What a roller coaster of a weekend. The Tampa Bay Rays are wrapped up in a wildly tight wild card race, and should have come into Seattle looking for a sweep to cushion their lead. Instead, the Mariners took two of three and allowed the Rays to fall to within two games of Baltimore and Cleveland. The Mariners might not be playing for October, but it sure does feel good to play spoiler every now and then. The M’s are set to face the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics to close out the season. All teams that are in a close fight for a playoff spot, and all teams that would be uber satisfying to beat. By no means is it an easy schedule to close out the season, but at the very least it will be nice to see the Mariners shake things up a little bit before its over.
The newcomers to Seattle are continuing to impress me, Abe Almonte in particular has been a pleasant surprise to me. Batting .250 over his eight games in the majors, Almonte has knocked in three RBIs and laid down a few bunts in yesterdays win.
Liking everything Almonte brings. Doing better/showing more than I thought he would from watching him w/Tacoma/talking w/scouts. #Mariners
— Rick Randall (@randallball) September 8, 2013
I’m not the only one either, Rick Randall also seems to think that Almonte has had a better showing than we all thought he would this fall. But then again, I might just be grasping for things to be happy about. On to the links!
James Paxton made his big league debut on Saturday, and while we didn’t expect to be floored by his performance, we were pleasantly surprised by a very strong outing by the young Canadian. But then I saw this tweet:
James Paxton said his grandfather, Lawrie Paxton, died this a.m. in Vancouver. "It was nice to win this one for him."
— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) September 8, 2013
I don’t care who you are, that’s a heart-wrenching story. This is the kind of thing you see in the movies, and I am so supportive of Paxton and his great MLB debut.
Greg Johns wrote up a nice piece about Paxton, his family, and his refreshing start with the big league club.
Our hallowed King took a seat to discuss the finer things in life. An inside look at how the King feels about the Kings Court, Dwayne Wade, and Larry Bernandez. Spoiler alert: the King loves them all, and he loves all of you too.
In keeping with the ‘new guy’ trend, Taijuan Walker is continuing to make news around the league. He’s only had two starts so far, but has been fine in each. Nothing exquisite, but he certainly didn’t get rocked. He throws strikes and he throws hard, but that may not be why we love him. According to Jeff Passan it’s because he’s black. Ya, you read that right.
On the other hand, maybe we’re all jumping the gun a bit on Taijuan. We’ve all seen it before, a guy crushes everyone in AAA, comes to the majors and gets his ass handed to him. A bit of healthy skepticism might not be a bad thing.
Minor League Link
Only one thing to report here:
The Pulaski Mariners won the Appalachian league in dramatic fashion on Thursday. Second baseman Gabrial Franca slapped a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to win the pennant. A walk-off to win it, talk about ending on a high note.