention that Coke had given us a good game previously, just about a week ago. It was the night I missed because my allergies came on so suddenly that I was forced to go right to bed after work. So I guess tomorrow we go right back to “normal”, but it was nice to be doing so well mid-game on a Felix Day. Jack Wilson nabbed himself what will probably turn into a web gem if it hasn’t already, jumping and stretching into the hole between 1st and 2nd to rob Jhonny Peralta of a hit to end the 6th. It looked like he might have gotten a bit of the wind knocked out of him from the subsequent fall, but if anyone can handle stuff like that, it’s Jack Wilson. Say what you want about his presence on this team, when he’s on defensively, he’s unstoppable. I know he needs to be more team-y, but he seems to be mellowing out a little, and has been making himself available for the immediate post-game interviews. I hope he is able to finish out the year here, but whatever happens, I’ll just be glad I got to see some of the stuff he’s done. Like this, for example.
Rain threatened in the 7th, but not for long. Felix was pulled after 6 full innings and 102 pitches, and David Pauley replaced him, going through the bottom of the Tigers’ lineup for a quick inning. Pauley’s 8th was just as successful, so Brandon League set up shop on the hill, something we haven’t gotten to see much this year. We’ve gotten to see it so little, actually, that League is starting to look a little strange leaning in for the call, like he’s not even on our team. Last Wednesday at the Tigers matinee, as we were obviously going to lose the game, I said to Conor “You know what I miss? Thunderstruck.” At the rate things are going, I’d settle for that awful Saliva song they started using for David Aardsma. I wouldn’t even mind if they had an interim song for Brandon League. Instead, it’s Tom Hutyler saying “Ladies and gentlemen, now pitching for the Mariners, Brandon League.” I like Tom and all, but that announcement just doesn’t bring the excitement of a closer coming in to save the game. I miss having games to save, I guess. But I digress – League didn’t waste much time tonight, taking care of things to end the game after two hours and 40 minutes or so.
We go to Erik Bedard and Justin Verlander (yay!) tomorrow, so I’m guessing the dust will settle and we’ll be shown the door like normal. I like Verlander, though, and am still riding the give-Bedard-a-chance train, so it should be a fun game.