Last night was not much fun for me sleep-wise. I wound up passing out on the couch around maybe 7, but woke up around 9 because it was too cold in the house. I then proceeded to turn the heat up to 74 and have one of the worst nights of sleep in recent memory. But the iPhone alarm did its job, and I was up and bleary around 1.45AM or so, watching Mariners All Access and being made to crave soba noodles. I have long wanted to go to Japan, but my pay grade makes it cost prohibitive. May have to see what is available for lunch around work this afternoon. Come to think of it, there may be a noodle house down a block from where I work. And today is a perfect day for it.
I was so terribly exhausted that four innings went by before I knew what was happening, and Bartolo Colon was no-hitting the Mariners through 4 innings already! Not that no hitting from the Mariners should come as a shock to anyone, really, but the last time I saw Bartolo Colon he was not terribly good. Jason Vargas wasn’t allowing any runs either through four, but a game being in the 5th inning after less than an hour is usually not a great sign in general. Colon’s luck didn’t last through the 5th, however, giving up his no-hitter to first Jesus Montero, and second Miguel Olivo. Not to mention the walk he gave to Michael Saunders. Brendan Ryan failed to work with the situation though, and grounded into a force out to end the inning. It was kind of a good sign that we could get to Colon with the bottom of the batting order (and I kind of approve of today’s bottom of the batting order), but more was definitely needed.
The game slowed down considerably in the 6th inning, then in the top of the 7th, Justin Smoak took Colon over the wall. Finally! Vargas gave a walk to Coco Crisp in the bottom of the inning, then volleyed with him at first base multiple times, trying to pick him off. Jonny Gomes flew out to center field for the first out of the A’s inning, and Vargas was removed from the hill after 86 pitches (55 for strikes) to a standing ovation from fans behind the dugout. Shawn Kelley came in to replace him, and promptly gave up a two-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes. Poor Kelley. He was replaced by George Sherrill who was just as ineffective, giving up a solo shot to Josh Reddick.
Steve Delabar was sent in to battle Jemile Weeks with two men on base, and succeeded, getting Weeks to strike out swinging. Thankfully. But it didn’t last. The Mariners took nothing from the A’s in the top of the 8th, but Jonny Gomes hit a dinger off Delabar over the center field in the bottom of the inning, score 4-1 Oakland.
In the top of the 9th, Ichiro made his final appearance in front of the massive Tokyo Dome crowd, going 0 for 4 with a groundout to first. Justin Smoak was our last out for the evening, losing to the A’s.
I’m still glad I woke up for this game, but I have to admit that it was difficult near the end to keep myself focused on it. I probably should have gone to bed rather than sleep on the couch and give the cats free access to bother me, but I didn’t and that is the price I pay. It has been an experience watching these games, probably something I will never get to do again. If the Ms do go over to Japan in the future, I would certainly hope that the MLB Network would use far better judgement and air any exhibition games that might come out of such a situation. I am not on the “east coast bias” train, but I cannot help but think that if it was Boston or New York over in Japan (as someone mentioned on Twitter this morning), that the exhibition games would have been broadcast with no question. This trip was a monumental one, and I feel it was terribly mishandled by the very organization that supported it. I am happy for the Japanese fans, but this should have been an event for every fan of the A’s and Ms. And the Tigers and Giants, for that matter.
The Mariners now take a long flight back to the states and Arizona, to play one game with the Padres (not televised), one game with the Royals (televised), and a series with the Rockies in what has to be one of the weirdest Spring Training/regular season schedules ever. These next few weeks until the home opener are going to be really surreal. I don’t think I will really feel like baseball has started until April 13th, when I am sitting in my seats with a beer in one hand and a food item of choice in the other. It’s good to have baseball back, but man are they running us through the ringer in the beginning here!
Lastly, I apologize for any redundancies or oddly-worded things in this post. I’m tired. Catch everyone later!