Mariners Tidbit 26: Happy Felix Day Indeed!

I’ve been to some big/odd/random professional baseball games in my day.  My very first game ever was in 1996 against the California Angels, on April 15th.  The Mariners were down 9-1 in the top of the fourth inning and ended up coming back to win 11-10; at the time, it was the greatest Mariners comeback in franchise history.  A-Rod hit a homer out of the 9-hole, Norm Charlton pitched 2 innings to get the win.  It was an amazing game, just me and my dad (I think, I was 15 at the time, so who knows how good my memory is).

The most important game I ever went to was on September 23, 1997, against the Anaheim Angels.  The Mariners jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to an A-Rod single and a Jay Buhner 3-run bomb.  Randy Johnson was on the mound and would give up two more runs – three in total – over 8 innings.  In the ninth, Heathcliff Slocumb gave up a leadoff single as the Mariners clung to their 4-3 lead, then got a fly ball out and struck out the next two guys to lock down the save.  What made this game different is that it was the game that officially locked the Mariners in as A.L. West Champions.  Randy’s record went to 19-4 and we were going back to the playoffs for the second time (in franchise history) in three years.

In Cheney Stadium, in early August, 1998, I saw the first start for Freddy Garcia in a Rainiers uniform.  I was somehow graced with seats right behind the catcher thanks to a family member, and we were amazed at the kid as he spun 7 innings of 1-run gold.  The trading of Randy Johnson was universally panned (as it should have been), but no one could deny the Mariners got some talented prospects in return.

I also saw Ken Cloude’s first start in a Mariners uniform (August 9, 1997).  Now, you may be wondering why this is such a big deal; well, I’ll tell you.  It was a 5-2 defeat to James Baldwin and the Chicago White Sox, dropping the Mariners to merely 15-games over .500 (GOD, those were the days).  Ken Cloude was a prospect from the minors we were all hoping would settle down the back-end of the rotation (when guys like Bob Wolcott, Scott Sanders, and Dennis Martinez were failing terribly).  In the end, Cloude didn’t add up to much, and his Major League career was very short lived.

But, on August 9, 1997, he got the closest I’ve ever seen to a perfect game/no hitter (IN PERSON) in my entire life.  Ever since I first got into baseball – and specifically getting into keeping score while at a baseball game – it’s been my dream to one day keep score of a no hitter by a Mariners pitcher.  Oddly enough, the closest I’ve ever gotten in person was at a Rainiers game, as Derek Lowe (yeah, THAT Derek Lowe) pitched a no hitter into the 8th inning (but that’s neither here nor there).  Cloude ended up perfect through 5 innings (with the Mariners clinging to a 1-0 lead at the time).  He gave up a walk in the 6th, but still had a no hitter going into the 7th.  It’s unfortunate the Mariners couldn’t play add-on in this situation, as he gave up a single/walk/single to lead off the 7th.  Paul Spoljaric came in and gave up all three of Cloude’s runs that he inherited.  We went on to pull to within 3-2, but for some reason Lou left Bobby Ayala in there for 2.1 innings.  He was actually solid until the 9th, when he gave up a 2-run homer to seal it.

So, Ken Cloude is my high-water mark of pitching perfection.  Obviously, I’ve seen better-pitched games (any number of Randy Johnson and Felix Hernandez games will attest to that).  But, no one is touching Cloude for the 18 outs he got before giving up a hit.

Last night, I thought Felix might’ve had a shot.  To be fair, I ALWAYS think Felix has a shot at perfection, because Felix is perfect in every way.  But, as soon as he struck out the side in the top of the first without much fuss, I knew we were on to something.  He was perfect through 14 batters, until Trevor Plouffe knocked a solid single into right field.  So, the dream continues.  No perfect scorecard for me, but I’ll keep trying.

Doesn’t mean the game wasn’t a rousing success!  How about this:  both pitchers went the distance!  When was the last time we’ve seen that?  Phil Hughes was solid, but obviously not good enough as he gave up a monster bomb to Nelson Cruz in the second, and the first extra base hit of the year to LoMo in the form of a solo homer in the fifth.  The first homer would be all Felix needed, as he got the 9-inning shutout.  He was dynamic.  We’ve seen stuff like this from him before, but it seems to be so rare when he’s this economical.  He ended up with 102 pitches total.

A sight for sore eyes, I’ll say that much.  The day started out on kind of a bummer with Iwakuma going on the DL.  We’ll have to wait to see if he’s able to turn his career around; for the record, I STRONGLY doubt he’s had this issue with his trap muscle dating back to late last season.  But, if he did, and this is what’s caused the majority of his problems, then I say Get Well Soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to be day-dreaming of this Felix start for the rest of the weekend.

