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Confessions of a Mariners Fan

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GAME RECAPS

Daily Mariners game recaps.

Changing the Last Ten (108-117/162)

June something changed for me. Among finishing my first quarter of post-college education, keeping up my normal two jobs, writing for another website, and trying to attend every Mariners game humanely possible… I was tired. It didn’t help that my very favorite group of baseball men seemed to mirror my  overarching fatigue for life.  While Mariners baseball is always my outlet for stress-free (hahaha) happiness and leisure, it got to the point where I was too drained to keep up with what was going on the field.

Felix was temporarily broken, the bullpen was something not to revisit and the first two months of the season that were spent crushing the nonexistent expectations given to the team out of Spring Training, seemed lost.  The trip my grandparents and I took to watch the team in Boston mid-June was wonderful, but overall, my empathetic nature toward my baseball team took a huge hit that month.

July did not carry the same stigma that June did and the lack of home games that were played at Safeco Field seemed to work out for the best. Keeping up appearances of my normally positive attitude and drive to improve everything around me had started heavily weighing on me in June, and it took awhile to shake off whatever was getting me down. I spent July trying to regain whatever passion I had lost for my baseball team, while trying not to lose sight of myself.

Once again, the Mariners seemed to mirror on the field, what I was experiencing in my own life. They stayed neutral, going .500 on the month, giving themselves enough of a chance to return to a formidable version of themselves. Things were slowly improving, Adam Lind tomahawked a game winning home run against the White Sox, Wade Miley (love you boo) flirted with a no-hitter in a game the Mariners routed the Blue Jays and George Kenneth Griffey Junior got inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

There were the less encouraging moments: the Houston series or the extra innings Sunday night game at the Cubs, where my fellow Bellarmine Prep alumnus Jon Lester walked us off on a bunt. While frustrating to lose the last game of July in a cluster of sloppy baseball, August possibilities were hanging out just around the corner. August’s schedule was top heavy with Boston, Detroit and a weekend dedicated to the man that wrote the first chapter of the book the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club.

To stay relevant, the Mariners had to make conscious, deliberate choices to retain the core of what this season has been building around. A series split with Boston was punctuated by a game that saw Robinson Cano crush a three-run home run and the first #TeamSugar save. After Boston we had the Angels, but they took second place to Ken Griffey Junior’s number retirement weekend. It was during his speech that this fan base began to cling  to a certain ideal, another story that would provide a narrative for the last bit of baseball the Mariners have left to play in 2016.

“Keep fighting because we’re all rooting for you.” 


The Mariners played a 15-inning game last Tuesday night, and I think this is where they really bought into the #KeepFighting ideal. This game felt eerily similar to some contests earlier in the year. The justified optimism of the Mariners being able to come back from a run or two, the exact feeling that had deteriorated within June and July. A 3-run Kyle Seager home run + RBI in the 15th, and a Mike Zunino sacrifice fly to score a hustling Adam Lind from third was the formula the Mariners needed to invest in themselves. The season and was far from over.

What the Mariners did in their sweep of the Angels and subsequent sweep of the Detroit Tigers embodied the sentiment behind Junior’s statement. They kept fighting and they kept winning, giving us something to believe in. After Detroit, they took 2/3 from Oakland in the depths of the cavernous hole that is the Coliseum. After that they traveled further south to Angels Stadium for the second series against the Halos in a two week span.

Last night I was lucky enough to be in Anaheim for the first game of the series against the Angels. It was a second point of realization for me, the first being the 15 inning game on Tuesday, an additive to my personal motivation to keep fighting. I watched a player someone who has also gone through some notable changes this season. Felix Hernandez, on the anniversary of his perfect game, did not do anything close to matching that feat. What he did do was pitch 6 2/3 innings, gave up four walks, two runs and struck out eight before giving the ball to the bullpen of the month.

Over a decade ago, I believe that Felix began and was the embodiment of the keep fighting mentality. In 2016, he no longer is same pitcher, but he has never once given up the mentality he had all those years ago. He never gave up, even when no one could have blamed him for giving up. For as long as I can remember, he has always been my motivation to keep fighting for this team.


