Back-to-back sweeps for ya boys! 7 wins in 7 days! REFUSE TO LOSE MOTHERFUCKERS!!!
After taking care of business over the course of 4 days in Baltimore, the Mariners returned home to take care of business against the similarly underwhelming Kansas City Royals.
On Friday, we saw the first career complete game out of Marco Gonzales, who came JUST short of getting the shutout, but in the end won handily 4-1 (without the need for our Reliever of the Month of June (and April), Edwin Diaz).
We followed that up with a hearty 6-4 victory on Turn Ahead The Clock Night, where Felix battled a tight back to go 5 innings while giving up just the 3-run homer in the first. We promptly scored all of our runs in the first three innings of the game, and got mostly solid relief (aside from an unearned run allowed in the Nicasio 7th); Diaz ended up with his 31st save of the season in this one.
Then, on Sunday (featuring James Paxton pitching on his own bobblehead game), we wrapped up the season series with the Royals (winning 5 of 6) with a dominant outing by our ace, who went 8 innings of shutout ball, striking out 11 (while giving up just 2 hits and 2 walks). Diaz closed out the 1-0 victory for his 32nd save of the season, and the wins just keep on rolling for this charmed ballclub.
I was there on Saturday, sitting on the front edge of the King’s Court (section 146, row 29, seat 1). I went for the free hat (which doesn’t fit my giant head, so I’ll be giving it away; which is okay because I bought a fitted version of the “2027” hat anyway), I went for the free shirt (a matching maroon King’s Court tee, with sparkly silver lettering that rubbed off on my Husky hoodie), but more than anything I went for the futuristic King’s Court card that I’ve currently got hanging up in my home office. God damn do the Mariners know how to do promotions up right!
I was really nervous after that first inning. I’m usually good luck for King Felix when I go to his games. I’ve been to a bunch (back when the M’s were terrible – which was always – I’d hold out and try to ONLY go to games where he was starting) and I can’t remember any specific games where he’s looked bad (though I’m sure there must be one or two) while I’ve been in attendance. I was there on Opening Night when he looked like vintage Felix; I was there in that showdown against the Rays and Blake Snell, when he had his best game of the season (8 innings, 1 run, 7 strikeouts). I was there on his Supreme Court Night – the game after his perfecto – when the whole stadium was the King’s Court and he pitched into the 8th, giving up just 1 run. And, my very first King’s Court experience was earlier that same year, which was one of his very best performances in his career (and another game where he easily could’ve been perfect, if not for a few lucky hits), when he shut out the Rangers on 3 hits, 0 walks, with 12 strikeouts. I’ve yet to ever experience a more fun time at the ballpark, and I was at the game in 1997 when we clinched the division title.
Anyway, I feel bad when the King struggles, so I was happy to see him settle down. I hoped he could get through the 6th for the quality start, but apparently he was dealing with a tight back, so it’s commendable that he was able to get through five and get the W.
Sitting on the front edge of the King’s Court has its advantages. Primarily, you don’t have a bunch of signs in your face, so you can still see all the action when it gets down to 2 strikes. But, conversely, the people around me weren’t all that rowdy or into it, so it felt weird to keep throwing my arms up when we got to 2 strikes. I was fully prepared to be on my feet at the drop of a hat, but with no one else around me joining in, I mostly kept seated (that is, when I wasn’t being pestered every two minutes by the people in my row who kept wanting to get out in the middle of every fucking inning). Plus, it seemed like every time I started chanting for the strikeout, the dude at bat would get a hit, so clearly I was jinxing The King and presumed to keep quiet after the first (my plan worked like a charm, so who’s the crazy person now?).
I’d anticipated being sick and tired of being surrounded by idiots for Sunday’s Paxton Bobblehead game, so I planned ahead: I bought a seat in section 339, in the very last row, in the very center of said row. When I purchased the ticket, there wasn’t another filled seat for many rows around me; that held firm when I went to the game on Sunday. I got there early, got my bobblehead, and settled in for what turned out to be a pleasant game. Unfortunately, for some reason I felt like shit. I didn’t drink the day before, yet I somehow felt super tired and hungover, with my ears still ringing (presumably from all the cheering the night before). So, I only lasted 3 innings before packing it in. In the end, the game only lasted maybe 2 hours, so I probably could’ve toughed it out had I known what was in store. Nevertheless, I doubt that’ll be the last time I see Paxton pitch.
I’m all set to go to the game tomorrow as well, so that’ll be 3 consecutive home games for me, for the first time since the Griffey Hall of Fame Weekend. Will there be Mariners fatigue? Not if 12 beers have anything to say about it!