Archive: June, 2020
Virtual Season: Murphy leads M's to victory in Boston
Tom Murphy led the charge as the Mariners squeaked by the Red Sox tonight 4-3. Murphy drove in all four runs, hitting a two-run homer over the green monster in the 2nd inning and doubling in two runs in the 4th.
The weird 2020 faux-season is scheduled to begin in a few weeks, and considering its various rule alterations and pandemic protocols, one issue continues to rankle me like no other, because it threatens to last a lot longer than this bizarre year of coronavirus: The "universal DH."I loathe the designated hitter rule. It was a bad idea when the American League implemented it in 1973 and it's bad today and it'll be bad tomorrow. It should not be made universal, it should be metaphorically burned with fire until no trace of it remains.
Players start opting out as COVID-19 continues to rage
As tomorrow's deadline for players to report to preseason training camp approaches, four major league players have announced they will be opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Virtual Season: Kikuchi dominates Red Sox as M's win 2-0
When the Red Sox last saw Yusei Kikuchi, on April 12th, they tattooed him for six runs. Today, a different story altogether. The Mariners' Japanese southpaw shut out Boston for eight innings despite giving up seven hits, pitching out of trouble on several occasions to give Seattle a 2-0 victory.
Virtual Season: M's blow lead in the 9th, win anyway
Yoshi Hirano was on in the 9th to close out a win for Marco Gonzales, but the Tampa Bay Rays had other plans and Kevin Kiermaier took Hirano deep for a game-tying home run and the Mariners would have to play on until they could win it 6-5 in ten innings.
Virtual Season: Rays sink Mariners 9-1
The Mariners' bats apparently arrived in Florida with holes in them. Tampa Bay starter Brendan McKay and relievers Anthony Banda and Colin Poche combined to strike out 14 Seattle batters tonight as the Rays routed the M's 9-1 at the former Suncoast Dome.
Virtual Season: Mariners lose first game of road swing to Rays 5-1
Tyler Glasnow had the Mariners tied in knots tonight. The Tampa Bay right-hander struck out ten Seattle batters in 71⁄3 innings on the way to a 5-1 Rays victory.
Even in a short 2020 season the schedule will be f-ed
I wasn't in favor of Interleague play when it started, in 1997. I knew then that the novelty of it would wear off in a few years and that it did nothing good for the game, in fact it detracted from the All-Star Game and the World Series. (These things remain true, by the way.)
Virtual Season: Rangers blank M's to snap streak; Seager traded
Lance Lynn, whose been a thorn in the Mariners' side for a few years now, pitched a gem for the Rangers tonight as Texas beat Seattle 4-0. The loss snaps the Mariners' eight-game winning streak.
The COVID factor
Commissioner Rob Manfred has spoken: Major League Baseball will open a truncated season on July 23rd, with a preseason training camp to begin July 3rd after players report no later than July 1st. The season will last 60 games and end September 27th. So sayeth the almighty Rob.
Virtual Season: M's feast on Texas pitching, win 8th straight
The Mariners took advantage of one of the American League's worst pitching staffs to continue their offensive explosion, scoring ten runs against the Rangers to beat their division rival 10-3.
Details begin to emerge for 2020 changes
The players' union and Commissioner Rob Manfred's office have given up on arguing over economic matters for now, but they are still ironing out protocols for health and safety in the theoretically-upcoming abbreviated 2020 campaign. Some of those protocols will translate to rule changes on the field in the interest of player safety.
Virtual Season: Mariners beat Texas, extend win streak to 7 games
Tom Murphy and Mitch Haniger each homered and drove in three runs in the Mariners' 9-3 defeat of the Texas Rangers tonight at TMP.
Commissioner announces 2020 season will commence
So. You know all that arguing and wrangling and bad blood being spilled and hostility being ginned up between ownership and the players' union over the past couple of months? Yeah, that was for nothing.
Virtual Season: Fraley, Walker shine as Mariners complete sweep of Royals
Taijuan Walker struck out a season-high nine batters over eight strong innings and Jake Fraley went 3-for-4 with a home run to lead the Mariners to a 2-1 win over Kansas City and extend their winning streak to six games.
Virtual Season: Mariners shut out Royals, win 5th in a row
Nick Margevicius pitched six strong innings and Mitch Hanger launched a late home run to help the Mariners to a 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Virtual Season: Mariners win 4th straight, take over first place
The Mariners kept up their winning ways tonight at TMP, defeating the Kansas City Royals 5-2 behind a solid start from rookie pitcher Justus Sheffield. Every Seattle batter in the lineup reached base again tonight, via hit or walk.
MLB closes spring facilities, season negotiations stalled again
Surprising absolutely no one who's been paying attention, multiple major league clubs have reported COVID-19 infections among their players and staff and apparent outbreaks in their spring training facilities. MLB today ordered all spring facilities closed again, after several clubs shut down complexes on their own.
Virtual Season: M's clobber Royals 9-2
Yusei Kikichi went eight strong innings and the Seattle offense continued its impressive consistency to lead the Mariners to a 9-2 drubbing of the Kansas City Royals.
Virtual Season: Mariners sweep Astros, close to 1 GB
Evan White and Kyle Lewis each hit home runs and eight of nine Mariners in the lineup had hits as Seattle beat the Houston Astros 7-4.