The Mariners franchise has spent a lot of time attempting to make meaningful moves in order to make this city largely enjoy baseball again. Much like our personal lives have seen– there have been failures, but they have also found success. We’ve all said from the beginning of Spring Training that this team is different, and while they made some mistakes, they’ve shown resilience and a desire to follow this change through.

The last ten games the Mariners have proven to us that we should be supporting them. They will overcome the growing pains and the change that all these years have endured. They are in a playoff race in mid-August for the first time in who knows how long. Something special is happening right now, and we owe it to ourselves to love and appreciate every moment of it.

We have 45 games left. Let’s do this.

Keep Fighting. 

 

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Remembering the Moment (44-53/162)

Work, school, taking care of a family or perhaps a very good baseball dog, can consume a person’s life to the point where you can forget to appreciate the “wow” moments that are happening right in front of you. I just had one of those weeks.

Since I last had a moment to write, the Mariners were coming off another successful road trip against the Orioles and the Reds, and getting ready to start a 8-game homestand against the Oakland Athletics, the Minnesota Twins and the San Diego Padres. Aside from a pesky good outing from Rich Hill the first game of the Oakland series, the Mariners ended up taking 2/3 from the Athletics. Which brings me to:

Moment #1: The Leonys Martin walk-off to win the rubber match against the Oakland Athletics.

Next up was the Minnesota Twins series. There was not many moments in that series that are worth repeating, especially not the emotionally draining amount of negative online constituents that forced me to unfollow them on Twitter. We’ll just move on to the 2-game series against the San Diego Padres. On Memorial Day, thanks to some help from Kyle Seager and Dae-Ho Lee home runs, the Mariners ended up winning 9-3. However, the best moment of this contest came before the first official pitch was thrown:

Moment #2: Among the many things that I love about the Seattle Mariners, one of my favorites is their connection to the community. A lot of people have roots in some branch of the military, including myself, so it was cool to see this. Plus, the guy hustles.  

Game two was quite the affair, and seemed to erase whatever sour taste getting swept by the Twins left. Hishashi Iwakuma kept the Mariners in the game and the offense did the rest, scoring 16 runs on 14 hits. Kyle Seager continued extended his phenomenal May numbers by going 3-4 with 4 RBI. Seth Smith continued some solid play, adding 4 RBI of his own. Similar to the day before, the most genuine thing to come out of this win was the appreciation and love for Edgar Martinez.

Moment #3: I’m not crying. You’re crying.

Wednesday the Mariners headed to San Diego to play another 2-game series. Game one was rough, but despite losing 14-6, did not seem to discourage most people. It was just one game, one loss in the midst of the chaos that is a Major League Baseball season. Then came Game #2.

There are no real words to describe what happened inside the confines of Petco Park last night. No words could really encapsulate the roller coaster of emotions. Wade Miley was the most recent Mariners pitcher to struggle this turn. After 5 innings, the Mariners were down 12-2 and it would have been reasonable to think that scoring was done for the evening… If this were 2015. However it’s not 2016, and the Mariners can win and they can do it in different ways.

The Seattle Mariners of 2016, who currently have a wRC+ of 117, who have more home runs than every time in the entirety of MLB, and the same ones who rank in the top 10 of most offensive categories, would not lose this game. They would come roaring back to score 9 runs in two innings and they would beat the San Diego Padres 16-13. There has never been a comeback of bigger proportions in Mariners history.

I’ll let the voices of Dave Sims and Aaron Goldsmith tell last night’s story for you, it’s a good one.

Moment 4: No longer the impossible


Since the start of the 2016 baseball season, the Mariners have done their share to provide a lot “wow” moments to remember. Dae-Ho’s walk-off home run that saved the last game of a win-less first home series, the crazy Ketel/Robbie double-play against the Angels or Leonys Martin crashing into the center field wall to preserve a 1-0 win against the Royals. Admittedly there’s a lot to chose from, but last night may have topped them all.

