Game notes—8/25/20

Let's try another live-ish blog of a game. These haven't been as interesting as I'd hoped when I've done them for prior contests, and I'm not sure what the best format for such things is, but what the hey, one more shot at it here.

Marco Gonzales on the hill, facing the Slammin' San Diego Padres. It's another National League game with a DH, which remains a disgusting offense against the world, a crime against humanity. Manfred must go. With that out of the way, let's get started:

  • I'm watching the Padres' broadcast just to mix things up. Also because those guys are actually at the game in person while the Mariner guys are broadcasting off of monitors.
  • Tim Lopes is in the lineup again. I oppose this, especially against a right-hander. Lopes has hit all of .200 or so since the first week. Let's give someone else some at-bats. Of course, with the bench Scott Servais is carrying—today it's Long, Odom, Bishop, and nobody else—there's really nobody else to use, so this is more of a complaint against the overall roster construction than Lopes in particular.
  • Uniforms: I kind of like the new Padre pinstripes. I'm glad they brought the brown back, if nothing else it gives them more of a unique identity. Meanwhile, the M's continue to go with the blue jerseys, which I like in one big way—numbers on the front—but not in others (the logo font for the names and numbers is a bit much, especially with the bad kerning). The Seattle unis need a tweak or two, put the jersey numbers on the front of the primary outfits and angle the wordmark up a bit to give the numbers a bit of breathing room.
  • SD starter Chris Paddack walks J.P. Crawford to start things off, and I look forward to Jape stealing a base. The walk is good to see, if JP is going to stay as the leadoff man he's got to take a lot more of them.
  • No steal, but another really nice hit from Kyle Lewis. Whatever he did to refine his swing and approach between last September and this season was brilliant. Just takes a low breaker from Paddack and punches it through the infield hole into right field. Outstanding.
  • tatis
    Another uniform thing: Does anyone else find it curious that all the Juniors are now declaring themselves as such on their jerseys? Tatis' jersey says "Tatis Jr.," Long's says "Long Jr.," even Houston manager Dusty Baker's says "Baker Jr." This never used to be a thing. Even when the M's had both Griffey Sr. and Jr. I doubt there was ever even a consideration of putting "Griffey Jr." on the back. It's weird. I mean, if the tradition was to have your first name on the jersey, ala Ichiro, that would make sense; that's where the distinction is relevant. But the surname is the surname regardless. I don't get it.
  • Seager gets the job done with a sacrifice line-drive to center and it's 1-0 M's. Good to see solid fundamental execution.
  • Fantastic hit-and-run play with Nola and Lewis! Love the hit-and-run. Nicely done.
  • Nice easy hit from Evan White to make it 2-0. He really seems to be more relaxed the last week or so, since the Dodger two-home-run game. Good to see.
  • The ad creep that is pervasive all over the Majors seems even more egregious in San Diego. I don't begrudge teams looking to pocket a little more revenue in this odd time when they can't sell any tickets, but my fear is that this business with ads on the field—the Padres have one on the mound and outside each infield foul line, as most teams now do, but they also have some on the netting protecting the seats—will be hard to get rid of once normalcy returns. I'd feel a lot better about it if there wee some ironclad agreement in place that they're only allowed under the current circumstances.
  • Marco's first batter gets a cheap bloop hit. Hopefully, that's not a sign of how things are going to go tonight...
  • Another cheap hit, as Machado gets on. Marco is getting his pitches in there and the defensive shifts aren't working out. Still think those are very much overused.
  • See? A much less severe shift on Hosmer and JP is in the right place to catch a liner. Better hit on that lineout than either of the actual base hits.
  • Nicely done, the M's get Marco out of a jam and the first is in the books at 2-0 Seattle. Watching Marco Gonzales pitch is like admiring a Van Gogh in a museum. Sheer artistry.
  • Nice stretch by Hosmer on Lopes' ground ball to get the out. This series has probably the two best defensive first basemen in the game right now, though it's a big dropoff after White.
  • Nice base hit from Dee Gordon. I remain a big Dee Gordon fan despite his struggles and the ignominious way he's being used in what is undoubtedly his last Seattle season.
  • Another hit-and-run play and what do you know, good things happen! Home run from JP to make it 4-0. That's more run support than Marco should need, but let's pile on some more anyway, what do you say?
  • And another hit for Haggerty. I like Haggerty a lot. Switch-hitter with speed, versatile. I'd like to see him get some reps as the second baseman as an alternative to Long.
  • Haggerty gets a stolen base—he benefits from a wide throw, but what I really like about it (and this has been true in all of Haggerty's steals so far) is the quick, short, feet-first slide. Exactly how it should be done.
  • Inning ends with no further damage, and when the Padres' TV crew comes back they ask a trivia question: Which Mariner did not win Rookie of the Year—A. Davis, Griffey, Ichiro, or Sasaki? they're stumped, but we all know it's Griffey.
  • Marco strikes out the SD DH, a guy named France. "Gonzales retires France on strikes." Could be a whole different kind of headline in other contexts. In fact, this guy's name must be a source of great amusement for headline writers all over greater San Diego. Good thing he isn't a pitcher, or the "France Surrenders" bit would get old after every home run off him.
  • Cronenworth dunks in the third cheap hit of the night for San Diego. Better than line drives, of course, but irritating when those bloops mount up.
