Before the day had even begun we all knew this wouldn’t be the baseball game we wanted it to be. With the New York Yankees being rained out in their game the night before, some tweaks were made to the starting rotation. Those tweaks included Masahiro Tanaka being pushed back a day, meaning that he wouldn’t get to face off against his former teammate Hisashi Iwakuma. What happened instead was Iwakuma vs. Vidal Nuno, and that’s less compelling than Iwakuma going against, I don’t know, you, or me, or anything. Vidal Nuno compels nobody.
Iwakuma threw a good-not-great game that veered more toward great if you only started watching after the first inning. Four of his seven hits allowed came in that frame, as did the first two Yankee runs. Kuma threw 7.1 frames, and a majority of them were excellent. The first inning was bad, but he recovered smashingly.
He was out of gas by the end, passing 100 pitches for the first time this year. Brett Gardner hit a huge foul ball before flying out at the wall. Derek Jeter then smacked a double deep to center, and that was it for Iwakuma. Jacoby Ellsbury would then drive Jeter in after Charlie Furbush entered the game. Yankees, 3, Mariners 2. And so it goes.
The Mariners never really stood much of a chance once the Yankees bullpen took over, as the Yankees boast probably the best late innings trio in Major League Baseball. Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, and David Robertson are amongst the game’s very most elite arms, and when New York gets a chance to use them back-to-back-to-back there’s not a whole lot a team can do aside from hope to get lucky.
Even with such slim odds, the Mariners almost came back against that vaunted trio. A hit by pitch-wild pitch-single sequence plated a run against Betances, with Mike Zunino and Dustin Ackley playing the role of heroes for Seattle. That tied the game at two apiece, but the Jeter thing happened in the next half-inning. Jeter had two hits on the day, and did you hear he’s retiring? I heard something about him retiring. The Yankees have someone do this every year these days. Attention hogs.
Masahiro Tanaka makes his Safeco Field debut tonight at 7:10. Chris Young goes for the Mariners. It’s still hard to tell if the Yankees are a good team or a bad team, but we’ll know for sure that they’re good if Young gets a win tonight. Because the Mariners only beat good teams, remember? Seriously though, Tanaka’s pitching in Seattle tonight. It’s not the matchup we’d hoped for, but it’s still one of the most exciting pitchers in the game.