In a busy life, it’s hard to take time to appreciate the amazing things that happen each day. While not every game is going to end like last night’s contest, the Mariners are going to continue to do a lot of things that will make us realize how lucky we are as fans. Make sure you don’t miss them.

Let’s handle business in Texas, boys.

Go Mariners.

On the Road Again (38-43/162)

In case you have not heard, the Seattle Mariners have a phenomenal road record. Before completing this most recent road trip, the Mariners had won all of their road series (5), save for a spilt in Houston. Finishing this road trip, the Mariners have now won seven road series. The last time they have won more than seven road series was 2000-’01, in which they won 28.

Seattle Mariners at the Baltimore Orioles – The Conquered 

Game 1: Wade Miley v. Ubaldo Jimenez

We were fresh off getting swept by the the Angels and were looking to gain some confidence back. The Orioles were sporting the the best record in the AL. The 2016 Seattle Mariners promptly dismantled any doubts or disbeliefs that had been formulated with this 10-0 rout of the Orioles. A trend of Mariners hitters knocking a starting pitcher out of the game before completing the 6th inning, continued with Ubaldo Jimenez. Out of the Mariners 10 runs, he was responsible for 7 of them. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager were responsible for bringing in all of those runs.

Final Score: Mariners 10- Orioles 0

Game 2: Taijuan Walker v. Chris Tillman

Matt Weiters had a three-hit night, including a back-to-back home runs with Mark Trumbo. Tai gave up four runs, three earned. Chris Tillman, the most consistent Orioles opening day starter since Mike Mussina, was strong against the Mariners. He pitched six innings and 1/3 innings, his sixth quality start in a row. He did surrender two runs, a home run by Leonys Martin and a sacrifice fly by Chris Iannetta.

Final Score: Mariners 2- Orioles 5

Game 3: Nathan Karns v. Tyler Wilson 

Nelson Cruz again starting scoring in this game, seeing as hit is quite fond of hitting in Baltimore. The Orioles did get that run back on a Pedro Alvarez double in their half of the second inning. They would not score again until a terrifying moment in the 8th when Joaquin Benoit loads the bases, and only gave up a groundout RBI to Adam Jones before retiring the side.

In addition to another consistent outing by Nathan Karns, the Mariners offense was once again the story in this game. After Nellie’s run-scoring single, Seth Smith made the game 2-1 on a single of his own in the 5th. One inning later, Adam Lind popped a fly ball over the left field wall for a three-run home run. After the aforementioned Joaquin Benoit return to the rotation, the score was 5-2 going into the eighth. But by the grace of the baseball gods and all that is new power-hitting Leonys Martin, the Mariners took some stress off the game with 2-run home run to center field. Steve Cishek came in and pitched a shut down ninth inning to secure the win.

Final Score: Mariners 7 – Orioles 2

Seattle Mariners at the Cincinnati Reds – The Vanquished 

Game 1: Hisashi Iwakuma v. Dan Straily 

After a 45-min rain delay, the 1st game against the last place of everything Cincinnati Reds  started. Kuma did not look sharp early, giving up three runs in four innings. He held on through six to earn the win, not giving up a run after the 4th inning and striking out six.

The player of this game was the Cincinnati bullpen. It was no secret that this bullpen was the worst in MLB coming into this game, and because the Mariners were only able to get one run off starter Dan Straily, the bullpen was a welcome sigh of relief. Going into the 7th inning, the score was 3-1 in favor of the Reds. This team had none of your doubts or disbeliefs, they started to chip at the lead and they never looked back. Seth Smith, Robinson Cano, Dae-Ho Lee, Ketel Marte, Nelson Cruz and Dae-Ho Lee again all contributed to the run parade.

#MOOD

Final score: Mariners 8- Reds 3

Game 2: Felix Hernandez v. John Lamb 

Twas “Dual Griffey Bobblehead” Day, but more importantly it was Felix day and the Mariners were out to win their 7th consecutive road series. Win they did. Aside from some cringeworthy moments in the 3rd and 5th innings where Felix loaded the bases for Joey Votto, but then got Joey Votto out both times, he looked like vintage Felix. He finished 6 innings pitched with 0 runs, 3 walks and 4 hits allowed.

