On the day when the Mariners DFA’d Leonys Martin for the second time this season, this time to call up David Phelps from the DL, Robinson Cano pulled up gimpy on a double with hamstring tightness (will have an MRI in New York today) and Guillermo Heredia had his wrist smashed in with a fastball (will have x-rays in New York today). Both are considered Day-To-Day, of course pending their diagnostic exams.
The only good thing to come out of yesterday was the Mariners winning another series. That brings them up to 4-2 on the road trip and if they can duplicate that next week, sign me up!
Erasmo Ramirez out-pitched R.A. Dickey. I know, I’m as shocked as you are! It didn’t look like that was going to be the case early, as Erasmo got into some first inning trouble (where have I seen that before? Oh, that’s right, from every single other Mariners starter save Paxton) (no, really, someone, please save Paxton!!!). He gave up a leadoff infield single, thanks to the ball hitting off of his glove that he feebly tried to field. Segura was in position to make the out, which sets us up for the rest of the inning. The next hitter singled to put runners on first & third, then a double scored the guy from third as the runner from first over-ran the bag at second and had to go back and touch it before moving on. Erasmo got a grounder back to himself for the first out of the inning, which probably should’ve been the second out of the inning. As such, the subsequent sac fly made the game 2-0 when it should’ve been 1-0 (or, maybe even 0-0, if what’s his name had the same trouble rounding second in this hypothetical situation).
Self-inflicted wounds. Knowing where your defense is set up and letting your defense do its job. This is all part of the over-arching problem with this team: too many fucking brain farts!
Anyway, the M’s got it going in the second, with a Heredia sac fly and an Erasmo Ramirez RBI single down the right field line. That wouldn’t be the only time Erasmo got a hit, either.
Those first inning runs wouldn’t be it for Erasmo either, as he gave up another run in the bottom of the second, but then he settled down splendidly. He gave up all of 2 base runners over the next four innings to lock down the quality start. After throwing a bunch of pitches the first couple innings, he left the game having only thrown 90; indeed, he was all set to come in for the seventh inning (a thought so foreign-sounding to this club, I didn’t think it was actually allowed in the game of baseball anymore), but the offense in the top of the seventh managed to put two runners on with two outs. Rather than give Erasmo his fourth at-bat (remember, he was 2 for 3 on the day with an RBI), Servais opted to let Nelson Cruz pinch hit. He would dribble a grounder to the pitcher for the final out of the inning.
Still, helluva game for Erasmo! I don’t want to alarm anyone (are you sitting down for this?), but Erasmo Ramirez has three quality starts in his last three appearances. I KNOW, RIGHT?! That’s clinically insane. I can unequivocally say that Erasmo Ramirez is the best healthy starter on this team right now. The odds of me ever saying that EVER was about as remote as you can imagine, but there we have it.
Also, not for nothing, but isn’t it sad that I’m sitting here jerking myself off over a guy with three straight 6-inning starts? I mean, look at what this pitching staff has reduced all of us to!
I assume you’re sitting there jerking yourselves off over this too, right?
In the bottom of the seventh, it looked like the decision to pinch hit for the pitcher was gonna backfire like a motherfucker, as the bullpen really didn’t have a lot going on. Scrabble gave up an infield single, then his God-awful pickoff move allowed him to go to third base. He walked the next batter before getting a strikeout and getting pulled from the game. Servais opted to go to David Phelps, which seemed a bit rash, having this situation be his first appearance coming off of the DL, but with Zych gone beggars can’t be choosers.
At this point, the Mariners had long ago re-taken the lead at 4-3, thanks to some clutch hitting in the third inning. But, since we failed to drive the final nail into Dickey’s coffin at the time, the game was still 4-3 when Phelps came in. He ended up giving up a single to tie the game at 4, then a fielder’s choice gave the Braves a 5-4 lead. At that point, with two innings to go, I was prepared for the worst.
Playoff teams CAN’T lose two of three to the lowly Braves; they just can’t! Thankfully, the lineup answered the call. Jean Segura busted out of a slump with a leadoff double. Yonder Alonso followed that with a walk and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Then, Taylor Motter – hitting for Robbie, who left the game back in the third – dumped a 2-RBI single to left-center to allow the M’s to re-take the lead at 6-5. Danny Valencia, getting the start in right field and batting cleanup, hit a single, followed by Kyle Seager’s mammoth 3-run home run to center to finally put this one to bed.
Nick Vincent started the eighth and got himself into a bit of a jam, and almost got himself out of it. But, after giving up an RBI single with two outs, Edwin Diaz was called in for the 4-out save. He would only need 12 pitches (11 strikes) to get the four outs (3 strikeouts) for his 29th save on the season (16 since the All Star Break).
So, yeah, that was huge. Just as huge was the fact that the Twins and Angels both lost (the Royals won, however). So, we’ve got the Twins still in the second Wild Card spot, the Angels and Royals a half game back, and the Mariners a full game back (with the Rangers two games back, and everyone else too far away to matter).
Today is another much-needed off-day (at this point in the season, they’re ALL “much-needed”). We’ll also probably hear about Robbie’s hamstring and Guillermo’s wrist. You have to figure more moves are going to be made (we’ll need another infielder if Cano is bound for the DL; the outfield is probably okay considering Valencia can play in right, so he can at least hold the team over for another week until September rolls around).
The first half of this road trip has been a huge boon for the Mariners, but the second half could still make or break it. If the Mariners fall apart over the next six games – all against Wild Card opponents – it could get pretty dicey.
Please, dear God, don’t let Cano’s injury be too serious.