Well, Game 21 was about as bad as it gets, with the 19-9 defeat, and with Felix and Haniger hitting the DL with potential lengthy-from-which-to-recover injuries to their shoulder and oblique respectively, but Game 22 was nearly the exact opposite! Actually, I don’t know if that’s the case; I would assume the exact opposite would entail quality reinforcements RETURNING from injury, but I digress. In Game 22, the Mariners shut out those very same Tigers 8-0. A day after giving up 19 runs on 24 hits, the Mariners gave up 0 runs on 4 hits. Progress!
Before the game, a grip of moves were made. As noted, Felix and Haniger are on the DL. In Felix’s place, Chase De Jong was called back up (which you can do this close to sending him down because there is the injury emergency) and he will get the start in place of our ace this Saturday at home against the Rangers. YUP, you read that right: 23 year old Chase De Jong, ostensibly making the jump from AA (he has all of 3 appearances at the AAA level), whose Major League career consists of the 2 relief appearances you know and love this season in a Mariners uniform, will be making his first-ever start in the Bigs, against a hard-hitting divisional rival, in place of our #1 pitcher and potential future Hall of Famer, King Felix. You got it! No pressure or anything!
In place of Haniger, the Mariners called up Ben Gamel, who went 0-4 but walked in a run in his start last night. You figure when Seager returns from his hip issue, Gamel will likely share time with Heredia and Motter in the corners, but I think he’s solidly behind both of those guys for the moment and will have to work really hard (and have a lot of success) to crack the lineup on a regular basis.
For what it’s worth, in 18 games with Tacoma this year, Gamel is hitting .288/.419/.390. Obviously, the power is lacking, but you like that he can take a walk. Indeed, he’s walked more than he’s struck out this year, so consider his Z C’d.
The Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich of Game 21 – Chris Heston and Evan Marshall (who gave up a combined 12 runs in 4 innings of relief) – had their asses sent back down to Tacoma to think about what they’ve done. In their place, Dillon Overton and Casey Fien have returned, so I guess we call that a net even? Overton, you may recall, is the lefty whose wife gave birth during the first week of the season, resulting in his absence, which led to De Jong gagging away that 13th inning in Houston as the team’s last available reliever of the night. Overton eventually returned to the Mariners, had one good game, and one terrible game, and was sent down to Tacoma. While in Tacoma, Overton had one great 3 inning relief appearance and one fucking awful sub-3 inning start. So, yay? Fien, you may recall, was with the club out of Spring Training, has appeared in 5 games, and gave up runs in 3 of them (including the 0-inning appearance in that Anaheim game where we blew the 6-run lead in the 9th, with him giving up 4 of those runs). In Tacoma, Fien has appeared in 4 games and has given up 1 run, so yay.
Thankfully, we weren’t subjected to either of them last night, though you’d think with an 8-run lead, that’s just the sort of soft landing you’d like to give to a couple of recent call-ups whose confidence may be a little wavering.
James Paxton did the heavy lifting in this one, in case it wasn’t abundantly obvious by just looking at the starters we have left in this rotation. 7 shutout innings, making this his FOURTH appearance giving up 0 runs out of five, which is mind boggling! Oh yeah: 4 hits, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts, on just 103 pitches. He is just dripping with Cy Young potential this year!
32.1 innings, 39 strikeouts, 6 walks, 21 hits, and 5 runs for a 1.39 ERA.
Nick Vincent followed, with his sixth consecutive hitless & scoreless appearance. I just have to marvel at this guy, whose fastball isn’t anything special, but he goes out there, gets swinging strikes, keeps guys off balance, and gets the job done! Aside from Scrabble, he’s been this team’s best reliever, and who would’ve put money down on THAT after he gave up 3 runs and 6 hits in his first three games? Especially after Spring Training, where he looked like decomposing diaper shits!
And, Edwin Diaz came out for the 9th, because the Mariners are a fucking embarrassment and haven’t managed enough save situations to give him enough work in the early going. Only his 7th appearance in 22 games! I don’t want the kid’s arm to fall off or anything, but this team needs to start winning a bunch so he can get in there more often and do his thing!
The hitters really came to play in this one (just like they did the night before, when again, they scored NINE FUCKING RUNS AND LOST BY TEN), with everyone sans Gamel getting at least one hit (and, as I noted earlier, Gamel had that bases loaded walk). Segura had 3 hits, including a double, with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Heredia, in the 2-hole in place of Haniger, had 2 hits, including a 2-run homer. Cano had a double; Cruz had 2 hits, including a 2-run homer. Motter and Valencia each had 2 hits, including a double apiece; Zunino had a hit and a run scored; and Dyson had 2 hits, a run scored, and 2 stolen bases. All around fantastic job for an offense that’s really starting to come together. Once we’re able to get Seager going, watch out!
Getaway day in Detroit today with a 10am start (Pacific time), so there won’t be any Mariners to get in the way of everyone watching the first round of the NFL draft tonight. Iwakuma vs. Verlander which strikes me as … worrisome. Please just figure out a fucking way to win, huh?