The Mariners offense helped Felix out this game, scoring four runs off Reds starter John Lamb. Leonys Martin again came through with a solo home run in the second, but the real muscle for today’s game came from the beautiful Franklin Gutierrez:

In the words of Manny Acta, “Oh Guti you so fine.”

Final score: Mariners 4- Reds 0

Game 3: Wade Miley v. Alfredo Simon

This game started with Wade Miley loading the bases in the first inning, and in the process   gave up three runs. The Mariners were playing from behind for the second time this series, but for some reason, that was not scary at all.

Of all people to get the Mariners offense going, it was none other than Wade Miley. He started off the third inning with a lead off single, which is promptly followed by a single from Leonys Martin. Norichika Aoki grounds out to shortstop Zack Kozart, who forces Martin out at second and advances Miley to third. With Mr. “MLB leading RBI leader” himself at the plate, Miley scores easily on a single. One wild pitch by Pasta later, Norichika advances to second and is brought home on a Nelson Cruz groundout.

Miley gave back a run in the top of the fourth on a home run by Adam Duvall, but that was the last run that any Mariners pitcher would surrender for the rest of the game. The next inning, Lenoys Martin (sound familiar) hustled out a bunt single that was originally called out. After him, Norichika singles on a ball that was deflected off of 1st baseman Joey Votto’s glove, Leonys Martin gets to third and if brought home on a Robinson Cano sac fly. Nelson Cruz puts a notch in his OBP with a walk. Kyle Seager ties the game with a single that scores Norichika. Adam Lind gets intentionally (???) walked to bring up Steve Clevenger. Clevenger always seems to be the unlikeliest of heros, but once again he excited all of the PNW with the (eventual) game winning single that scored Nelson Cruz.

Final Score: Mariners 5- Reds 4


A few last notes before the Mariners come home to face the Oakland Athletics tomorrow night at Safeco Field:

  1. 5-1 on this road trip
  2. Leonys Martin has a .133 wRC+ in the month of May, and has hit 8 home runs on the season (tying a career high)
  3. +48 run differential (2nd in the AL to Boston)
  4. MLB high 18 road wins
  5. Won 9 of 11 series (4 out of the last 5)
  6. The Seattle Mariners offense is in the top 10 of these categories: BB%, K%, K/9, and BB/9. C the Z.
  7. 26-17 and 1st place in the AL West
  8. Currently: Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 5.19.28 PM

Go Mariners. 

 

The Happiest of Felix Days (32/162)

Last night was a very good baseball night in Seattle. There were about 15,000 people in attendance at Safeco Field, but the general happiness and positive vibes in the place made it feel like a few thousand more. Coming home from a 5-2 road trip, there was a joyous buzz surrounding the team and their winning ways.

Monday night games do not usually generate a ton of excitement, but this Monday’s game was special for a myriad of reasons:

1. Crowd favorites Brad Miller and Logan Morrison returned for the first time since being traded this winter. Shout out to the music/creative team for being a class act and playing John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” during Brad and LoMo’s first at bats. There is no hard feelings toward them, but I’m going to say I was not too terribly upset to see them do this last night:

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BMILLERLOMO

As my friends and I said last night, “we like them, but we also want them to strikeout multiple times.”

2. Felix Hernandez is the winningest pitcher in Mariners history with 146 wins, passing Jaime Moyer. In a night where Felix may have worried us just a bit, he yet again, found a way to keep the game manageable. From the beginning, it looked like a prototypical offense behind a Felix start. The Mariners started the game 0-4 with RISP, leaving men on 2nd and 3rd in consecutive innings, before a third inning Nelson Cruz sacrifice fly scored Ketel Marte from third.  The only runs that Felix allowed were home runs to Corey Dickson (?????)  and Evan Longoria (less weird) before exiting with a 5-3 lead at the end of the seventh. He would earn the win thanks to Ketel Marte’s productive night. Felix now sits atop the Mariners pitching leader boards in overall wins and strikeouts.