Latest on 2020 negotiations
Well, Commissioner Manfred's tactics seem to have backfired on him, as his office has resumed negotiations for a new agreement to open a 2020 campaign. It's not all good news, though it does appear that a deal will be struck now that the league has given up on trying to reduce player pay beyond the pro rata agreement already made in March.
Virtual Season: Mariners edge Astros 3-2
Taijuan Walker pitched six strong innings and Kyle Lewis hit his first home run of the year to help the Mariners clip the Houston Astros 3-2 in Seattle.
Keep digging that hole
A little more than a week ago, I wrote that the Commissioner's office and the MLBPA needed to stop digging as they fell further and further into the hole they were creating for themselves with the general public. They didn't take my advice, of course, and today we have Commissioner Rob Manfred essentially threatening to pull the plug on a 2020 season that wasn't likely to happen anyway because of made-up offenses committed by the players' union.
Virtual Season: Angels trounce M's to snap winning streak
Dee Gordon gave the Mariners an immediate edge with a leadoff home run today, but the Los Angeles Angels weren't fazed as they came back to wallop Seattle 10-1.
Minor league life, getting drafted, and being a whole person
I became a big fan of pitcher Dirk Hayhurst because of his writing. The former minor- and major-leaguer, who had brief, middling stints with the Padres and Blue Jays, has written four books—all of them excellent—about his time in baseball. He also spent some time as an on-camera commentator/analyst with Sportsnet and TBS. He's a brilliant, thoughtful, articulate person with a lot of insight into the culture and the business of baseball.
Virtual Season: M's survive bullpen implosion to win 6th straight game
The Mariners opened up a big 8-0 lead over the Angels tonight, then saw that margin narrow to one run when LA plated six runs in the 8th against ineffective Seattle relief pitching. But in the end, the M's prevailed in Anaheim by a score of 8-7.
Commissioner's Office fans flames of discord once again
It boggles the mind. Really. The actions taken by the office of the Commissioner of baseball, representing the ownership groups of the 30 major league clubs, in the ongoing "negotiations" with the MLB Players' Association regarding a potential truncated 2020 season, have been unbelievably foolish.
Virtual Season: Kikuchi leads M's to fifth straight win
Daniel Vogelbach and Mitch Haniger homered and Yusei Kikuchi went seven strong innings as the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-1 for their fifth consecutive victory.
Virtual Season: Mariners sweep Jays with 5-0 shutout
Marco Gonzales went the distance to earn his first shutout and league-leading fifth complete game of the year as the Mariners defeated the Blue Jays 5-0 tonight in Toronto.
Virtual Season: White leads M's with three extra-base hits in 6-4 win
Evan White was just a single shy of the cycle in leading the Mariners' offense to a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays tonight in Toronto. The rookie first baseman doubled in the 3rd inning, homered in the 4th, and tripled in the 9th. He scored twice and drove in three runs.
Virtual Season: M's open series in Toronto with unusual game
The Mariners' series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto featured some oddities, including an inside-the-park home run and a game-ending pickoff.
Virtual Season: Mariners at Blue Jays play-by-play "broadcast"
Behold the latest GSAU experiment: a radio-style play-by-play account of this evening's game between the virtual Mariners and the virtual Toronto Blue Jays from the Rogers Centre in virtual downtown Toronto. Please to enjoy.
Virtual Season: Mariners best Marlins in 2-1 pitchers' duel
Yusei Kikuchi and Caleb Smith matched wits today in Miami, each putting up zero after zero on the scoreboard through six innings of work. It was only when the bullpens got involved that either side was able to push anything across, and Seattle got two to manage a 2-1 win over the Marlins.
Virtual Season: Bullpen blows it for Marco, Fish win in 12
Jonathan Villar delivered the third of four consecutive hits for the Marlins off of Yoshi Hirano in the bottom of the 9th inning to wash away a two-run Seattle lead, and then Corey Dickerson drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th as Miami defeated the Mariners 6-5 today in south Florida.
When you find yourself stuck in a hole, the first rule of thumb is to stop digging. Sadly, the Commissioner's Office, Major League club owners, and the Major League Baseball Players' Association can't seem to put down their shovels.
Virtual Season: Seager leads M's in 6-0 win over Miami
Kyle Seager had three hits and Taijuan Walker pitched seven strong innings to lead the Mariners in a 6-0 shutout of the Marlins tonight in Miami.
Virtual Season: 5-run 4th gives Yankees 7-5 win over M's
Giancarlo Stanton connected for a three-run homer in a big 4th inning for the New York Yankees, leading them to a 7-5 victory over the Mariners in Seattle.
Virtual Season: Yankees power their way to 7-3 win vs. M's
Nick Margevicius surrendered four solo home runs to the Yankees tonight and was chased after just four innings as New York cruised to a 7-3 victory in Seattle.
New York set the tone early on, as leadoff man Brett Gardner greeted Margevicius (1-2) with a 450-foot home run on the third pitch of the game and Giancarlo Stanton topped that with a 453-foot bomb later in the inning.
Virtual Season: M's shut out Yankees 4-0
The Mariners took advantage of a wild pitch and an error to score two 1st-inning runs against Gerrit Cole and the Yankees, then added two solo home runs later on to defeat New York 4-0 tonight in Seattle.