At the company I work for, the district manager came in for a surprise audit. The visit blindsided us. The workplace was unprepared. My peers had to tuck in their shirts, completely follow protocol, and otherwise just un-become what we had learned to do in the workplace. Redundant procedures had to be followed, jargon that had been buried long ago was resurrected. Although productivity increased and alertness went up – everyone had already brought their A-game. It’s what we do. We always have to perform at one-hundred percent, no matter what. You don’t want to let down your managers, co-workers, and most importantly, yourself. But this district manager was only one person. It wasn’t an army of big wigs. It wasn’t a crew of corporate conformists. It was only one person.
Tonight, Brandon Morrow made his Safeco return. I’m not sure what was going through his mind, if anything was going through it at all. He looked stellar. His command was great, his velocity was excellent. He brought his A-game.
Tonight, the Mariners played a game in front of twenty-thousand plus people. The circumstances, different from mine. The stage, bigger than mine. The audience, an audience. Though the situation is different, the Mariners should’ve brought their A-game. It’s what they’re supposed to do. They are Major League Baseball Players.
So now I ask myself: did the Mariners perform at 100% tonight?
Blake Beavan still looks good. Did you know he was a first round pick in the 2007 draft? The first round draft-pick is a murky one. You can find gems in the draft, like Tim Lincecum, or duds, a la Matt Bush. It’s been four years since then, and Beavan is still getting his feet wet. Although his command was iffy, I felt like he was getting a bit squeezed by the home-plate ump. But, then again, if Livan Hernandez can take advantage of an iffy strike zone, everyone should be able to.
Brandon Morrow, on the other hand, was looking sharp. I mean, looking sharp, as he now sports a beard not unlike Dustin Ackley‘s. Oh, you devil, you. Morrow touched 98 mph, and didn’t allow a hit through four innings. In the bottom of the fourth, he threw a slider to Mike Carp that was absolutely sickening. I dare say diabolical. I’m pretty sure he missed his location, but that would’ve been a nasty strikeout pitch if he was ahead in the count. A pitch later, Carp singled to right field. Oh, Baseball, you.
In the bottom of the fourth, before Carp broke up Morrow’s perfect game, Franklin Gutierrez flied out to deep center field, around the 385 mark. In the swing, he looked tied up, but he still drove it deep. It definitely looks like the power is coming back. In the bottom of the sixth, he doubled in Ichiro Suzuki with a ball hit just a bit deeper. Same swing, still looked a bit tied up, but drove it far. Definitely coming back.
Casper Wells was hit in the nose by Morrow. I would wager to say that Morrow has pretty good control. A catcher’s mitt is, what, maybe a six, seven inch target? Wells’ nose can’t be more than an inch long. Brandon Morrow is pretty good.
Back to Mike Carp, that hit back there extended his hitting streak to seventeen games. Yep, that’s all. Fragmented thoughts here.
Chance Ruffin made his first appearance as a Mariner tonight. My observations: he is quick to the plate. His coil during the windup seems pretty good. At first glance, he has good hip-shoulder separation, and his arm angle should be pretty deceptive as his stuff improves. Ultra-mo revealed that he has a good weight shift before hand separation, and great arm action. He also knees himself in the face. Once I can get a picture of that, it’ll be up here. It’s, something. His fastball was sitting around 95 mph, and he struck out Jose Bautista on an 83 mph slider. One most note that, Bautista worked a full count, and Ruffin didn’t give in to him. Good for him! I like aggressive pitchers. That bodes well for the confidence in his stuff.
- Eric Thames went into the crowd in the bottom of the third to snag a ball. I always wondered if fans tried their best to distract the opposing players. Why don’t fans try to stop them? Just chuck a hot cup-of-joe on him, that’ll teach him to throw at the Mariners heads! Fans. Also, I saw a girl attempt to grope him, so, everyone should just be aware that when you’re in a public place, your picture could be reproduced for thousands to see. Be careful out there!
- On the Colby Rasmus homerun, Dave Sims said that it was his third homerun in as many days. Hey, that’s my line!
- On a heads-up play, Kyle Seager took second base when Aaron Hill threw the baseball – that was still in play – at the head of Yunel Escobar. I guess he wanted to see what it was like to be Brandon Morrow.
- In the top of the seventh, Trayvon Robinson ran down a pop fly that drifted towards the seats, and hit the rail hard. He made the play, but when he biffed it, he looked like a geezer from those “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” commercials. This will not bode well for Jack Zduriencik, as he is encouraging youthfulness on this team.
Off-day tomorrow, and the Mariners head to Tampa Bay for some Rays. I bet they’ve never heard that before!
Adam H. Wong