Wednesday August 10, 2022

Mariners Turn Ghostbusters on Yankees in Extras

Well, I never thought I'd see that again.

By which I mean a game that goes 13 innings because the two teams keep putting up goose eggs in extras. Every inning, each team essentially got a leadoff double and stranded them all. In two of those innings, the Yankees made baserunning blunders that erased their Rob Manfred-mandated ghost runner. You know the old “three up, three down” line? For the Yankees, it was “two up, three down.” Which ... yeah, I can't even.

I also never thought I'd see†that†again: my long-suffering Seattle Mariners manhandling the mighty New York Yankees like it was 1995. Or how about watching a true ace pitch for your side? That was fun. Welcome to Seattle, Luis Castillo. How about a packed stadium in which, whenever Yankee fans began their idiot “Let's-go-Yank-kees!” chant, we drown them out with “Let's-go-Marin-ers!” That was funner. That made me proud.

I've been tracking these 2022 Yanks for a while now, initially out of fear. By mid-June it felt like they couldn't lose: they were 49-16, 33 games over .500. That's a .753 winning percentage, which put them on pace to win 122, which would've shattered the 116-game mark the Mariners set in 2001. They'd lost just once that month. They were big, moneyed, and unstoppable. Then, suddenly, not. They lost a game here, a game there. They split a four-game series with Houston at the end of June. They split a two-game series with Pittsburgh at the beginning of July. They lost a three-game series to Cincinnati before the All-Star break. And since the All-Star break, they've gone 7-12, getting swept in two-game series by the Astros and Mets, and in a three-game series last weekend by St. Louis. They've been no-hit, one-hit, two-hit, and last night, after crushing the M's 9-4 in the opener, they managed just three hits in 13 innings: a single in the 1st, a single in the 4th, a single in the 8th.

They couldn't run the bases. Their 10th-inning ghost runner was speedy, Andrew†Benintendi, but he got caught stealingóby the pitcher. He made his move to third before our pitcher, Paul Sewald, made his move to the plate and got caught in a rundown. We kept playing pickle with the Yanks. It was little league again. It was elementary school. In the 11th, their ghost runner Miguel Andujar was doubled off second after a leadoff lineout, and in the 12th, their ghost, Jose Trevino, was caught between second and third on a comebacker to the pitcher. After we ran him down, we ran down the batter, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, trying for second. Ghosts were falling everywhere. The Mariners were Ghostbusters.

But the M's, still Julio-less, weren't doing much against Gerrit Cole, either. We got a single in the third from Sam Haggerty, who's still batting over .300 and still batting near the bottom of the order for some fathom-less reason. Next inning, leadoff hitter Adam Frazier lined a single to right and improbably tried to stretch it to two, and was out by a country mile. Since Ty France then grounded out to third on a slow roller that would've advanced Frazier, and Mitch Haniger lined a single that would've scored him, my friend Jeff complained for the rest of the game about the run Frazier cost us. Meanwhile, I kept wondering over why Jake Lamb and his .200 SLG was hitting cleanup for us. It was a beautiful summer evening, with wafts of cool, clean sea air, and we had nothing but complaints.

A one-out double by Cal Raleigh in the 5th went nowhere. A two-out single from Sam Haggerty (again!) in the 8th went nowhere. In the 9th, a leadoff HBP was erased in a DP. In the 10th, our ghost never moved. In the 11th, we sacrificed him, then ended the inning on a DP. In the 12th we loaded the bases on walks but Eugenio Suarez struck out with two outs and promptly broke his bat over his knee, Bo Jackson style.†

Yanks had a real shot in the 13th. Matt Brash was pitching his second inning of relief and walked the bases loaded with one out. But then he got Gleyber Torres swinging and a groundout to short from Andujar. Which is why, in the bottom half of the 13th, even after a leadoff single by Cal Raleigh and a IBB to Haggerty, it still felt problematic. It was the third straight half-inning that the bases were loaded and so far no one had scored. And with one out, our pinch-hitter in the nine-hole was .200-hitting backup catcher Luis Torrens, who quickly went 0-2. Same old, same old, right? Wrong. A line single to right. Stadium goes nuts. We go nuts. Aaron Judge in right goes nuts trying to get Haggerty in a force at second. With one out? Was he just being a dick? Or was he too tired to remember what was happening?†

Anyway, it's been a while since I've seen such a game. I guess never.†

Posted at 09:18 AM on Wednesday August 10, 2022 in category Seattle Mariners  
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