I have seen Felix do a lot of amazing things over the course of his career. Some of the bigger milestones include: his otherworldly performances in 2009 & 2014, 2010 when he won the CY Young with a 13-12 record, the Perfect Game, the first Supreme Court 5 days later, the 1,000th strikeout in Boston, the 2,000th strikeout against against the Athletics at home in 2015 and last week when he surpassed Randy Johnson for all-time Mariners strikeout leader. He is truly amazing. Even in his ever looming (bad word) decline, he will be always special and he always be ours. We love you, Felix.

3. Ketel Marte. Even though Monday night had a large precedent for Felix, a certain Marte Partay stole the show. You could tell Ketel was fired up all night, excited and clapping every time he got on base. Marte went 4-5, the first 4-hit game in his young career, including the nothing cheap about it 3-run home run to right center field. In the words of Dave Sims (I watched the broadcast when I got home), “no he didn’t”. That home run would turn out to be the game winner, as Felix, Joel Peralta and Steve Cishek shut down the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. Way to Partay, Ketel, way to Partay.

4. The first place Seattle Mariners.  Coming into this game the Mariners only had a .5 lead over the Texas Rangers (which is nothing to even slightly upset about), but undoubtedly building on that lead would be of the most optimal situation. Since the Rangers has lost earlier in the evening, on a Todd Fraizer grand slam in the 12th inning, the Mariners would have be okay either way. However these 2016 Mariners have taken a liking to winning, and win they did. Beating the Rays 5-3 on Monday night gave the Mariners a 1.5 game lead and the West.

Ain’t she a beaut:

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Go Mariners.

If This is the Beginning, PT II (28/162)

I keep waiting for something to go horribly wrong. I wait anxiously for the moment that the baseball gods throw a big, fat middle finger to Seattle yet again. This team? How they’re playing? It is just almost too good. Many people who know me (or at least read what I write), know that I came into full Mariner fandom right around the end of the last era of justifiably “good” Mariners baseball. Even factoring in my age, I am well versed in the stories of the past. The stories of ’95 and ’01, the stories of Junior, Edgar, Moyer, Johnson and Buhner. These stories have been told time and time again, in an effort to placate fans of  present, to remind them why they started believing all those years ago. They are the stories that many people tell their children, to try and forge a love that could not be rationalized based on the current state of the franchise…. At least, before right now.

That statement above many seem very silly to say with only 20% of the season complete, but I’ve heard online rumblings of this team playing very similar to the Mariners of 21 years ago. “Refuse to Lose,” was name and winning was the game. These 2016 Mariners are playing extremely fun baseball. Everyone is contributing, from the top of the order down, every guy is playing for the guy next to him. Baseball is not always fun. When it is, and when everything is clicking, it is an unquestionably good feeling.


Yesterday when the heartbeat of this team, Felix Hernandez, got knocked out after 4 innings, Nelson Cruz screamed in that dugout “We got this. We are going to win.” You cannot tell me that this team does not believe in each other. They want to be better than the past, and give the fans reason to believe in them again. Show me someone who does not believe this team is different, then I’ll show you a liar… or an Angels fan. Usually it’s one in the same.

Today, the Mariners very well could have lost the first game of this series against the Houston Astros. Jose Altuve continued to torment Wade Miley with a first inning home run. Robinson Cano singled in a run in the 3rd to even the score. Evan Gattis singled home a run in the 6th. Seth Smith singled home two runs in the 7th (his first hit against a lefty this year). In the top of the 7th, Jose Altuve hit a 420-ft double (because center field hill), and brought in the tying run. For many years, a tied game going into the late innings of a game was usually felt fairly disheartening. However today, or really any game over the last couple weeks, did not feel like that.

In the ninth,  Leonys Martin hit a 1-out single and Norichika followed that up with a walk. There were two men on, 1-out and a very good and hot hitting Robinson Cano was up. He took the first pitch for a ball. The second pitch he saw, he did this:

Three. Run. Double. 6-3 Mariners. Steve Cishek came in closed the game in the bottom of the ninth, and the Mariners had their first 4-game winning streak since September 1st of last year. The Mariners have now won 6 of their last 7 games and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. They have a +32 run differential, a number that leads the American League. After 28 games in 2015, the Mariners were 11-17. After today’s game, they sit at 17-11, first place in the AL West by 2.5 games. Positive numbers don’t always translate to a positive overall performance on the field, but these numbers sure are fun to look at.

