Tasked with the second inexperienced starter in two days, the Seattle Mariners had to put on their big boy pants to beat the Angels last night. So, it was really a perfect time for the power in the bats to completely disappear.
After digging a hole early, Cody Martin somewhat settled down to go 4.1 innings while giving up only 2 runs. Given our placement in the standings and how important all of these games are, combined with the fact that the Mariners just took the lead in the top of the 4th to go up 4-2, Scott Servais wasn’t taking any chances. It was the prudent play.
The bullpen rebounded in a big way over the previous night. Storen went 1.1 scoreless, Nuno got the final out of the 6th, Caminero made it through a scoreless 7th, and Wilhelmsen did the same in the 8th. Perfect. Bring on the Sugar!
Who almost fucking blew it.
ARE YOU FLIPPING KIDDING ME???
A single and a wild pitch put the leadoff batter in scoring position. For the most part, like the night prior, the Angels hitters were cheating, going up there looking fastball all the way and swinging accordingly. That’s what happened with the first batter. So, Diaz turned to his slider, and almost exclusively his slider, the rest of the way. I didn’t understand at first, as the next batter whiffed twice at it before laying off the next two balls outside, before putting the final slider into centerfield to make the game 4-3. After the game, I discovered he’d lost confidence in his fastball command, but either way, it was SCARY for a while there!
Diaz got a strikeout from an overly-aggressive Kole Calhoun, but then Trout singled and advanced to second on the throw as Leonys Martin tried to cut down the runner going to third. With two runners in scoring position, and only one out in the inning, Diaz intentionally walked Albert Pujols to load ’em up. From there, he got another strikeout before running into the final batter of the night, who hit a hard ground ball towards the bag that Seager dove on. He was able to throw out the final runner by a half step to save the game, in what has to be the best defensive play made by a Mariners fielder all year. Hell, it might be the play of the decade, given the circumstances (but, my memory ain’t what it used to be).
Just an unbelievable sense of relief after that. We wrap up the 4-game series tonight, with Iwakuma on the mound. Let’s do this thing!