DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS
As if to underline Dr. D's magical understanding of the game of baseball, the first inning was a hysterically lucky one for the Mariners.
- Juan Segura led off with a seeing-eye grounder single that had about a 70% chance of going for an out
- Mitch Haniger struck out. (Hey, click over to D-O-V and look at the image there showing Happ's command of the AB.)
- Robby Cano pulled a seeing-eye ground ball single, through a shift (but with the 1B holding the runner), that had about a 70% chance of being a double play, INNING OVER, DIFFERENT BALLGAME
- Nelson Cruz popped up
- Ryon Healy struck out and took off for the M's bench. Whoop! Just ticked it, catcher missed it. That's luck.*
- Ryon Healy walked, loading the bases with two out (a long at-bat BB and two soft singles, sandwiched around two easy outs).
- Kyle Seager "worked" a 1-2 count.
- J.A. Happ, who is throwing sensationally this year to the tune of 11.2 K per game, quite deliberately challenged Kyle Seager with a center-cut fastball. The first thing J.A. Happ did wrong in the inning.
- Kyle Seager reminded baseball about his Back Leg Special skill. Mariners 4-0. The Mariners' record when scoring 4 runs is 18-4.
Happ battled us gamely for several more innings, but hit his pitch count around inning 4. Curse baseball to the depths, we lip-read him as he stomped off.
* Some day we'll have to discuss the fact that major league hitters can't hit sideways pieces of paper with samurai swords. It's an interesting subject, the idea that excluding Back Leg Specials, 1/8" or more of the contact point on a swing is luck. Like McCracken's BABIP insight, one day they'll figure out that perfect barrels, and just-barely foul tips, are luck also.
VARIOUS AND SUNDRY
On TV they reported that Kyle Seager caught Wednesday's HBP in the chest, and that it was the maddest anybody had seen him since he joined the M's organization. ... when Happ challenged him on Thursday, Seager went upper-deck* to center field and it was the joyfullest any Dr. D character had ever seen him on TV. ... you remember when Roger Clemens came up-and-in on Junior in the SkyDome, and next pitch Junior hit it about 450? That would be the echo memory for me.
Kyle Seager has a definite skill, to pull the ball in the air when he chooses to. Thursday after the HBP he was pretty pumped, since he hit it out to CENTER twice.
The suggestion has been made that Seager's skills are waning. We could debate it, no problemo, 'twould be an interesting subject; I'll take the starting position that they have not. But I'm negotiable.
Supposing that the prosecution was correct, and that's all he was, was a .250 hitter with a .425 SLG but the glove he's got at 3B, I'd pay the salary for a minor star.
That sliding catch Thursday .... he was running full blast at the rail when he slid about six yards and THEN Willie Mays'ed the catch! No, no, wait. Wait. And THEN, totally unimpressed with his paranormal activity, he popup-slid a throw over to 3B to hold the runner. I slo-mo'ed that cotton' pickin' play about five times, to find the exact second at which his head turned from the ball in his glove over to the runner. It was imperceptible.
Dr. D was harsh about the dive down the line to save Zeus' no-hitter, perhaps. But that play Thursday, THAT was a miracle, perhaps my favorite defensive play of all time, considering the head turn during the slide. Boy, am I glad to have Kyle Seager on my club.
Ryon Healy has a wonderfully controlled throughswing. He did get a really bad mistake from Happ to lead off the 3rd, an 89 fastball out-and-over to start the AB. The side shot proved that Healy CAN load up once in a while, when he wants to, but the followthrough was still concise. I love the man's swing.
What did they say, 6 homers in 11 games for him and counting?
He's our 9 hitter. Well, okay maybe our 8 hitter, assuming Guillermo Heredia's OBP isn't really .417.
Mitch Haniger took another low-away fastball from Happ -- just like the ones in the graphic at D-O-V -- but he leaned out and socked it through the right side, away from the shift. There's that 65 HIT tool.
His next AB, he got a hellacious curve ball, DOUBLE CLUTCHED LIKE AN NBA SHOOTER, leaned out to get it -- and barrelled it up squarely for a shot into CF.
He's got thirty RBI. Bill James once said, "You put somebody slugging .500 into the middle of ANY lineup, you're going to get a hundred RBI." He didn't say how many ribbies you get on the .600 SLG.
Mariners who had two hits or more:
- Juan Segura
- Juan Segura (he had 4 hits)
- Mitch Haniger
- the HOF second baseman
- Seager (both of them hit out of the field of play)
- Zunino (one of them hit out of the field of play)
- Rom (only half a name since he had three hits)
UND TAKE ZIS MIT YOU, Dept.
The feeble Tigers cower in fear of our arrival Friday. They will attempt to split with us on Friday-Saturday in order to avoid the Paxton sweep on Sunday. Even the most hardened Denizen must be softened up a little, wondering what Zeus has in store next time out.