Bottom of the first, M's down one run. Jackson out.
Jered Weaver then starts slinging his slop to Seth Smith, who glares at all of it suspiciously as it sails by him. The count is 3-2, the umpire is impressed, and we've got My Cousin Vinny in right field. "He's got a spring in his pocket! There's a mirror under the table! He's palmed the card!" I'm tellin yer! he was The Great Doobmeister's worst nightmare!
Doob, with a lead and nobody on, then said "prove it" and fired his best fastball knee-high. Smith then fulfilled five years' worth of Taro's and Gordon's trade-market dreams by calmly swatting that slop off the right-center wall. And with that at-bat, a new era in Seattle offense began.
As you might have heard -- the Shout Box was a perfectly decent game thread today -- Smith later smoked a triple down the line. Later later, he launched yet another double to the off power alley, nearly taking out Mike Trout in the process.
Double to one power alley, double to the other power alley, triple to the third power alley. Swings at balls outside the zone: zero. To a pitcher, this was what Barry Bonds used to look like. Nibble, and then nibble, and then nibble, until you finally throw one over the plate. And then trudge to the shower.
Dr. D was musing, "So do you take this guy out tomorrow against the lefty? After a game like that?!"
To which Lloyd promptly replied by yanking Smith's lily-white keister on the next AB. Gayle Sayers once scored 6 TD's and then was subbed out on the five-yard line to prevent his seventh.
Well, the good news is that we know the platoon isn't going to give away 100 points of OPS+ on late-game at bats.
Dr. D never said, at any time, that Austin Jackson couldn't cover a pitch. He is unquestionably in possession of plus HIT ability. In the 3rd inning he showed it, starting the winning rally with a rifle shot down the 3B line, and adding a cheap single later.
The moral of the story is, gennlemen, if these two guys are going to do this, we're back to wondering about Daddy-O's 100-win scenario. "This" meaning Smith being good, Jackson being okay, and both being extremely off-putting for the pitcher.
Stars and Scrubs
Cano, Cruz, and Seager were not needed today. Other days, they will be. For one game, this was what mechanical victories look like.
James once said about the young, wild Randy Johnson "he's going to be special. Expecting him to become special at any particular point in time -- such as right now -- would be unrealistic."
Last year's Ackley surge was attended by that stretch in which he slugged 2000+ on pulled fly balls for two months. He has pulled one fly ball in the current two months, and it scattered the pigeons in the canopy rafters. Honestly, what was it, halfway up the glass out there?! Somebody post the distance when HomeRunTracker has it up. ...
Edit to add, I read the TV angle totally wrong. The ball seemed to drop down from up off the glass, and was much higher than the frame of the camera, but I guess it just sailed up like one of Mo' Dawg's 9-irons and fell down into the stands like a dropped cat. True distance 373 feet. Hot Ackley's SLG on pulled fly balls, still ginormous. Like Kyle Seager's.
Collateral Damage: We're gonna need more Krugerrands for the "Cleaner"
Various and sundry shtick slings:
Brad Miller got his first hit with a lovely, truncated followthru. He added another hit later. That's progress. He looked like he was getting a feel for the appropriate level of ambition to suit the moment(s).
Robinson Cano put the final brush strokes on the 3rd-inning Rembrandt. With two out, Austin Jackson had ripped a perfectly clean double down the left line. Seth Smith ripped a perfectly clean triple down the right line. And then, first pitch, Robinson Cano ripped a perfectly clean single up the center line.
The symmetry was unsurpassable. John used to love perfect-looking Nintendo runs. When he was eight years old, he would re-boot Zelda fifty times in a row until the sequence looked like the Seattle Mariners' third inning looked.
Logan Morrison hit a ball that shoulda been a home run. Thass' Safeco for you. As I recall he hit another high fly, fairly deep. Deep fly balls portend good things, or so Dr. D has heard.
Mike Zunino happened to not get a hit. He did happen to transfer his weight from INSIDE thigh to INSIDE thigh, and was visibly Zuumball. It's about process. I read it on the 'net.
Jered Weaver looked suspiciously smoke and mirrors, calling "No Mas" by the 5th inning or something. No Angels pressed Felix in any way; after Trout's solo homer in the first, they didn't threaten to get a man past 1B for the next hour and a half. The Angels were left looking like they had one blue-chip player.
Chinks in the M's armor? Let's not quibble. The Angels may be the second best team in the league :- ) and, mano-a-mano, we just out-based them 19 to 9. As a football score the game was 33-10. The Mariners' bullpen, odd though it may look, hasn't lost by double figures in months.
In terms of the strike zone, in terms of tough at-bats, in terms of defense and taking what was there, in terms of preparation and matchups, in terms of bases gained and bases lost? It was a lousy game.