If the fourth inning of this game didn’t happen, or happened differently, then we’d all be spending our evening reading and writing obituaries. R.I.P. to the 2014 Seattle Mariners, who once again insisted on wasting a Felix Hernandez gem. This game had a sense of urgency about it, and without that four-run fourth this could well have ended up the most frustrating Mariners loss in years. Turns out, it ended up a Mariners win.
Felix Hernandez, you guys. What the hell, right? Felix Hernandez is on some kind of a Pedro Martinez kick right now, and it’s just getting crazier and crazier. Eight innings, eight strikeouts, a run on four hits and a walk. 73 of 97 pitches for strikes. Ten outs on the ground. Just another outing virtually free of flaws.
These box scores are all starting to run together. How do you even tell Felix gems apart anymore? Does anyone even want to be able to differentiate between these performances? It’s not insane to argue that Felix has the Cy Young locked up already. He just made his first start of August. Felix could stop right now, and maybe Jon Lester would catch him. Thing is, Felix isn’t gonna stop right now.
Let’s revisit that fourth inning, then. For innings one through three, not a lot happened. Atlanta scored a second inning run on a Justin Upton ground rule double followed by a Chris Johnson single, setting them up for the 1-0 victory. But Seattle reclaimed the game two frames later, starting with Kyle Seager getting beaned. Chris Denorfia singled, Logan Morrison singled, and boom, that’s a run. A run! Because you can’t lose 1-0 if you score a run.
Chris Taylor was the next guy to get in on the fun, though he did so in an odd and unspectacular fashion. Taylor popped up to shallow right, and Tommy LaStella ran over from second to make the grab. Except he closed his glove too fast, letting the ball bounce to the grass and allowing two runs to score. That’s the play that decided the game, amazingly enough. Austin Jackson smacked a single to center, scoring Taylor from second. Four runs, one inning. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Kudos to Fernando Rodney for trying to blow this one but not actually blowing this one. Dude’s got a serious flair for the dramatic, and let it be known loud and clear by serving up a double to Tommy LaStella to open the bottom of the ninth. LaStella, of course, doesn’t get extra-base hits. He’s famous for that. A fly and a grounder later and he’d scored. Jason Heyward singled, then Rodney finally slammed the door with a strikeout of Evan Gattis. The Mariners survived themselves.
Tomorrow’s game features Chris Young, Julio Teheran, and a 12:40 start time. Teheran’s marvelous, and Young’s somehow still doing what he’s doing. Who will win 1-0? Stay tuned! In all seriousness, the Mariners are a game out of the playoffs right now.
They’re even with New York, but still trail Kansas City by half a game and Toronto by a game. But – but! Remember our old friend run differential? Take the run differentials of the Yankees, Royals, and Blue Jays, combine them, then multiply that number by eight. Then you’ll have the Mariners’ run differential. That’s amazing! Wow! Mariners!