Apr 9, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Roenis Elias (29) pitches to the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
It’s obvious why the Seattle Mariners didn’t beat the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night – they were outscored. This is the story with quite literally every baseball game, as the team with the most runs wins. The Mariners didn’t score any runs, so the best they could hope for is a loss, and would you look at that, they got the loss. Wins are cool and all, but sometimes you’ve just got to say “no.” Last night, the Mariners just said “no,” and now they have one more loss than they used to. Since baseball is a game of wins and losses, the M’s decision to lose seems perfectly acceptable.
Garrett Richards pitched seven innings of one-hit ball, then let Joe Smith and Ernesto Frieri finish what he had started. The Mariners finished with nine strikeouts, which isn’t so bad, I guess, considering the one-hitter and all. Justin Smoak led the offensive charge with two walks. Good job, Smoak! Smoak now gets to eat all the pizza he wants while his teammates sit and watch. Everyone’s hungry but Smoaky just keeps wolfing down slice after slice. Justin Smoak, merciless drawer of walks and eater of pizza.
Roenis Elias pitched a nice little game and what a fun surprise he is so far. I don’t think it’s at all unfair that a reasonable expectation for Elias would be that he’d come up and get anihilated against a higher level of competition than he’d ever seen. Through his first two big league starts he’s managed to keep his head above water while generating better-than-expected results. Yesterday’s two strikeout, one walk, and one homer over five innings kept his ERA under three while actually bumping his FIP above five. His xFIP is in the same sorry state, so it hasn’t been entirely homers hurting his value. Elias is, at the very least, deserving of another few starts, and with Paxton’s injury he’s almost sure to get them. Elias is a treat to watch on the mound and his first start was legitimately exciting, so he’s definitely one to watch the rest of the month.
Speaking of one home run, that’s what Albert Pujols hit tonight and that’s what sunk the Mariners. With two outs in the third, Elias got Pujols to swing through a nicely located curve just low of the plate. He then tried to throw the same pitch again but missed and left it hanging over the heart of the plate, and Pujols minced it. That homer scored the always-on-base Mike Trout and ended the scoring for both sides. The attempted fool-me-twice was a questionable move, and the pitch that Elias actually threw deserved to end up in the bleachers. For all the talk of Pujols’ decline, it’s important to remember that he’s still pretty gnarly. Sure, he’s a declining great player, but he’s still a good player, and it’s not surprising when good players hit good homers.
The Mariners bullpen did an exceptional job for the game’s last four frames. Dominic Leone made his second Mariners appearance and it was a good one, as he struck out David Freese before inducing a grounder and two popups. Joe Beimel followed with a K and two singles before being pulled for Yoervis Medina, who got four nice outs before letting Charlie Furbush pitch a nice ninth. This game came down to exactly one mistake pitch, but after all the arms did a nice job of keeping things close. Credit also goes to the Angels hurlers for not making any mistakes. That’s hard to do!
After winning a series and losing a series, the M’s settle for a two-game split at home against L.A. The Oakland Athletics are in town tomorrow, which means no baseball again today. What’s up with off days on either side of a two-game series at home? Including the postponed game in Oakland, the M’s will have played four times in seven days. Felix Hernandez takes the hill tomorrow night against Tommy Milone and the A’s. If tomorrow is Felix Day and today is an off-day, then today is Felix Day too, kind of. Every day should be Felix Day. Every day can be Felix Day! Happy Felix Day! Tell a friend!