The Mariners Own A Brand New, Mint Condition 15-Game Losing Streak

UPDATE – Not Quitting Day Job:  This Guy!  Good lord was that a drubbing.  Hello 16-game losing streak + counting …

The last time the Seattle Mariners won a baseball game was July 5th.  It is now July 25th as they start a 3-game series in Yankee Stadium.

I just figured I’d bang this post real quick and shove it out of bed for a couple reasons:  first, who enjoys thinking about how much the Mariners suck?  I know I don’t.  For the record, 15 consecutive losses is the most consecutive losses the Mariners have ever had.  Now I’m REALLY glad I took that week off from thinking about and talking about the Mariners.

Secondly, this week – as early as today – we’re going to be talking about the Seahawks and nothing but the Seahawks.  What with the CBA being agreed upon, we’re looking at teams being able to sign their own players starting at noon; followed by teams being able to sign anyone starting tomorrow.  The Seahawks need about 95 people to fill out their roster, so suffice it to say this week should be the most fun we’ve had in Seattle in quite some time.

As for the Mariners, it looks like this:

  • Vargas vs. The Chief
  • Fister vs. Sabathia
  • Felix vs. Hughes

Here’s a hint as to how this series is going to go:  Fister will have zero runs of support and we will get killed in that game.  I’m going to say that Felix just destroys the Yankees and we find a way to beat Hughes 2-1.  And I’m going to predict that TONIGHT, in a 4-3 contest, Jason Vargas breaks the 15-game losing streak!  Put your money down now, folks, because it’s going to be a glorious night in the Bronx!

By the way, if the M’s can somehow find a way to win 2 of 3 in New York, my fortune-telling days may just be starting.  I’m right-on about the Texas sweep, and for 2-7 to happen on this road trip, 2-1 needs to happen in this series.  Not impossible.  Of course, for my prophecy to REALLY come true, we’ll have to subsequently be swept by the Rays.  That might be tough since we’re scheduled to miss their two best starters …

A Paragraph With The Mariners – 74

Look for Cliff Lee Rumors to start ramping up. Also, Bedard was supposed to start today, but SETBACK! In the meantime, there are still games to be played. And, to be honest with you, the bullpen can sit there and take a healthy shit all over the other three games, but I wish they’d stay away from Cliff Lee and I REALLY wish they’d quit fucking up Felix’s quality starts. Alas, Felix has been hit hardest by a shitty, melt-downy bullpen this year and it’s fucking pissing me off. Yeah yeah, I’m sure the bullpen itself is/are pissed off too, but you know what? Fuck that. Do your fucking jobs if you’re so fucking pissed off. Or shit, blow a Rowland-Smith game. But leave Felix out of your shit! The man’s about THIS close to ripping off four Cy Youngs in a row, but to do that you need national media attention and for that you need more than a shiny ERA and some even shinier sabermetric bullshit. You need wins. Why is Phil Hughes in the All Star Game? Because he’s got 10 wins already. The Mariners just THUMPED his ass, yet because he started the season 10-1, he’s in there. Yeah, Felix had kind of a slow start to the year – kind of a bad May to boot – but he’s as on it as anyone in the league since the beginning of June. So bullpen! Quit fuckin’ around!

A Paragraph With The Mariners – 68

If your goal was to watch one and only one Mariners game this year on television and you’ve yet to fill your quota, make TONIGHT your Mariners Game To See. 4:05pm PDT. The Mariners are in New York to play the Yankees. The odds are heavily favoring this being Cliff Lee’s Last Start (with the Mariners), and I don’t think you’ll find a better pitcher’s duel on the planet. Going for the Yanks is Phil Hughes, he of the 10-1 record and the 3.17 ERA. But, that’s not very important, because it doesn’t necessarily take a winning record or a low ERA to pound the Mariners into submission (see: Sunday’s game at Milwaukee). What’s important is how Cliff Lee does. It’s too bad ESPN didn’t buy the rights to this game, because I think there are probably a dozen teams who’d be interested in seeing how Lee does in the bright lights and bushy tails of The Bronx. Wouldn’t count on the Yankees necessarily being buyers in this Cliff Lee Market, but then again you never know. They might want to put the cock-block on the Red Sox or Twins … either way, if you give a shit about baseball at all, or the Mariners specifically, look for tonight’s game to be a good one. I’m gonna try to figure out a way to catch some of this, even though it’s happening right as I’m at the gym … fuck me.