The Mainframe was surprised and very pleased to see a postgame report that aligned with nuance and reality. The headline of the postgame gave Gonzales credit for solid pitching. Then, in the story recap for game 2, Kyle Seager referred to the frustration the M's felt at botching a game 1 that they should have won:
The Mariners felt they should have won the opening game Saturday, and came out swinging in the finale.
"When you lose an emotional game and get a little upset about it, it can fuel your fire a little and bring a little more energy," Seager said.
Dr. D won't go too nuts about "should have won" because the WHIP total was 14:9 in favor of Detroit. But baserunning traffic isn't everything -- just a very important single thing -- and there were two big reasons the M's shoulda won:
(1) The weird 6th inning. A ball went off Seager's knee, too hot to handle I guess. But Dr. D felt it bordered on routine, since it was inside Seager's 1-step range and probably inside his cleats.
On the next play, Maniger made a SWEEEEET charge-and-throw to apparently nail the runner at the plate. However, there was a major foulup inside the M's video team, according to Manny Acta, so the M's didn't challenge. (?!?) (James pointed out that Manny Acta is a slapstick movie name for an Acting Mannyger.)
On the next next play, Gonzales intelligently "cut" Jose Iglesias on the hands, 3-2 count, and Iglesias improbably homered for a 4-1 Tiger lead. Iglesias averages 5 homers per 162 games for his career -- 17 HR in 2000+ plate appearances -- and the cutter was well into the inner third. Excellent 3-2 pitch and at best Iglesias would be out F-7. But, curse baseball to the depths.
(2) The M's long lineup gave us 2 chances to re-take the lead. In the 7th, a smoking-hot Ryon Healy smoked a hot double down the LF line, to put himself on 2B and Kyle Seager on 3B. Both scored on productive outs by Zuumball and Gordon.
In the 9th, after Seager walked, Zuumball singled and Ben Gamel worked a walk for a thrilling bases-loaded game ending crescendo. Dee grounded out, but game after game the M's continue to supply us with eminently watchable baseball.
Gonzales' line was 6 ip, 10 h, 4 r, 4 er, 2 bb, 3 k. He didn't have his best stuff, but a kneecap here and an F-7 there ... we've got a 7 IP, 1 ER game. The point being not that he was invincible, but he's learning to battle when he's got his B stuff. (Yes, when you walk 2 men in the first inning as against 6 walks total in your first 7 games, that's battling with your B stuff.)
One other thing: Dr. D is falling in love with Gonzales' curve ball almost as fast as Gonzales himself is. He threw 25 of them last time out, and followed Saturday with 22 more. He's running a +1.37 run value on it for the season. It's a big 2-plane yakker in the David Wells tradition, it is returning superb results, and who knew it was going to be a bread-and-butter weapon for him.