that's the sort of game winners win.
AIN'T LIFE GRAND!, Dept.
The M's have a 3-0 sweep of the star-studded Detroit Tigers, they are clear Next-Up in the Wild Card race by themselves, He Who Must Not Be Named has been voted off the rotation island by DiPoet, and his replacement is Andrew Moore. In the 4-0 game.
The game's on TV. And a few miles away. What, you want Dr. D to butter your toast for you?
5 INNING, 1 OUT, 0 ON - JARROD DYSON BUNT SINGLE
Let's just go with favorite moments. Justin Verlander had thrown a perfect 5.0 innings with about 15 strikeouts, the kind of game that makes you wonder how base hits ever occur. Verlander fanned Mitch Haniger to start the sixth, and the game was all but over. Jarrod Dyson pulled this aesthetic bunt hit. The first hit of the game.
Verlander, rattled and a bit gassed, let down from there, pitching from the stretch. Dyson's bunt had been, emotionally, like Rocky's first punch in Apollo I where he cracks the champ's rib with a lucky shot. Apollo gets wide-eyed, backs up, and it's game on.
Well, you didn't KNOW it was game on at the time. Turned out it was, though. Zuumball then worked a walk. Consider that Mike Zunino worked an impossible walk against a Justin Verlander who wasn't going to walk anyone? Check how Verlander painted the black in this AB:
Sudden Jean then caught a break on a popup single behind the SS, and it was game on.
FAVE MOMENT TWO - INNING 5, BASES LOADED, 1 OUT, GAMEL MIGHTY GAMEL WAS ADVANCING TO THE BAT
Bases loaded, down 4-0, the first threat of the game and there are piles of baserunners all over the field. Suddenly the TV guys realize who's coming up. "Here comes the Mariners' hottest hitter!", Blowers said. Right or wrong, so sue me if you want, the moment felt like the 1997 Mariners had sustained a rally SO THAT Junior could hit. Well, so that Edgar could hit, at least. HE'll save us!
Gamel worked the count to 2-2 ... probably will never get to write that sentence again? ... and fouled two pitches off. Defensively, real late swings, just flicking the strikes away Boggs-style. On 2 and 2 Verlander comes at him with a screaming 96.3 MPH fastball, challenge pitch.
Gamel jumps out of his shoes and smokes a low 1-iron that the center fielder catches on one hop. Mariners on the board! Rally gaining. It's been a long time for Verlander on the mound and his pitch count ain't great for an elderly guy.
MOMENT THREE - INNING 5, BASES LOADED, 2 OUT, HEEERE'S BOOOMSTICK
Nothing way out of the ordinary. Just an 0-1 curve from Verlander, got it a little up. Booooom took two hands and a sledgehammer, and bludgeoned it on a deep line into the LF corner. It's at the 0:32 point on this video. It looked very boom on him.
Cruz now with 58 RBI in 70 games, if you're still keeping track. There used to be a player that was known, back in the day, as a "Cleanup. Hitter." The Mariners have one. They usually don't.
MOMENT FOUR - INNING 7, GAME-TYING RBI
In an 0-1 count, if Shane Greene crossed you up with a 95 fastball letter high, sucker pitch, could YOU foul it back? Mitch Haniger not only caught up to the ball, not only got on top of it, but got the bat head out in front. Here's the vid of that one.
Home run power alley. On a 95 fastball, high, even. In a pitcher's count. Thath high quality H20
HOW SWEET IT IS
There were other excellent moments too - Cano's power-alley double to put the M's in front, Juan Segura scoring two runs, other stuff. The above four are my top 10, as it were, for sheer beauty and joy. If I coulda only seen one?
The Gamel one. Then the Haniger one. Then Cruz' mighty double ... but Jarrod Dyson was really the cause of this win. We start to see why the KC fans loved him.
Awesome Photo: SportsCanyon.com
Verlander went back to the way chuckers, until a couple of weeks ago, tried attacking Gamel with two strikes; he tried to throw a FB above the strike zone. He didn't get it up enough and Gamel mighty Gamel (loving THAT) was on top it, anticipated it, and frozen-roped it. It was kind of a wide-eyed moment when everybody in the park, players, too, went "Holy George Brett! What doesn't he hit right now???"
