FIELD OF EXTREMES, Dept.
This March we baseball dorked. What grabs you more: a run at a no-hitter? A 16-13 arena baseball game? Or Nelson Cruz pulling down TWO line drives hit way over his head in the same game?
Tonight, you got in touch with your inner baseball toddler.
ANY RESEMBLANCE TO BASEBALL IS STRICTLY COINCIDENTAL, Dept.
Rick, Bat, Dr. D and crew took to the Shout Box to share baseball wisdom for the ages. The "Shout Box GameFlow" was like Groundhog Day, when sobbing Bill Murray drove the pickup off the side of the quarry ... it flipped a slow half turn and landed upside down on the hardpan far below. Chris Elliot, carefully filming down, intones hopefully "He could be okay." Fireball ensues. "Well, no, probably not NOW."
We all signed off at 12-2 to watch the, um, game. The one where LeBron estimates the probability of driving a Kia over to get pantsed in front of 500 million people.
Dr. D accidentally hit the "LAST" button on his remote, catching a screenshot of the Mariner devastation exactly as Nori Aoki stepped in against Brandon Maurer with the M's up 13-12. His living room audience would have none of it, so he returned to the NBA game and waited for later to find out exactly how a major league team comes from -10 runs down.
A few of you didn't see Wade Miley's line. "I knew if I could hold them to 12 runs, we had a chance." Also if Miley could keep pitching for the Mariners, he's got a chance to win about 15 straight. His personal winning streak is at +5 and the M's are 8-3 in his starts, despite Safeco Field suppressing the inflammation of Miley's 5.85 ERA.
Rolling the tape back, we knew we were in for a treat. But this?
- Seth Smith carefully worked a walk.
- Robinson Cano took a long look at an 86 MPH cutter and then lashed a Wade Boggs single the other way....
Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. The deficit is 10 runs. It's fine to be rah-rah and all that. But have you ever played golf with a guy who is +13 over for five holes and then takes four minutes to line up his putt? Or, to get the idea across another way, have you ever seen a Brad Miller at bat when his team is behind by five runs (or when the M's are down in the standings by twelve games)?
Continuing the sixth ...
- Nelson Cruz battled through eight pitches and then took a pitch back up the middle for a single.
- Kyle Seager lashed a ball into the corner on a truncated followthough.
- Scott Servais I AM TELLING YOU SCOTT SERVAIS PINCH-HIT Dae-Ho Lee down by eight runs. Lee, quite incidentally, blasted a home run.
The M's were down ten runs, but if it had been a 1970's baseball game without the score on the screen, you would have thought the game was tied. By the facial expressions and by the plate coverage. Every Mariner, all the way through.
Then, and only then, did I get it. THIS IS HOW PRO TEAMS PLAY. It's just the way DiPoto does it, and the way Pete Carroll does it, and the way Gregg Popovich does it.
True, pro teams don't come from ten runs down, as such. But pro teams "play the game right." For too long in Seattle have we been watching teams overseen by legal specialists, watching clubhouse asylums run by inmates. These aren't the kind of guys where, you know, you can't say anything. This is the kind of quality that fans should expect ... if they are watching the so-called pinnacle of the game, that is.
The Mariners have faced four bounceback situations in 2016. Count them up:
:: ticks first finger :: The first homestand, right? When people were calling the entire Safeco Psychosis into question. The bounceback took one game, as soon as they went on the road. You found that unconvincing, because they did the bounceback on the road. Sure y'did.
:: ticks second finger :: The M's were rolling along at 21-13 when the Angels came in, the bullpen sat lotus for two games in the center of Safeco Field, doused itself in lighter fluid and lit a match. This called world attention to hunger in Nepal, or at bare minimum convinced a few hundred SSI denizens that the bullpen and season were done. The bounceback took two games; the M's rolled over in the third game 0-3, but beat Baltimore 10-0 in the next game and won four of five.
:: ticks third finger :: The M's, tragically, lost their storied center fielder to the Disabled List and, in a spirit of "Leonys is gone. What's the point?", got rolled by the 15-34 Minnesota Twins. Three in a row. The bounceback took 0 games: the Padres followed the Twins and the M's cold-cocked them 9-3 and 16-4.
:: ticks fourth finger :: The James Paxton game was more tragic than the above three gutpunches combined. As if James Paxton having a bad game weren't enough suffering for us, there was also a snippet about Felix being hurt or something.
The point is, Dr. D was wondering how many games for the bounceback this time?
It was 0.5 games.
There appears to be a trend.
BY THE NUMBERS
On this page we're told that it's the first time since 2009 any major league team came back from 10 runs down, and the first time in San Diego's 48 years they ever coughed up such a lead. The punch line ... wait for it ... San Diego at one point had a 99.9 percent chance to win. No way! Only one in a thousand games would you overcome a 10-run deficit?!
:: blinks ::
How many ML games in a year, boys. C'mon. That's like breathlessly reporting that Mark Twain was born on the day of the first appearance of Halley's Comet, noting that he died on exactly its second appearance, and finishing with a flourish that Twain predicted as much (he did). The trick is to pause for dramatic effect to intone the math. "Cotton Gin Prospectus gave 98% odds against that. It happened anyway."
EDWIN DIAZ WATCH
Grizzly points out that Edwin Diaz threw 2.0 more scoreless for Jackson, "hitting 99 MPH twice." Absolutely!
And James Paxton threw four non-scoreless for the Mariners, hitting 98 MPH routinely on 61 fastballs. It was 61 x 97.9. You've got to figure out how to use that, and now the M's have got the guys who will.
FRIDAY NIGHT'S ALL RIGHT FOR FIGHTING Dept.
So it's us and Tejas mano-a-mano, with everybody else -7 games back. The M's get their 1-2 pitchers, Taijuan and the KKKarnivore, against Yu Darvish and Martin Perez. Then the rubber game will be WBC-San against the ghost of Derek Holland.
See you at the ballpark,