I have watched a few Orioles games this last week, but haven’t been able to see the Mariners due to being at work. Tonight was the night! The Mariners played the Dodgers in the second game of a split-squad double header. I have only been to one proper major league double header, and it was glorious. Lucky people in AZ!
I don’t actually remember Josh Beckett coming to the Dodgers, yet there he was, pitching to Abraham Almonte, who sent a single into right field. Almonte eventually got picked off at first while trying to maintain a running lean while Beckett pitched to Kyle Seager. Seager also hit a single, on the second pitch thrown after Almonte was sent back to the dugout. I like the hitting, but the baserunning didn’t start out so well. Seager was out at first on a double play off the bat of Nick Franklin, not managing to get back to the bag in time. Blake Beavan was on the hill for the first inning, and gave up a single to Dee Gordon, who hit a hopper to Franklin at short. Franklin overthrew to first, and Gordon wound up safe. Gordon then stole second on a terrible catch by Carlos Triunfel, then things went completely bonkers with bad catching and bad throwing on the Mariners’ part, and Gordon stole third. Then Beavan walked Carl Crawford. With men on the corners, Beavan faced Scott VanSlyke. VanSlyke broke his bat driving Gordon in. Crawford got to second safely on yet another bad catch. So the throwing and catching might need some work. I can’t even describe the mess that followed, but the Dodgers came out of the first inning with a 3-0 lead.
So things are starting out here very Mariners.
But it didn’t last long. The Mariners came back in the top of the second to tie the game, courtesy of a Justin Smoak walk (walk!), and two home runs from Jesus Montero and Stefan Romero. I don’t believe in relying on power for runs, but they came at a very good time. In the bottom of the second, Alex Guerrero managed a single with one out. The single went right past a diving Jesus Montero, who, frankly, was really nowhere near the ball’s trajectory, but at least he gave it a shot. Montero is still looking pretty heavy, and I don’t know how his other games have gone, but it appears that he may have lost usage of his hands. I don’t mean that in any serious way other than to describe that he just can’t seem to get a glove on the ball. He did make a nice catch on a foul, but if this is the Mariners hope for first base, we might really want to look elsewhere. Yes, this is only one game, but it’s my first of the year, and seeing stuff like this a bit depressing. I want to give Montero a second chance, I really would like to see him do well.
In the third inning, Justin Smoak took a chunk out of a Beckett fastball with two outs and Nick Franlin on, and sent it over the right field wall. There was a brief chat between Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and Beckett, but Mattingly left him on the bump to get his last out. Blake Beavan was still on the mound for the bottom of the third, and pitched center field flies to Abraham Almonte, who I am really starting to like based on this game alone (not to mention everything I’ve heard). Jesus Montero caught the final pop up over the foul line at first to end things for the Dodgers.
In the fourth, ex-M Jamey Wright took over for Josh Beckett. He gave a run to Stefan Romero, hit by Carlos Triunfel to make a three-run gap for the Dodgers. Logan Kensing took over for Beavan in the bottom of the fourth, and almost got beaned by a comebacker from Juan Uribe. Had he not been able to get his glove up in front of his face in time, he would be on his way to an emergency room visit. Uribe hits hard. The deflection also made it possible for Nick Franklin to get some leather on it and get Uribe out at first. Joc Pederson hit a massive long ball out to center, and it hit the top of the fence by the batter’s eye. There was a umpire meeting to discuss what the call would be, and it was determined that it was a double. A massive hail of booing from the Dodgers fans present followed, I think they were hoping for a home run. The fifth inning was oddly uneventful and run-free from both sides, unless you count Jesus Montero once again failing to catch something (on a possible terrible throw from Kensing – I looked away for just a moment and didn’t see it) and giving Dee Gordon a double. And Carl Crawford advancing Gordon with a single. And the inning being ended with a Stefan Romero throw from left field to get Gordon out at the plate. Replay shows a very questionable out, but since it’s to our advantage, I’ll take it.
Jose Dominguez had the mound for the top of the sixth and took down Stefan Romero, James Jones, and Carlos Triunfel in quick order. Five pitches worth, to be exact. The Mariners had some kid named Andrew Carraway pitching for the bottom of the sixth. Carraway has a very natural throwing motion, not the typical high-kick or windups you usually see. Unfortunately, Joc Pederson put all he had on a pitch and sent it over the right center field into the crowd, scoring Scott VanSlyke. GameDay currently has it listed as Juan Uribe’s doing. Silly GameDay. In the seventh, the Dodgers made a ton of lineup changes, keeping Jose Dominguez in to pitch. So did the Ms. Tyler Marlette took a walk, and Xavier Avery grounded to right field, sending Marlette to second. The two advanced on a passed ball from the Dodgers’ catcher, Nick Franklin at the plate. Franklin grounded out at first, and then Justin Smoak stepped up. Smoak looks more confident, more relaxed than last year. From what I understand, he has been getting some hitting coaching from Robinson Cano. Hopefully, it helps improve him. He left Marlette and Avery stranded though, swinging himself out. Carraway pitched the bottom of the seventh, getting Alex Guerrero out on strikes, giving Dee Gordon a single, and getting Carl Crawford to fly out to right fielder Cole Gillespie (who? Seriously, this is starting to become like an Aquasox or Astros game for me, I don’t recognize any of these names). Dee Gordon stole second (he’s clearly very good at that), and Brendan Harris took a walk. A one-run game with an untested pitcher, who was replaced with another untested pitcher in Jonathan Arias, and a commercial break. Arias issued a walk, to load them up. Arias had to face rookie first baseman Aaron Bates, and took him down, saving our one-run lead. Yay!
I took a break during the 8th inning to eat dinner and was in the kitchen when Jesus Montero hit his homer, and due to the fans clapping and this being a generally slow day for me, I cursed from the kitchen. Tom told me from the living room that it was a Mariners hit, and that made me a little more comfortable. As I spent some time away from the laptop consuming said dinner, Cole Gillespie crossed the plate, 8-5 Mariners. Jonathan Arias gave the Dodgers a walk in the bottom of the eighth, but nothing else. Dodger pitcher Paco Rodriguez and labored through the top of the ninth, having a little bit of trouble with Mariner Chris Taylor, but ultimately, three outs were had, and no runs. The Mariners would rest securely at 8. A certain Danny Farquhar was sent in to close, but it wasn’t pretty. Catcher Tyler Marlette didn’t help much either, but it was really Farquhar’s wild pitches that made things a little tight and scary. Ultimately, though, Farquhar got Aaron Bates to smack one to right field that was fairly easily caught. Game over, 8-5 Mariners.
So it was kind of a weird game. Some idiot ran out onto the field (behavior I will surely never understand) in the last inning, and during a break in the seventh, there was a little fellow, maybe about three, fully dressed in a tiny Dodgers uniform and wearing a blue glove bigger than his head, who found his way onto the field; the announcers made a crack that maybe he wanted to play. He was gently escorted back to his family. I wish I could find a photo of him, he was ridiculously cute.