The Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers entered this game with identical 34-34 records and completely opposite trajectories. The Rangers had climbed back to even after a disastrous start to the season in which seemingly the entire team was lost to injury. The Mariners, once surprise occupants of a wild card spot, had fallen back to earth by way of a five-game losing streak. The Rangers had taken the first two games of the series. Not a lot going for the M’s, it seemed.
But that was then and this is now, and now the Mariners have a one-game winning streak, which is peachy. In hindsight of course the Mariners had a chance at this one, because Hisashi Iwakuma was on the mound. Iwakuma is amazing, and it stands to reason that an amazing starter should increase the likelihood of a W. Plus, the M’s were trotting out dynamic leadoff man Endy Chavez and his stellar .186 on-base percentage. Ummmmm… yeah, it’s kind of hard to see how this team has ever won a game, ever.
Iwakuma’s line: eight innings, six strikeouts, no walks, six hits, one run. Starting first baseman Brad Snyder, whoever the hell that is, had a second-inning solo home run, and from what I understand it’s his first as a big leaguer. Congratulations, then, are due to Snyder on being able to sneak out of his seat and into a Rangers uniform, since there’s no way he’s a real baseball player. You’ve never heard of him, I’ve never heard of him, he’s a fakester.
The main point here: wow, Hisashi Iwakuma is a really, really good pitcher. This isn’t news, since Iwakuma’s been a really, really good pitcher for a long time. But he’s only been this way in Seattle for a couple years, and it’s not like we should stop noting and celebrating greatness just because it’s familiar. Without Iwakuma, the Mariners have a much harder time winning this game.
Because of Kuma, the M’s never had to overcome a deficit of more than one run. The Rangers got their first at-bat with a runner in scoring position in the sixth inning. They got their second in the eighth, again failed to capitalize, and that was it. Good pitching triumphed.
Seattle waited until the fifth to start scoring runs, and it was Kyle Seager having all the fun. Seager’s been quite cold since his four-hit game a little while ago, but busted out tonight for four more hits. His double in the fifth scored Endy Chavez and Robinson Cano to put the M’s on top for good. Seager doubled again in the eighth to score John Buck, who entered at first base in place of an injured Logan Morrison. Buck at first! Imagine that. Or don’t, because you just saw it happen. Mike Zunino singled, Dustin Ackley doubled in Seager, and Brad Miller sac fly’d a run. Just like that, the game was 5-1. And that’s how it ended.
Up next is four games against the hated “rival” San Diego Padres. The first two will be played in Seattle, with the series then shifting to Petco Park. The upside of this is that Petco is beautiful and the Padres are awful. The downside is that the Padres are awful and thus super difficult to watch.
At -57, San Diego currently has MLB’s worst run differential. Seth Smith has been hitting like a superstar, which makes him the only competent full-time position player on the team. Ian Kennedy is the fearless leader of an otherwise-bad pitching staff. Kennedy won’t even be pitching in this series. Fans of boring baseball, rejoice! Chris Young vs. Tyson Ross, 7:10pm, Seattle, tomorrow night. It’ll be boring, probably.