You want the short answer? I knew Ariel Miranda was getting his first Major League start and I wanted like hell for him to do well. We’d just shipped off Wade Miley – who, in his first start with the Orioles, went 5 innings, giving up 4 runs in a loss – and I’d made that big to do about Good Riddance and all that jazz. This year has been such a shitshow with the pitching, I’m DESPERATE for any possibility that a new guy might help turn things around.
Also, not for nothing, but I realize we’re just starting to get into Looking Forward To Next Year mode – even if I’m being dragged there kicking and screaming – and I’d like to have some reasons for optimism. I NEED a good pitching staff, or else I get all wonky!
Well, Ariel Miranda acquitted himself just fine last night. 6 innings, 2 runs, spreading out 8 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts. He got himself into a little trouble here and there, but was able to pitch around it. I thought he hit his spots pretty well, for the most part. He seemed pretty fearless out there, and pretty natural at the same time. He might get sent right back down to Tacoma in a minute, what with Taijuan Walker’s return, but let’s be real here: no one expects this rotation to stay intact for the next two weeks, let alone the rest of the season. We will most definitely see Ariel Miranda again. And I hope we get a lot more of what we saw last night, because that’s a guy I can go to war with.
Unfortunately, as has been the case more and more of late, the hitting let us down last night. The Mariners should win every game they hold an opponent to 2 runs in regulation. But, it wasn’t to be. Robbie – after being our hero on Tuesday – totally shit the bed last night. Cruz wasn’t good for anything more than a couple of walks. Seager was 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position. Zunino was only good for a couple of walks (a lot of walks by Mariners hitters last night, which makes the end result particularly galling, as we’re NEVER this patient at the plate). The only middle-of-the-order hitter to do ANYTHING last night was Dae-ho Lee, with the RBI single in the 5th to tie the game. He’s so good at getting that runner in by knocking a single the other way; he’s NOT just a power guy! That’s what we love about Dae-ho so much!
The rest of the lineup wasn’t much better, to be fair. Leonys Martin is in a BIGTIME slump right now. Guillermo Heredia is NOT a leadoff hitter, and I wish Servais would stop doing that. Shawn O’Malley had a solo homer – and 3 hits on the day – but he’s also not a starting-calibre short stop, which was on full display in the top of the 11th, when his diving stab at a single through the infield cost the Mariners a run and ultimately the game. A competent defensive short stop at the very least is able to keep that ball in the infield, with a good chance of actually making the play and getting the out at first. This team seriously needs Ketel Marte back in the lineup. Because he’s leaps and bounds better than O’Malley defensively, and because we need to see if the kid has what it takes to be our everyday short stop next year and beyond.
I mean, seriously, who gets mono in this day and age?!
Short story long, I’ve gotta give it up for the bullpen last night. They really worked their asses off to keep that game tied as long as it was. I thought Miranda was pulled at exactly the right time: he made it through 6, and even though he’d only thrown 80 pitches, he was starting to get hit hard, and it’s better to preserve the kid’s confidence going forward than try to squeeze another inning out of him and giving up the lead in the process. I like Storen in that spot right now, I thought Nuno was in there the exact right amount, and I even agree with having Wilhelmsen in there for the 4 outs. No one was egregiously over-used, but with Diaz unavailable (having pitched in 4 days out of the last 5), you had to get a little extra somewhere. I started the 10th inning wondering just what in the hell the Mariners were thinking by not bringing Blake Parker up sooner – as it looked like he’d been kicking all ass in Tacoma – but by the end of the 10th, I was having visions of Joel Peralta, and understood it probably wasn’t the organization being prejudiced against guys named Blake. By the time we got to the 11th, and Cody Martin was the last man standing, you kinda knew time was growing short. I just hoped he wouldn’t IMMEDIATELY give up the go-ahead run, but maybe buy us an inning or two before falling apart.
Oh well, I guess. Can’t win ’em all, I suppose. We’ll get ’em next time and whatnot. The sun’ll come out tomorrow and whathaveyou.
Big Griffey Hall of Fame Weekend starts tonight. I’m going to all three games, so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say come Monday.