Mariners sneak past Orioles in opener
By Josh Maduell
The Mariners climbed back on that horse after losses in six of their last seven against the East’s big boys. Fans need not worry. Every team goes through rough patches. The Mariners can more afford their recent struggles thanks to their sizzling start.
The elite Red Sox and Yankees were a test. The next two series should be called the “prove it” games. The Mariners thankfully claimed Game 1 of this “prove it” stretch. I say “prove it” because these next two foes are the two worst American League, teams. The scariest teams are the ones already planning for next season and nothing to lose. The Mariners need to overcome that.
One down, six “prove it games” to go. Are the Mariners capable of sweeping both teams? Yes. In all reality will they? No, that’s baseball and on any given day. If the Mariners want to remain in similar talks with the Yankees, Sox, and Astros then some of these games should be won by a convincing margin.
Hence why I describe tonight’s win as sneaky. The Orioles played a tough game tonight. The Mariners just scraped by against a team who lost 19 games in April and May. Felix blew a two-run lead late. You’re left thinking, “the O’s have the momentum and we blew it.”
The M’s did away with that tie the very next half-inning. They reminded fans why this 2018 team is different than others in recent memory. They found a way to win late. The hitting didn’t exactly knock the O’s pitcher around but runs are runs. The Mariners played minuscule ball with a wild pitch followed by a sac fly in the seventh. That was all they needed.
Felix pitched a quality start. However, he’s lucky the O’s didn’t jump in front bottom six after Span’s run-saving scoop. He owes Jean Segura a Baltimore crab dinner after two clutch defensive plays to keep things deadlocked.
Felix showed glimpses of his old self in innings one through five. He retired the hitters easily on a low pitch count overall.
The bullpen didn’t mess around after Felix was pulled. Alex Colome tossed a clean eighth inning against Baltimore’s big boys, something he needs to do more of.
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Tonight’s win is hopefully fortuitous of things to come. It’s not how you beat the worst teams, it’s if you beat them. The Mariners found a way to sneak away with a victory against a 23-win club.