Dyson's bunt was a beauty, but his earlier play in CF was unexplicably braindead. Fooled (I assume), he made a cruddy play on the ball, and then, (with a runner dead at 2B), either airmailed a throw or intentionally threw it to third.
I think he threw it to third and simply didn't see that he had a sitting duck. I can't believe that he missed Cano by that much, high AND wide, from that short distance.
Anyway, he completely botched that play; with it, Paxton would have (likely) got out of the inning without getting scored upon.
Maybe I'm spitting on Superman's cape, but that was a high-schoolish type of effort.
Fair and balanced is what we all about up in here Mo' ... and yes, funny isn't it how a wrong decision on defense in the middle of the field can do so much damage?
Saw Servais say something about it in the write-up, but I remember looking at the box score after the third inning and thinking 'Perfect for Verlander so far, but 45 pitches?!' How often does a guy run through three perfect innings, and still rack up a pitch count like that? (Granted, six of the nine were strikeouts, but still). Needless to say, it bode well.
Whale of an earthquake down here in Guatemala this morning. I like to think it was the earth shifting as it prepared to align with a +.500 Mariners team. *knock on wood*
Yes, Verlander was magical, and yet the M's fearsome lineup stood toe-to-toe and didn't back down. Eventually they poked a tiny hole in the water balloon.
It was always a frustration for me during the M's tiny good stretch. Freddy Garcia or Moyer or someone would be "cruising" through an extremely well-pitched game, but since the Yankees were always giving you tough ABs, it seemed like many times they would just wait you out until the little poked hole in the dam would come.
You'd analyze the game the next day talking about what a tough-luck outing Garcia had and that peripherally he might have been better than Wells or Cone that day. The Yankees were tough as nails with that approach.
I was not able to watch the Verlander game on Wednesday, but as I checked in a few times I felt that the M's could be the kind of team that the Yankees were offensively then. They can have games where they just do not give away ABs. Sure, there will be games where a guy throwing the way Verlander was will finish the job, but with a long lineup I like their chances to reduce those frequencies.
Beating a team whose pitchers have no-hit stuff that day are huge wins. Kudos to the org for ingraining the process.
Not out of lack of desire; I've just been living in Mexico.
Heading back to the PNW for an ever-so-short two weeks in July. I have ONE day to aim for... Monday the 24th. I'll be there, family in tow.
That sounds like an invite to me. Not sure I'll be able to make it myself, but any other SSI Denizens who might want to catch a game together, here's a thread -
One of these times I'd like to pick your brain about Mejico 2017, if that's okay. Haven't been way inside for a couple of decades. You live near the border?
These opportunities only come up every so often. If people are actually interested, I'm game. I expect to be there with some part of my family; I figure it'd be a fun mix with anyone interested in enjoying a night at Safeco (while it's still actually called Safeco!). =)
Pick the ol' brain when you want! I'm living in Chihuahua Chihuahua, where I've been since August 2014. In the next year or so I'll be moving into a remote part of the sierra, along the border between the states of Durango and Nayarit. My experience from that part forward will be 5% Chihuahua, 10% Mazatlán, and 85% remote mountain village.
There's no way that Zunino of last year (or even early this year) survives past pitch four of the sequence above. Ever since he was "figured out" in his rookie season, the book on him has been to throw away and let him fish. I am getting irrationally excited about his improvements.
Last night's game is exactly the reason I got so excited about the Dyson acquisition in the offseason. You get a game against an ace like Verlander, on his game, and the normal tactics just stop working. You need unconventional weapons to pull victory from the jaws of a no-hitter. Then up comes Mr. Zoombiya, lays down a picturesque bunt, and the rest is history. As one writer put it, "A bunt destroyed Justin Verlander."
Sure, you can't just give Seager one WPA for his walkoff the other night, or Jarrod Dyson 1 WAR for that bunt. But can anyone honestly tell me that we don't get brutally massacred in last night's game with ANYone else in the league playing center? Mike Trout himself couldn't have turned around last night's game like Dyson did. Jarrod can play on my team anytime. Some players were just born for pennant races.
Not sure I could prove it sabermetrically. But you get two aces throwing their best against each other ... IMHO a true speedburner takes on a disproportionate effect. Even Earl said, "Don't play for one run ... UNLESS you know that run wins the game."
Don't think Dyson hurt the *Royals* in the playoffs much, either...