erik lundegaard

Sunday April 02, 2023

M's Manage 3 Hits in 40-Degree Temps, Lose Quickly

The last Mariners game I went to was Game 3 of the 2022 ALDS, an 18-inning affair against Houston that the M's lost 1-0. It took 6 hours and 22 minutes and ended their season.

Last night I went to my first Mariners game of the nascent 2023 season, a 9-inning affair against Cleveland that the M's lost 2-0. It took 2 hours and 5 minutes. Thank you, pitch timer. If I'm going to see my team get shut out in low 40s temps, I'll take the speedy variety.

Initially, the game felt like it was going to be zippy in action as well as gametime. In the top of the 1st, the Guardians' best player, Jose Ramirez, lined a two-out single to right and then promptly stole second against the Mariners' backup catcher Tom Murphy. In the bottom of the 1st, the Mariners' best player, Julio Rodriguez, led off with a seeing-eye single to left and then promptly stole second against the Guardians' backup catcher.

Bigger bases, fewer throwovers: Gentlemen, start your engines! It's like Oprah: You get a stolen base, you get a stolen base, we all get a stolen base!

Except that was the last stolen base of the game. In the bottom of the 2nd, the M's new right fielder, Teoscar Hernanez, drew a one-out walk and promptly stole second. Well, he looked safe—from 300 level behind homeplate—but I guess they tapped his helmet before he arrived. He disputed, the M's didn't, that was that. And it was the last SB attempt of the game. Not that there were a lot of baserunners to give it a go. Half the game was three up/three down, and of the M's whopping three hits, one was Julio's seeing-eye single, one was Julio's bad hop/E6, and one was a one-out double to right in the 8th inning by Tommy La Stella off of the Guardians' beleaguered reliever James Karinchak.

I'd missed some of that drama in Game 1 Thursday night. Karinchak got called on a pitch-timer violation in the 8th inning of a 0-0 game, seemed rattled, and promptly walked leadoff hitter J.P. Crawford. Then with one out, he hit the M's new second baseman Kolten Wong with a pitch; then Ty France blasted a 3-run homerun. Last night, M's fans, awarer than myself, began taunting Karinchak by counting down the pitch clock before each pitch. That was fun. I forget if it began before or after La Stella's double, but for a second we suddenly seemed to have a chance. And with our 2022 heroes coming up! Alas: PH Cal Raleigh struck out (looking bad) for the second out, and then somehow Karinchak walked J.P. on four pitches—none of them close. Is he afraid of Crawford? That put the tying run on base for our best player, Julio, who promptly struck out on three pitches (looking bad). And that was our three hits: two dribblers from Julio and a ringing double from La Stella. (I hope we all do a Brando imitation every time he comes to the plate.)

That wasn't the worst part of the game, TBH. The worst part of the game occurred in our section, 327, when, in the late innings, as it cleared out from the cold and futility, a gang of drunk/high doofuses came and sat near us. Realizations hit you in stages. Oh, these guys aren't really fans. Oh, they're drunk and/or high. Oh, they're really, really stupid. One guy asked me who we were playing—it was the 8th inning at this point—and I pointed to the scoreboard. “Cleveland,” I said. “The Cleveland Guardians.” “Guardians?” he said, laughing through his nose, and peering at the scoreboard as if through a haze. That was our only interaction. The dude next to him, who looked like he could've been casted as an extra in “Romper Stomper,” then began shouting at the players. Bon mots like “Fuck you, ______!” If I were braver, or simply more foolish, I would've warned them against getting high. Not generally getting high, but, you know, who should probably not partake. Stupid people, for example. Those who can't afford the IQ drop pot brings; who become so stupid a kind of miasma of stupidity surrounds them and infects everyone else. This was that. For half an inning, I think I was more tuned into them than the game, or to my own conversation with my friend Jeff, before I shook loose and just tried to blot them out. Two T-Mobile ushers tried to handle them with not much success. Not fun.

Positive takeaways? Our starter, 6'6“ Logan Gilbert, looked great, going 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and one walk while striking out 7. He was sharp: boom boom boom. He only made one mistake—to Josh Naylor, who nailed it into the right-centerfield seats. The other Cleveland run came off Diego Castillo, another line-drive homerun, this time by Andres Giminez in the top of the 7th, after Giminez turned a nice DP on Julio in the bottom of the 6th.

We also got a good running catch from Teoscar. 

I arrived about 10 minutes before gametime and texted Jeff the goings on: ”The guy throwing out the first pitch is a many-time World Series winner w/the NY Yankees." Yes, Tino Martinez, back in Seattle. I get it, '95 and everything, and not his fault we traded him and Nellie for problem children Sterling and Russ—helping the Yankees pad their late-century dynasty. And if it had been Nellie I would've cheered loudly. Maybe because he came back to us as a free agent? Tino just feels Yankee to me, now and forever. But I have to admit, he looked good. He's aging well. For a Yankee.

The National Anthem was sung by grade school kids from Renton and was adorable. They should do that more often. 


Posted at 12:50 PM on Sunday April 02, 2023 in category Seattle Mariners  
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