Yesterday, I threw up a bonus post on the majesty that is Dae-ho Lee and how he seems to have the perfect sixth sense about knowing when the Mariners need an extra special offensive bump, and then giving them said bump. Then, later that same afternoon, in pinch hit duty for Lind (who, again, aside from a meaningless single in the bottom of the third, was absolute dogshit at the plate), the Herculean Korean stepped into a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the 10th inning with a chance to BLOW my fucking MIND!
Alas, it wasn’t to be. Was he overpowered by a middling right-handed reliever? Or, did his clairvoyance show him a different path?
Chris Iannetta, leading off the bottom of the 11th, was your man, busting a home run ball out to right center. Considering the circumstances, I’m sure the Rays wanted this one as badly as can be, to avoid the sweep, to right the ship, to prove that their hard work in even getting to that point wasn’t in vain. I’ll admit, I’m as high as can be on the Mariners so far in 2016, but the way things were going, I didn’t think we had a chance in Hell of winning that game. Kudos to Iannetta, as he rightly deserves being singled out.
I think the real story, though, is what the bullpen was able to accomplish. Steve Cishek was unavailable, as he appeared in 6 games in 9 days between May 2nd and May 10th, including a 2-inning appearance on the 7th, and a 4-out save on the 10th. Likewise, Joel Peralta has also been seriously over-worked and was also unavailable. Or, in other words, the Mariners were unable to use their two best relievers in a game that would go 11 innings.
In a game where Taijuan Walker was CRUISING through five, before totally falling apart in the sixth, walking three batters, giving up a grand slam to fully gag away our 4-0 lead, and ultimately being unable to get out of the inning. The likes of Mike Montgomery (2.1), Nick Vincent (1), Vidal Nuno (0.1), and Steve Johnson (1.2) had to go the final 5.1 innings while only giving up a single run. Granted, it was Nick Vincent giving up the solo homer in the 9th to blow the save opportunity, but all things considered, this game could’ve gone sideways nine ways from Sunday, and yet the guys were able to hold the fort until the cavalry came riding in.
Particular propers go to Steve Johnson, who got the first win of his
Major League Seattle Mariners career by polishing off the final five outs of the game. At no point whatsoever was it pretty; at one point in the 10th, with two of Nuno’s runners on base, Johnson walked the bases loaded and it looked like he couldn’t get his pitches to do ANYTHING that he wanted. But, he forced a foul out to third before getting a groundout to short to keep it tied. Then, again in the 11th, he let two runners on and the Mariners had Mayckol Guaipe (the final available reliever) warming up in the ‘pen. If Johnson didn’t do what he did – which was induce the last two batters to fly out – Guaipe would’ve come in and finished the job by, I’m sure, letting the Rays score four runs to put the game out of reach.
I’ve seen parts of two seasons now out of Mayckol Guaipe and I’ve yet to see ANYTHING out of this guy. Whatever he’s got in AAA does not translate to the Majors whatsoever. Not that I’m any more confident in Steve Johnson’s abilities – he of the 89mph fastball and the 63mph curveball and THAT’S IT – but I will say that Guaipe needs to be the first guy sent down to Tacoma when Benoit returns. Guaipe has 25 career Major League appearances, and he’s been scored upon in a whopping 15 of them! That’s not even counting however many inherited runners he’s allowed to score! Guaipe is a fucking loser, and that’s all there needs to be said about that.
Steve Johnson might also be a fucking loser, but yesterday he was a winner, and in his career that’s infinity more wins than Guaipe has.
Getting away from that unpleasantness, I will say that today’s off-day couldn’t come soon enough. With the bullpen as taxed as it is, giving everyone a day to rest will replenish everything for an important series against the Angels this weekend. Practically everyone is injured in Anaheim, which means we’re catching them at the right time, which means we need to continue their downward spiral and maintain our momentum.
Also, not for nothing, but Chris Archer is yet another Ace that the Mariners have toppled this year. Five innings, four earned runs, and damn near took him down in the bottom of the first, with three of those runs. This offense might not be perfect, but it’s light years from where the Mariners were even last year, where they were dominated by elite pitchers on the reg.