One night after Dr. D "offered" a choice of a 7-run early lead or a late-game dramatic HR, he felt his stomach do a slow pitch-and-roll to the left ... as he pictured the M's as victims of just such a scenario. Fortunately, inning after inning Zeus locked down the champs and handed the ball to the Twin Closer machine. Just another close game win by the good guys.
Gerrit Cole brought unfortunate imagery of the vintage Nolan Ryan. 97-100 fastball backed by a heavy power curve. No-hit after 5 innings, I didn't see how the M's scored in 15. But, of course, time and pitch counts wait for no men and in the 6th the M's "stalked" the Astros ace into the LF corner. Romine fanned, and then Gordon fanned, and the inning was whiskers from over. But then Segura scratched out his 50th infield hit, or whatever it is, and Denard Span ripped one up the middle --- > in accordance with his liking for the #3 spot he's holding down for Cano.
Cole, as he had All. Night. Long. tossed a Ryan curve into Boomstick to start the at-bat. Cruz, as he has All. Season. Long. ripped a 2-RBI double that won the game for the Mariners.
Leaving us little but to enjoy Zeus' thunderbolts in accordance with this video which we hope you'll open in a second window:
1) 1-2 back foot foshball detonates Evan Gattis. As usual they argued in the booth whether to call it a slider (Blowers) or a "cutter" (Paxton and Jedi). If it's a 90 MPH cutter it's quite a cutter.
2) 1-2 up-the-ladder 98 fastball does in J.D. Davis by means most straightforward and brutal.
3) Exactly the same 1-2 pitch does in George Springer by foul, it's means most foul (0:13).
4) Very weird 0-2 foshball (85 MPH? rather than 89-90) leaves Marwin Gonzalez wondering what he just saw. (0:21)
5) 2-2 pitch, as above, foshball nice and low as usual, gets J.D. Davis. (:26) If Zeus is going to vary his slashball from 85-90 MPH he's going to leave a large riverfull of floaters in his wake.
6) High 97 fastball leaves Springer mad at the ump as before, when the anger should be directed at the rules of the game of baseball, muchly to his disadvantage when James Paxton is standing only 20 yards away.
7) 1-2 foshball (0:40) once again sloshes in at a weird 85 MPH and drops below the knees on Tyler White. Come to think of it, maybe Paxton's overhand yakker has accelerated from its career-long 80 MPH velocity up to 85 MPH now that he's feeling his oats after two weeks off (very unlikely but not impossible). In either case it leaves batters at chances = 0.
8) Yet another 1-2 count, glory be, and yet another 85 pitch leaves a cloud of faint pink mist where Marwin Gonzalez had been standing. Look, every game previously in James Paxton's career he has thrown (A) a 94-99 fastball, (b) a 89-90 "cutter" and (C) a 78-81 knuckle curve. If anyone wants to feasibly and convincingly explain what this new 85 MPH pitch is, you get flowers from me, but as to its effectiveness, you've got the vid evid for y'self.
So Gerrit Cole on a career night, and James Paxton outdueled him, did he not?
All of this bloodshed left Zeus with a 7-inning 3-hit shutout and an 0:8 control ratio, leaving him at 9-4, 3.49 and an astounding 163:33 control ratio on the seaosn. Leaving the M's at 13-8 in his starts. Leaving the M's at 39-24 in the lefties' starts and 47/47 in Edwin Diaz' appearances with a lead -- the Twin Closer formula was as good as gold again.
Unfortunately the slimy Orcs won again so we're left with the prospect of splitting the next two vs. Astros (Leake vs Morton; LeBlanc vs Keuchel, so no Verlander at least) and then a blow against the Jays who have three TBA's to be announced against us.j
Did you know we're 14-7 with Leake on the mound? Unlikely as it seems. That's a 108-win pace. I suspect the Twin Closers have had at least something to do with it.
Happy Trade Deadline Day,