Everyone has their fair share of good days and gross days in baseball. Today was one of those gross days for the Mariners, until it wasn’t (but still kinda was?)
Mallex Smith continues to look like a guy that missed all of Spring Training. It was when Smith worked a 3-0 count with the bases loaded and two gone in the top of the seventh, then proceeded to ground out on an unfavorable 3-1 pitch, that this game was out of reach for the Mariners.
It was 4-1 then, in favor of the Angels. For how the Angels got there, not on the back of Mike Trout, but instead a trio of home runs from Kevan Smith, Tommy La Stella, and Brain Goodwin, this felt like your typical flukey getaway day.
Despite having the pitching edge on paper, Mike Leake struggled while Jaime Barría silenced Seattle’s bats for the majority of his five innings of work after taking over for opener Hansel Robles. Add in a couple TOOTBLANs and some uninspired at-bats for Seattle and it felt safe to assume Anaheim had done enough and that the Mariners just didn’t have it today.
The Angels tacked on two more in the bottom of the seventh, and another two in the eighth, just to put a stamp on things. Once again, Shawn Armstrong and Ruben Alaniz were both subpar in their performances, with the latter likely on his way back to Tacoma with the expected Tuesday return of Chasen Bradford.
Typically, the roles have been reversed in past Sunday afternoon games in Anaheim. In recent years, the Mariners have held large leads heading into the ninth of games like today, only to blow them in eventual defeats to the Angels.
This time, it was the Angels who had lost their grip in the ninth. Trailing 8-1, the Mariners saw their new dinger streak (woo!) extended to four games with a two-run shot by Tom Murphy and another of the solo variety from Dee Gordon to make things a little more respectable at 8-4.
So yeah, that’s cool, whatev- OH MY GOD MITCH HANIGER JUST MADE IT A TWO-RUN GAME. IT’S HAPPENING. THE WEIRD SUNDAY ANAHEIM MAGIC HAS FINALLY TURNED IN OUR FA- oh, it’s over? Well, that was fun while it lasted.
Any day you lose is a pretty gross day. But the Mariners turned a dumpster fire into a day-old chalupa, I guess? Sure, let’s go with that.
And, by the way, for as bad as Scott Servais has been with managing his bullpen this year, he should not be condemned for his use of Armstrong and Alaniz when he did. Sure, in hindsight, both wound up having a critical impact on the game, but you make that decision ten times out of ten, especially on a getaway day.
And we finally off an off day tomorrow, then a quick two-game set with the young (and good) San Diego Padres. More importantly, Félix Hernández gets a chance to rake.