The Mariners won today in Kansas City against the Royals, splitting the four-game series at two games.
The M’s scored all 8 of their runs today on just three clutch hits by the middle of the order. The offense was coupled with great starting pitching, and two sparkling defensive plays in the infield early in the game. Despite an impressive late game surge by the Royals, the M’s hung on to win, 8-5.
Mike Montgomery got the spot-start for the Mariners today and it could not have gone much better. Monty would pitch 6 nearly flawless innings of scoreless baseball before finally giving up a solo home run in the 7th by Brett Eibner. By then though, the Mariners had already stretched out a 8-0 lead, and for the 2nd time in as many starts against KC, Monty made the Royals wish they had never traded the 1st round draft pick. (Monty pitched a complete game shutout against them last season right around this time).
I stated that it was a spot-start for Monty, but he has been adamant about rejoining the rotation. After the way he pitched tonight, you had to be impressed with the idea of both him and James Paxton as power lefty starters.
Read more about why this may not have been just a spot-start at: https://emeraldcityswagger.com/2016/07/08/mariners-not-just-a-spot-start-for-montgomery/
Despite the Mariners’ offensive outburst, I really believe Monty was the story tonight. He went above and beyond all expectations by being so efficient and effective. Mike had all four pitches working, grinding his cutter in on the hands and fading his change-up away from right handed batters. He also had his four seamer topping out at 95 mph, using that and his curveball the majority of the time to lefty’s. Monty showed pin-point control and I honestly did not see one mistake in the middle of the plate until Eibner’s homer in the 7th.
Monty had done his job despite the home run, as the M’s offense gave him plenty of run support. That support started right away in the 1st inning as the M’s scored two on a bases loaded single by Kyle Seager, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Robinson Cano extended a streak of his own to 9 games and added a two-run home run in the 7th. Adam Lind followed suit with a three-run home run on a hanger by Royals reliever Brooks Pounders. Pounders gave up all five of the runs the M’s scored in the 7th.
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Wouldn’t ya know? The World Champs would still make a game out of it. David Rollins continued to struggle with his fastball command today, a problem that dates all the way back to last year, when the M’s spent a rule 5 pick on the lefty reliever from Texas. Despite entering the 8th with an 8-1 lead, Rollins walked in a run on four pitches to Kendrys Morales, and walked Whit Merrifield on four pitches prior to that. Scott Servais had seen enough, and thankfully Joaquin Benoit and Steve Cishek were able to help the M’s escape Kauffman Stadium with a 8-5 win, and a series-split.
The M’s go into the All Star Break on a high note, and thanks to today’s win, a record just above .500 at 45-44. Everyone except Cano will enjoy a few days off to recuperate. Cano is the only Mariner participating in the All Star Game. He will compete in the HR Derby as well, a competition he won back in 2011.
Mentionables: I’d just like to state 1 mentionable. I am relieved to say that the Mariners made absolutely zero base running mistakes today.
Mariners Transactions: Yesterday, the Seattle Mariners sent LHP Charlie Furbush on a rehab assignment to Everett AquaSox. Felix joins him soon.
MLB Notable Transactions: In case you haven’t heard, yesterday Craig Kimbrel was placed on the 15 day DL by the Boston Red Sox with a meniscus tear.
Today’s Date in Baseball History: Going into the All Star break, I thought that the greatest moment ever in the All-Star Game should be remembered.
By: Collin Ferguson @Collin-Ferguson.com & EmeraldCitySwagger.com