Mike Leake is going to be a legend in this fucking town if he keeps this up!
Three starts, three games where he’s at least pitched into the sixth inning, while giving up 3 runs or less. Yesterday, it was a 5.2 inning affair, with just the 1 run given up on 5 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. He’s 3-0 with the Mariners, with a 2.41 ERA! I don’t know when the other shoe is gonna drop, but I hope to Christ I never have to see that shoe ever again. What’s that shoe’s deal anyway? Fuck that shoe! Stop dropping all over the place!
This was a fun one, no doubt about it. Zunino homered to kick off the scoring in the fifth, and a few batters later Segura hit a 2-run home run to make it 3-0. The Rangers got one back in the bottom of the sixth, just in time for all hell to break loose in the top of the seventh.
Segura walked and Haniger doubled to put runners on second & third. Cano was called out on a check swing by the home plate umpire, and after Cano – seemingly calm and rationally – asked why he didn’t check down with the third base umpire, he was ejected from the game. It was apparently his first career ejection, which sounds kind of amazing, 13 years in. With a lefty on the mound, Cruz was intentionally walked to load the bases for Seager, who worked a solid count and hit a good pitch the other way for a 2-run single. Cruz ended up hustling into third when their third baseman was caught off the bag, then a bad throw allowed Cruz to rumble home and Seager to slide into third. Valencia then hit a sac fly to score Seager, and Zunino concluded the scoring that inning with another solo blast, this time the opposite way. Just like that, 3-1 turned into 8-1, and the rest was academic.
I keep saying it, and he keeps doing it: Mitch Haniger is on a ROLL! Two more hits, including that double; he is CRUSHING the month of September. His line, through 12 games:
- .451/.451/.745/1.196, with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 9 runs, and 8 RBI
If you tack on the last game in August for shits n’ gigs, his line looks like this:
- .472/.472/.836/1.308, with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers, 11 runs, and 11 RBI
This is fun! For context, his season numbers have climbed back up to this:
- .282/.359/.485/.844, with 21 doubles, 2 triples, 12 homers, 50 runs, and 41 RBI
Oh man, I gotta tell you, that’s not bad. Not bad at all, considering he missed about half the season to various injuries. I don’t want to give him that out, because if he comes back next year and misses another half season to injuries, then he’s labelled Injury Prone and his numbers don’t mean jack shit; but I will say I’m cautiously optimistic for his future.
While we’re on this train of thought regarding the youth movement on this team, I’d like to call out Mike Zunino for really turning his season around and (hopefully) his career as well! He’s hit career highs in doubles and homers this season, with 22 and 23 respectively. More importantly, his slash line is almost EXACTLY where I’ve always said I wanted it to be: .246/.327/.507/.834. With his throwing arm, his pitch framing, his blocking ability, and his rapport with the pitching staff, I will take those numbers all day every day! Now if he can just manage to not completely fall apart these last two weeks, we’re really talking about a season you can be proud of, and certainly something to build upon going forward.
I don’t want to spend all day going up and down the lineup, but I’ll toss in one more kudos to Kyle Seager. That at bat in the seventh inning was truly remarkable. Cano had just been thrown out, Cruz had just been intentionally walked, so I’m sure his emotions were all over the place. He had this hot-head umpire behind him, and a difficult-looking lefty on the mound (who actually legitimately struck Cano out on that check swing; the issue there is – why not just check with the third base ump; it takes two seconds). Seager got ahead in the count right away, took a vicious crack at an inside fastball that he pulled foul, the count worked its way full, and then the single the other way. It wasn’t just a lucky swing, where a guy flails at something out of the zone and it accidentally hits the end of the bat and bloops into the outfield; this was a determined strategy and a purposed swing to line drive that ball the opposite way to bring in a couple of runs! Seager is notorious for pulling the ball – it’s where he generates the overwhelming majority of his power – and he has one of the more pronounced defensive shifts to prove it. The Rangers weren’t shifting on this play, with the bases loaded, but he still managed to hit it over the short stop’s glove on a line. I mean, this is like something you’d see out of Ichiro in his prime!
2017 might go down as a bit of a disappointing year for fans when they think about Kyle Seager, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s legitimately gotten better each and every season of his career. So, to hold steady, or take a step back in a couple areas, it’s tough to swallow. But, I’ve noticed this year more than any year before, a determined effort by Seager to hit more balls the other way. To be a more complete hitter, as they say. I don’t think he’ll ever have really tremendous power the opposite way – particularly with how Safeco is constructed, it’s REALLY hard for lefties to hit them out over the left field fence – but a Kyle Seager who can spray balls to all fields is a dangerous weapon. Over time, I don’t think it’s crazy to think he could hit more doubles the other way, off the Safeco manual scoreboard and the like.
I dunno. I’m just happy for him, I guess. That must take just a ton of work to get better at when you’re at the Major League level.
If you haven’t heard it already, let me be the first to say Happy Felix Day!