As mentioned earlier, it may be too early to assume that the 2016 Mariners can merit the same type of gritty success that the 1995 Mariners coined. However if it is the beginning… I know that we’ll be ready for it. I know that the fans have held on for the last 15 years will rewarded for their loyalty, and new fans with be birthed in the midst of the good fortune. If this is the beginning, we will be ready. Yes, the players deserve it, but the fans deserve it more.

Go Mariners.


P.S:

 Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 9.21.14 PM

Swept (27/162)

Let me just start off by saying, this win was not easy. It was a rollercoaster of baseball’s many emotions. Felix Hernandez, who is usually pretty stellar in Oakland, did not have his stuff today. He allowed the first run of the game via solo home run by Marcus Semien. In the fourth, Felix opened up the inning giving up two consecutive singles to Josh Reddick and Khris Davis. Stephen Vogt grounded out to advance the runners and a Billy Butler fielder’s choice ground out later, the Athletics had their second run.

Mariners were down 2-0 going into the top of the fifth inning. It was not a lot of runs to overcome. Two runs is usually not a particularly intimidating deficit, but Mariners teams of the past have had trouble rallying from any type of deficit. Not this team. This team has fun, this team had confidence in each other. This would only be the first of two times the Mariners would come from behind and take the lead from Oakland.

With two outs in the 5th (6 of the 9 Mariners runs would come with two outs), we have a Norichika single and Partay double gave the Mariners their first run. Marte and his speedy little legs were sent home when Robinson Cano snared a single to center. When Nelson Cruz came to the plate, we were all thinking “when was the last time Nellie hit a home run?”. Apparently, Twitter telepath is alive and well. Nelson Cruz crushed a ball to the upper plaza seating area of the vast wasteland that is the Oakland Coliseum. Below actuality describes the reaction of Athletics fans everywhere (especially after this series).

After Nelson’s moon shot, it was the Athletics’ turn in the bottom of the 5th. This is when the wheels starting falling off for Felix’s start. Eleven men to the plate, two Mariners errors and six runs later, the Athletics were winning 8-4.

Dae-Ho Lee was up in the sixth inning and he promptly started chipping away at Oakland’s lead. With a home run to right field, Dae-Ho makes the score 5-8 Mariners. Leonys Martin singles, steals second and advanced to third on a wild pitch by catcher Stephen Vogt. Norichika scores him with a sacrifice fly to center field. 6-8 Mariners. In the top of the 7th, Nelson Cruz adds on to his already productive day, C’s the Z and draws a lead off walk. Franklin Gutierrez reaches 1st on a fielders choice, and Nelson is out with a force at second. With Kyle Seager at plate, A’s closer Sean Dootlittle throws a wild pitch and Guti advances to second. Then,

At this point, the sweep of the Oakland Athletics is tantalizingly close. It would have been the first sweep of the season. The players believed, the fans believed. The game was so close to being ours. After a pop out by Chris Iannetta, the Mariners had 2-outs and a runner on base. In this situation, manager Scott Servais usually would have pitch hit Dae-Ho Lee, but he made the decision to leave him in. A decision that everyone in Mariners land would later thank him for. On a 3-1 count, Dae-Ho Lee hit his second home run of the day to left field. Mariners 9, Oakland 8. The general consensus after that home run went a little something like this:

Most things that occurred after that were moot compared to the amount of joy that came with that Dae-Ho home run. Two innings later, Steve Cishek closed out the 9th inning. The Texas Rangers would later lose to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Mariners remained atop the AL West.

I find myself repeating “it’s only May” over and over again, but for some reason, I do not seem to care one bit. Baseball is weird. Baseball is improbable. Baseball won’t always go in favor of the Mariners , but I’m going to enjoy every minute while it lasts. Next up, the Houston Astros.

