Mariners Split Four-game Series with Boston

Aug 2, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against the Boston Red Sox during the eighth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against the Boston Red Sox during the eighth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

In David Ortiz‘ final series in Seattle, the Mariners and Red Sox split the four-game affair after four very competitive ballgames. The Mariners welcome the rival Angels to town for Ken Griffey Jr weekend.

Game One:

A miraculous performance from James Paxton wasn’t enough as Steve Cishek delivered another poor performance just a day removed from his three-run ninth inning against the Cubs.

Paxton threw eight innings and gave up just one run, a Aaron Hill home run in the eighth, while striking out six and walking none. This all came against one of the best offenses not just in the American League, but in all of baseball.

Dae Ho Lee hit an RBI double in the seventh which scored Robinson Cano for the Mariners’ lone run of the game.

The Red Sox got 6 and 1/3 solid innings from Eduardo Rodriguez and the bullpen held the Mariners without a run.

Steve Cishek entered the ninth with the game tied 1-1 and gave up a lead-off home run to Mookie Betts and that ended up being the difference maker as Boston stole game one 2-1.

Game One Notes:

Steve, Steve, Steve, what to say? I felt like they lost the minute he stepped on the mound.

Eduardo Rodriguez hasn’t been very good this year. It was really frustrating to watch Seattle struggle so badly against him.

Paxton has looked great of late. Not walking anyone is a great sight to see as well.

Game Two:

Game two was a match up of two very different lefties in Wade LeBlanc and David Price.

Price was extremely dominant for the most part aside from the eighth inning, and LeBlanc delivered another solid start for the Mariners giving up three runs in six innings of work.

David Ortiz started the scoring off with an RBI double in the first inning and Boston added on with a bomb by Hanley Ramirez in the fourth. Aaron Hill added another run in the fourth with an RBI single. “Big Papi” struck again, this time in the eighth, with a sacrifice fly to make Boston’s lead 4-0.

Price, who had been cruising up until the 8th, started the inning by giving up a solo shot to Mike Zunino. Three straight singles by Leonys Martin, Luis Sardinas and Guillermo Heredia (first of his career) scored another run to cut the lead to 4-2 and chase Price from the game.

Lefty specialist Fernando Abad was sent in to face Robinson Cano and Cano, who only had one hit off of Abad prior to this at-bat, hit a go-ahead three-run bomb to give Seattle a 5-4 lead.

Edwin Diaz, who had been named the closer the night before by Scott Servais after bad outings from Steve Cishek, came in and walked one but struck out three Boston hitters to earn his first career save and give Seattle the 5-4 win.

Game Two Notes:

Aug 2, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc (35) throws against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Player of the game: Just because it was his first save and it was a one-run game, it’s Edwin Diaz. Cano was huge but Diaz striking out three to slam the door was awesome.

Man the crowd loved seeing Diaz enter and boy does he have electric stuff. Seattle may have found its closer of the future.

Mike Zunino has been great since his call up. He’s a threat to hit the ball out of the park in almost any at bat.

That’s why Robbie makes the big bucks. Clutch homers like that.

Wade LeBlanc with another solid outing. He’s been a huge pick up.

Heredia got his first hit and RBI in the eighth. Good for him, he could be a big part of the team’s future.

Game Three:

Hisashi Iwakuma paved the way for the Mariners’ victory in the third game of the series and had some run support thanks to the long ball.

Iwakuma threw 7 and 1/3 scoreless innings and he gave up just five hits while striking out seven and walking none. He has been very solid and consistent of late.

Rick Porcello pitched well for Boston, but gave up three solo home runs. Nelson Cruz hit one on the second, Mike Zunino hit one in the sixth, and Adam Lind hit one in the seventh. The only other hit Seattle got was a Mike Zunino single.

Boston made the game interesting against newly named closer, Edwin Diaz. The inning started with a strikeout of David Ortiz, but Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a single to right, Aaron Hill was then hit by a pitch, and then both advanced after a wild pitch. Travis Shaw grounded out but Bradley Jr. scored on the play, and then a great play by Cano in the shift in shallow right field ended the game and the Mariners won 3-1.

Game Three Notes:

Aug 3, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) walks in the dugout after being relieved during the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Boston, 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Player of the game: It’s Hisashi Iwakuma. He was poised and dominant. He set the tone and pitched one of his best games this season.

Zunino homering in back-to-back games is great to see. Seems like he’s taken the starting gig from Chris Iannetta for good.

Diaz striking out David Ortiz on three straight pitches made me giddy with excitement, even if the rest of the inning was a little shaky.

Game Four:

An 11th inning single by Brock Holt salvaged a split for Boston and prevented the Mariners from taking the series.

Newly-acquired Ariel Miranda got the start in his Mariners debut and pitched six innings of two-run ball and struck out five. He gave up a solo shot to Travis Shaw in the second and Mookie Betts drove in a run with a double in the fifth.

Drew Pomeranz started for Boston and He also allowed two runs in six innings. Shawn O’Malley got his first home run of the year in the sixth and Dae-Ho Lee drove in Guillermo Heredia to tie it at 2-2.

The game then went into a battle of the bullpens and Boston got five scoreless innings from theirs, while Cody Martin gave up a few hits, including an RBI single by Brock Holt which gave the Red Sox the 3-2 victory in the series finale.

Game Four Notes:

There was a situation where Mike Zunino got a lead off walk in the 11th and Luis Sardinas came in to pinch run and Leonys Martin came up next and bunted Sardinas over to make it one out with a runner at second base. I understand having him bunt there, but honestly Martin has a much better shot to win the game there than the man who came up next, Shawn O’Malley. I think you let Martin swing the bat there.

Craig Kimbrel is ridiculous. A high-90s fastball with that slider? Good lord.

Seattle’s bullpen was great aside from the 11th. They really could have used the win here though. Splitting series the rest of the way won’t work if they want to end the playoff drought. This team could have won six straight games, honestly.

Other Notes:

Steve Cishek went on the DL with a torn labrum in his hip. This cements Diaz as the closer but a healthy Cishek down the stretch would be great when facing tough right handed hitters. Here’s to a speedy recovery.

I’ll never forget watching the 2004 ALCS and seeing the show “Big Papi” put on to lead Boston past the Yankees. It’ll be weird not having him play next year.

The pitching was great this series. Not much to complain about there.

Frank Nickerson was my former English teacher, pitching coach, and I had the honor of coaching alongside him this past spring at my old high school, Kamiak High School in Mukilteo. He passed away last month after a long fight with cancer. He was from Boston and was a die-hard Sox fan and I’m sure he was up in heaven wanting a sweep so he could laugh at me over the Mariners’ incompetence once again.

Unfortunately, as many of you may have heard over the news, three Kamiak grads from 2015 were shot and killed and another one was shot and is in the hospital recovering after a former classmate raided the party with a rifle. One of the people we lost was Jake Long. He was a sophomore when I graduated and he was the only sophomore to make the varsity baseball team my senior year. He was a very laid-back guy who loved to talk about anything and everything and always put others first.

Next: O'Malley's Big Game Not Enough Against Boston

Kamiak’s rival is Jackson High School from Mill Creek and one of our games was extremely close until Jake hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth. I got the save in the 7th. That will always be one of my favorite moments from high school and I know he and the other victims will be deeply missed by the Mukilteo community.