I was able to hear the first inning or so of tonight’s game while on the bus on the way home. It’s funny – using my rationale for liking the Phillies (the whole old Mariner excuse), I should love the Washington Nationals, but most of the time they’re barely a blip on my radar. It’s nice to see that Jim Riggleman, Mike Morse, and some other non-Mariners guys I generally like are still able to be involved in major league baseball, but for as long as I’ve been a baseball fan, the Nats have been terrifyingly awful. And since their big prize Stephen Strasburg is basically out for the year (as is my understanding), I can’t even really look forward to that this series. That situation, by the way, feels like we dodged a bullet by being able to sweep Oakland back in 2008. I’m sure multiple people will say I’m being shortsighted, but I’d rather have a healthy Dustin Ackley than an injured Strasburg, especially with how well Ackley’s been doing this year. Also, I love our rotation this year, and wouldn’t trade it.
The rest of this game went pretty much how I thought it would, up until the 9th inning. I didn’t think that Livan Hernandez would give us 10 hits within 5 innings, but I don’t know this Hernandez very well, and I think part of my surprise comes from the Mariners getting 10 hits at all, more than anything else. They finished the game with 13. Livan Hernandez was replaced with Ryan Mattheus in the 5th, who was replaced by Ryan Balestar in the 7th, and they both held the Ms to one run and two hits. Todd Coffey came in for the 9th and took down Ichiro and Brendan Ryan, then gave up a double to Adam Kennedy, who went 3 for 5 tonight. Justin Smoak left him stranded, but with a 5-1 score, there wasn’t much to be worried about at that point.
I really wanted Doug Fister to finish the game, but Eric Wedge felt differently, and Brandon League was called in for the save, to finish off the top of the order. In what looked like terrible heat (82F at 10pm, according to weather.com) and under a gathering thunder storm, League gave Jayson Werth a double past Justin Smoak and out to Ichiro in right. Center fielder Roger Bernadina was next, and he worked League to a full count before taking a walk with no outs. Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to short for a double play, and Werth advanced to third. Jerry Hairston Jr took an RBI single away from League, and Mike Morse came to the plate. Morse took a hack at a 98MPH sinker, and it hit League in the right calf, bouncing off toward the third base line and putting Morse in safely at first. Trainer panic ensued, League took some practice tosses, and then it was determined that he should come out of the game for safety’s sake. David Pauley was called in with one more out left to go, and the tying run at the plate, and I found myself just really wanting the game to be over.
Really over. Pauley gave up an RBI single to Danny Espinosa, who had been 0 for 3 up to that point. The guys in the broadcast booth were saying that maybe it was Pauley’s inability to properly warm up, but whatever it was, it wouldn’t matter for long. Wilson Ramos took Pauley yard for a 3-run walk off, and that is where I end this post because all the positive things I was going to talk about just sort of evaporated.
Another game at Nats tomorrow, Erik Bedard on the hill, and I’ll be up in Everett with the Aquasox.