Felix believes, why shouldn’t you?

Go Mariners.

Mariners do the Thing, in 1st Place (26/162)

As I write this the Seattle Mariners have once again found themselves holding first place in the American League West. It is a good feeling, it is a great feeling. Let’s all celebrate! This win marks the Mariners SIXTH consecutive winning series. Baseball is fun right now.


A month ago, the Mariners got swept at home by the Oakland Athletics in the first home stand of the year.  Their bats could not string hits together against the likes of starting pitchers Eric Surkamp, Rich Hill and Chris Bassitt. Yesterday, they hustled out a 4-3 win against Kendall Graveman. Today, the Mariners absolutely lit into Oakland’s prize possession, Sonny Gray.

Scoring got started in the third inning with a two-run home run by a slumping Leonys Martin. In 2015, Leonys Martin hit a total of five home runs. He now has five home runs in 2016. Shortly after in the fourth inning Robinson Cano went opposite field for a solo home run. Norichika added a run on a single in the 7th, Ketel Marte scored on the play. Five straight hits in the eighth was punctuated by a Leonys Martin bunt single, RBI pop up “single” by Adam Lind and a three-run home run by Kyle Seager. Kyle’s home run brought the score to 8-1, Mariners.

Hisashi Iwakuma’s valiant pitching efforts are not something that should not be lost in the excitement of the offensive fireworks. Tonight, Kuma bear earned his first win of the season. He did it by pitching out of a bases loaded jam in the 2nd inning, pitching seven strong innings and allowing a single run. He had only 88-pitches, 56 for strikes. Kuma added to a positive trend by Mariners starting pitching:

There are no words that can fully capture the excellence of this double play:

Just, wow.

Oakland got their first run off a Jed Lowire single in the 6th. After reliever Tony Zych got put on the 15-day DL this morning, Steve Johnson was called up from Tacoma. He made his debut in the 9th inning of today’s game, and gave up a solo shot to Khris Davis.

Final Score: Mariners 8- Athletics 2 


We want to able to pinpoint what is different this year.  What makes 2016 feel just so much better than seasons’  past. As humans, our curious nature wants to delve into the numbers, watch the footage and try and to figure out where the change happened. It’s hard to just accept the good feelings, but that is what we should do.

About a week ago, the first time the Mariners had a little taste of what first place felt like, I tried to air on the side of cautious optimism. After years of cemented dread, it seemed silly to put too much faith into one month of playing. It still feels a little bit like that, but little by little, series win by series win, the dream of being “good” again starts to grow tangible.

It may be too early to make the assumption that we have turned a proverbial corner. However, there is no better feeling than watching my favorite baseball team enjoy playing the game together. The Mariners are playing incredibly confident baseball right now. Sit back and enjoy the fun with them. We’re in first place, y’all.

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Let’s get this sweep tomorrow, boys.

Go Mariners.

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Mariners Don’t Lose in the 9th (25/162)

Being a Mariners fan, you may have some reservations of the ghosts of closers past. This is normal. In the last 15 or so years, we have participated in our share of good memories: Kaz in ’01, Putz in ’06-’07 and the ever memorable, Rodney 2014 edition. On the other side, we’ve experienced Fernando Rodney 2015. You may remember him blowing 7 saves in 23 opportunities? Nothing against Rodney as a person, I just wish he was better baseball player for the Mariners in his second year.

However we are not here to relive the FRE, no no. We are here to give a happy shout out to our current closer, a gumby-limbed gentleman, that goes by the name of Steve Cishek. Last night, in an already stressful situation, Cishek came out and closed out a 4-3 win for the Mariners. These are just some of the number’s Cishek has put up this season:

Other than Cishek’s slider, there was a lot of other fun stuff that went on in last night’s game:

  • Adam Lind had an RBI single in the 4th to score Robinson Cano. Hopefully a little road trip is just what the doctor ordered for Lind’s bat to get going.
  • Curator of the greatest baseball butt envy, Kyle Seager himself, had a RBI double to right field in the 6th. Robinson Cano scored on the play. You know what? It’s not April anymore. May is upon us and Kyle is coming back with vengeance.
  • Speaking of Robinson Cano, he reached a pretty cool milestone last night:

Pretty solid group of baseball players, in my opinion. Last night Robinson went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 runs scored. My favorite on those hits was a hilarious single against the shift in the 7th. He pretty much giggled all the way to first base, it was that easy.

