Another day, another game. Another game, more extra innings. But this time it was the Seattle Mariners who emerged victorious after a long and hard-fought battle.
Remember Friday, when the Mariners needed sixteen innings to wrap up a loss to the Los Angeles Angels? The two teams were once again unable to conclude their game within the first nine innings, lasting until the twelth on Saturday. The M’s won 3-2, emerging on the right side of another tooth-and-nail affair where runs were at a premium. That’s what this Angels-Mariners rivalry is all about right now, it seems.
Felix Hernandez got the start for the Mariners, and what stands out is that he walked four batters. This is noteworthy because Felix just doesn’t really walk people anymore. The bases on balls would seem to indicate some kind of problem, except that Felix was his typical dominant self otherwise. He struck out nine over seven innings. He allowed only two hits for one unearned run. It appears that the walks were just happenstance – even the King loses a batter or two here and there. They just happened to be clustered yesterday.
The tear Felix is on continues, as he’s now pitched at least seven innings while giving up two or fewer runs in each of his last twelve starts. That’s been done once before in the AL, in 1907. He’s been the best pitcher in the league all season, and his dominance continues uninterrupted in his first start since being the first guy on the mound for the AL during the All-Star Game. This is simply Felix being Felix – the best of the best, looking and acting the part.
Seattle and Anaheim both boast strong pitching staffs, but the Angels are a better team because they also have a top offensive unit. The difference between the two team’s offenses probably more than make up for the advantage of having Felix over Garrett Richards – who is no slouch himself, and has been the Angels’ best arm this year. Richards, of course, had a strong night, allowing one run over eight frames. The ninth inning came and went, with the tie intact.
Joe Thatcher entered for the Angels in the twelth and let up a leadoff double to excellent baseball player Kyle Seager. Logan Morrison then nailed a double of his own, scoring Seager to break the tie. Mike Morin replaced Thatcher, and Lloyd McClendon brought in Endy Chavez to pinch-hit for Corey Hart. Go back in time and tell yourself that the M’s are a top five team in the league, and are pinch-hitting Endy Chavez for Corey Hart in close games. Chavez singled and stole second, Brad Miller was intentionally walked, and Justin Smoak pinch-hit an RBI single.
The Mariners late inning heroes ended up doing just enough, as David Freese greeted Dominic Leone with a second-pitch home run. Leone had the short hook, and was pulled after just those two pitches. He was credited with the win, of course, because baseball is stupid. Charlie Furbush closed things out for his first-ever save. Good work, Charlie! The Mariners overcame the drama and held on for a nice win.
Day game today for the series finale. Chris Young for the good guys, Tyler Skaggs for the bad guys. Young’s got a 3.15 ERA, whereas Skaggs is at 4.50. But Young’s running a 4.95 FIP, whereas that same metric puts Skaggs at 3.55. The result? Young’s having a 0.4 WAR season and Skaggs has been valued at 1.4 wins. But has Skaggs really added a run more of value than Young? Who’s having a better year? All debatable questions with no real answer! 12:35 start time, so at least this game might be done before you sit down for dinner. Might.