Apr 26, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) hits a single against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners were swept by the Miami Marlins. Directly after that, they lost the first two games of a three game set against the Houston Astros. They came so, so close to losing the third game of that series, but Kyle Seager bailed them out with two home runs in the late innings, including a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth. At that point, the totally disastrous recent past became just that, allowing us to shift our focus towards the coming games. Losing eight straight, including five to the probably-worst teams in baseball, is awful, and Kyle Seager helped turn the page. Yesterday afternoon he one-upped himself.
The Mariners took two of three from the Texas Rangers, giving them an exciting series win in the first set they’d played post-Marlins/Astros. It sure looked like they were going to lose the rubber match, as they were losing 5-0 after the top of the fourth. But they scored a run in the bottom of that frame, another in the sixth, another in the seventh, and three more in the eighth while the bullpen held the Texas offense scoreless. Forget those feelings of doom and gloom – the Mariners are back! This was a critical series, or, it was as emotionally critical as a series in April can be. The Mariners won, and it was fun. That in and of itself is amazing.
The Mariners won in spite of Brandon Maurer, who now has a higher ERA in 2014 than he did in 2013. Making his second start of the season, the big righty got two outs through the fourth before being removed, having allowed all five of the Rangers runs on seven hits and a walk. Three strikeouts, though, and no dingers, which puts his FIP at 2.46, just a hair behind Felix Hernandez for best on the team. Look only at the results and Maurer has been grotesque so far. Look only at the peripherals and Maurer has been excellent so far. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, as it always does, and ultimately we’re talking about eight innings. Brandon Maurer is something. What, exactly, we don’t yet know.
Robinson Cano was directly involved in the first two Mariners runs, doubling in Stefen Romero in the fourth and scoring on a wild pitch in the sixth. Kyle Seager hit a solo homer to make it 5-3, setting himself up for later heroics in the process. Alexi Ogando pitched the eighth for Texas, quickly retiring Cano and Corey Hart. Justin Smoak doubled, Dustin Ackley pinch-hit a single, and Seager again delivered a big home run to give the M’s an improbable lead. This put the ball in Fernando Rodney‘s hands with the game on the line. How’d that turn out?
Excellently, that’s how. Rodney struck out Josh Wilson on three pitches. He worked a 3-0 count to full against Michael Choice, who flew out. He then struck out Elvis Andrus on three pitches, reminding the world why he’s a highly-regarded closer and not an older Yoervis Medina. Just like that, the Mariners took two of three from a team that is perceived to be vastly better than them. If that’s not a good consolation for the Marlins/Astros embarrassment, then nothing could ever be. The M’s won, and it was glorious. This isn’t always the case, so it’s worth celebrating when it is.
No game today, as this is the April of a thousand off days. Things resume tomorrow in New York, as Robinson Cano makes his first return to New York since leaving the stingy Yankees for the wealthy Mariners. Fans will boo him and throw fake money, I hope. Chris Young vs. C.C. Sabathia, 4:05 start time. Greedy Cano! Poor, poor Yankees!