  • Ketel Marte did everything in his power to record all the outs last night. I appreciated his valiant infield defensive. Let’s do that again? How about once a night or so.
  • In what was eventually the game-winning run, Norichika doubled to get on base and stole third. After Steven Vogt’s errant throw went wide of third, Aoki sprinted home to make the score 4-1 Mariners. A run would we need, since the A’s would annoyingly come back and score two runs and make the score 4-3 going into the 9th.
  • Cannot forget bout tradition:


 

While Cishek’s Mariners career is still young, he has risen to the task of quelling our closer trust issues. Last night’s game could have gone very 2015, but it didn’t and the Mariners won. For that I am grateful. Keep doing your thing, Steve. We’ll keep believing in you.

Go Mariners.

 

The 5th Series (22-24/162)

Today is just a summary of the last series (5th series we’ve won in a row!!!).  These games saw so many great things, and I will for sure not do them any justice by describing them so quickly. Life comes at you fast and so do baseball games. First pitch t-minus 10 hours!

SEATTLE MARINERS v. KANSAS CITY ROYALS:

Game 22: Felix Hernandez v. Kris Medlen. It was usual Felix started game. The Mariners were struggling to score. Felix was hustling to keep his team in the ball game. It was the first King’s Court/Felix Day at home since eclipsing Randy Johnson’s Mariners all-time strikeout record. It was also beard hat night. It turns out, beards are a good look:

The only offense that the Mariners needed (and got) came from Seth Smith’s 100th home run in the fourth inning. Felix pitched 7 and 2/3rd innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks and no runs. Felix Hernandez earned the win. Medlen took the loss.

Final Score: Mariners 1, Royals 0

Game 23: Wade Miley v. Yordano Ventura. Miley was just coming off his best start of the season, took that budding confidence, and said “I’m going to pitch a complete game shut out and make you feel sorry about all the words you said to me prior to the first inning on April 24th”. Yeah, that’s what he said. Wade pitched like an angry man and shut down the Royals in an efficient 9 innings (114 pitches).

Mariners offense also put on a show, chalk full of OBP and dingers. A day after his career 100th home run, Seth Smith blasted #101 on a first pitch fastball for a Mariners lead in the first. Not more than 10 minutes later, Kyle Seager hits a 3-run jack to right center, Kyle scores Nelson Cruz and Adam Lind. The Mariners tack on runs in the 4th and the 6th, to run the score to 6-0. However I would argue that the season high 8 walks drawn by Mariners batters is even more encouraging than the home runs. Anyone can That would be all they needed for the night. Back to back shutouts for the first time since September 2015.  Manny Acta was excited:

Final Score: Mariners 6, Royals 0

Game 24: Taijuan Walker v. Ian Kennedy. Mariners offense could not seem to string much together against Ian Kennedy, only getting one run against the righty. Which was weird. Ian Kennedy of four years ago? Maybe. Ian Kennedy of 2016? Sure. Yeah, alright. As far as Tai’s start, sometimes pitchers have good starts and sometimes they have okay starts. Today was just one of those okay starts. Walker only went 5 innings, giving up seven hits and 3 runs (2 earned). The lone Mariners run came off a Chris Iannetta single in the 6th. Tony Zych has an impressive inning, striking out the side in the 6th. Joel Peralta and Mike Montgomery also pitched scoreless innings. Zidal Nuno also saw an inning of action. He gave up a solo home run to Eric Hosmer.

Final Score: Royals 4, Mariners 1

Even though we did not pick up the sweep on the defending World Champs, tons of fans came out to see the Mariners play this weekend:


 

Next up: Mariners @ Athletics, 7:10 PM, Nathan Karns v. Kendall Graveman.

Go Mariners.

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