Lance McCullers came out breathing Smaug-fire in the first three innings. In fact Krueger compaed his curve to Nolan Ryank's mid high 80's curve, and against a located 94 MPH there's another three innings you're not going to do anyhing.
Reminded you of the first 2 Mariners games ever played, where Nolan Ryan and Frank Tanana pole-axed the expansion M's by 2-0 and 7-0 or somesuch. The M's won the third and my dad shrugged, "well, the Angels have two pichers."
Iwakuma was on his game too, however, and he allowed only strange off-field HR. After the first three innings, we had a 1-0 playoff game tension.
Innings 4-5-6, all of the crackling curves seemed to leave McCullers' arm thrown out. He missed lots of spots, the M's stranded 3-2-2 sunners in those three innings, and generally McCullers had reverted to a "mediocre Nate KKKarns" mode. Unfortunately the M's could only cash in one run for the tie.
The Astros got another off-field HR to take the lead again -- were 4 of their 5 runs scored on solo LF shots -- and it was down the bullpen.
Innings 7-9, both teams' bullpens knocked down the lineups like tenpins. +2 Astros +0 Mariners, and Zeus gets his shot to be a Stopper. Not much of an excuse if the M's lay down to Charlie Morton on Wednesday; Morton has a deserved lifetime ERA about 4.50.
Your opinion may vary. Me? I'm not concerned about the fact that two star pitchers can lock you down on their best days. More interested in the fact that Felix and WBC-san threw the ball well. The M's ERA is what, 2+ against a tough lineup in their park. If they continue to pitch tough, and keep their hitters' strike zones as tight as that, I'm good.
Mitch Haniger was calm after the game, busting out the phrase "we're staying within ourselves." Opened his accout with a seeing-eye double down the LF line in the middle innings. Rock on, Maniger.
Been more than 10 years since the M's started 0-2. Dr. D has written them off to a couple of pitching performances by the Astros and re-set the enemy's hand to a 4-3 against the M's, where James Paxton evens it up at 4-4 next Monday.
Wednesday could be a Real Mariners game.