  • Another nice, painless, ho-hum, nothing-to-it Marco Gonzales inning. Art. Still 4-0 M's.
  • Whoa, really nice play by Manny Machado to get Nola; snagged a grounder near the line and threw to first from one knee, relying on Hosmer to make the play on the other side. Well done, sir.
    machado
  • Machado with a two-out double for the first legit hit off of Marco tonight. Hopefully it won't mean anything.
  • Wait, that pitch just above the belt was called a ball?! You blinked at the wrong moment, Mr. home-plate umpire.
    machado
  • Wouldn't you know, Hosmer with a 2-run bomb after the bad ball call. 4-2 now. Not a great pitch, Marco left a change in the meaty part of the plate, not inside enough. Nertz.
  • Oh, a bit of a break as Wil Myers pokes a solid hit into right and is cut down by Jake Fraley at second base. Myers a little too greedy there and a terrific throw from Fraley. Oops, maybe not, the Padres are challenging. Hmm, I think he's safe. Really close, though. Yep, dang it, safe.
  • All this two-out action is running up Marco's pitch count a little uncomfortably. Nearly 60 now.
  • Oh, Barrett's the home-plate ump. That makes sense, Mr. Inconsistent himself.
  • Sonofabitch, another double? France Retaliates in Skirmish. It's a one-run game now at 4-3. Marco may be getting a little frustrated, missing his mark on a couple of key pitches.
  • No further damage, but ew, nasty inning.
  • Paddack sails through this 4th. Bleh.
  • Marco is throwing more curveballs here in the 4th. Good, when he's on it's one of his best.
  • Huh, Barrett not giving Marco strike calls early in the count, then calls strike three on the least close of the close pitches to Grisham. OK. Makes me recall that Ted Barrett is the ump that so irritated Edgar Martínez with ball/strike calls that he's the only ump to eject Edgar from a game for arguing.
  • Tatis swings for strike three to take Barrett's fickleness out of the equation and end the frame. Thanks, dude!
  • 1-2-3 and Paddack has set down 11 straight. Not good, we need insurance as Marco's thrown enough pitches that we're going to see the bullpen sooner than later.
  • France Powerless in Confrontation with Seattle Leader Gonzales, Ends Threat Harmlessly.
  • Hooray! Nola with a leadoff homer in the 6th to give the M's a bit of insurance. 5-3 M's.
  • Followed by a double to the wall from Ev. Really nice to see Evan chill out a bit and stop pressing so hard, it's paying off.
  • And that's going to send Paddack to the showers! Excellent. And Marco is close to 100 pitches for the M's, so now we'll see if their bullpen can outscore our bullpen.
  • The reliever promptly hits Fraley with a pitch. Good start.
  • Another Ted Barrett special on strike one to Lopes:
    machado
  • Whoo, Jape with another hit to make the score 6-3! New pitcher coming in for the Padres. It's like we said, these bullpens can put up some big tallies.
  • Ouch, Haggerty lines out right to Cronenworth. If only the Padres had had an infield shift on, it would have been two more runs. Well struck, though, reinforcing my desire to see Haggerty get a shot at maybe filling the 2B role full time. Meanwhile, bottom 6 coming up.
  • Yoshi Hirano in relief of Marco. (I don't think I've ever seen a pitcher wearing a single-digit jersey number get relieved by another pitcher wearing a single digit—Gonzales: 7, Hirano: 6.) Good, let's hold this lead instead of coughing it up right away, just for fun. Not Marco's best start, but not at all bad, either; some bad luck with bloops hits and frustration with Ted Barrett's umpiring, but hits are hits. He's Marco, so of course he didn't walk anyone.
  • Hirano does, though, issues a two-out free pass.
  • No matter, third out was no sweat. Now, let's add on some in case we see someone like Altavilla come in next.
  • Nice, a couple of one-out singles and then Evan with his third hit to drive in another run! 7-3 and another Padre reliever is chased from the mound.
  • New Padre pitcher is named Pierce Johnson. Makes me wonder what his middle name is. Polk? Truman? Coolidge?
  • Nope, it's William. Still presidential, I guess, but boring. I mean, if you were going to pick a presidential first name there was Rutherford just sitting out there. Or Ulysses.
  • OK, Lopes with a bleeder that manages to get through and it's 8-3! Liking this San Diego ’pen.
  • Johnson gets through his first term without more damage and we go to the home 7th and look who the new pitcher is: Altavilla. Why is Servias so predictable this way?
  • Altavilla got away with a fat slider to Machado that went for just a single. Altavilla might as well call that thing a changeup, it has almost zero break to it.
  • Hey, the shift pays off as Hosmer lines one straight up the middle that JP snags for an out. Should've been a hit. Cool.
  • Altavilla escapes by the skin of his teeth, as pinch-hitter Naylor (France Bypassed in Strategic Maneuver) missed a 3-run homer by a smidge and pulled a fat one foul before popping up. A hit and a walk and a hasty exit, I hope.
  • 8th inning now, and it goes cleanly for the 5th SD pitcher of the night.
  • Oh good, Aaron Fletcher on to pitch. I want to see a little more of this guy. This is his 2nd appearance and he's got very little experience even in the minors, but he looked sharp last time and his college numbers are awesome.
  • Fletcher's got himself a really nice fastball, goes well with his kind of three-quarters motion and delivery. Not much control on his slider, though, that clearly needs some work. K, F9, BB so far.
  • He gets an infield pop to send this to the 9th. Nice job, Fletch. You need to get some more innings.
  • The Padre announcers are talking up how great Seattle is as a stop on their circuit and then one of them makes the tired joke about how there's all this great food, but you can't get a decent cup of coffee up here. Like we've never heard that one before.
  • How about that, Evan White on for the fourth time tonight, three hits and a walk. What a difference a relaxed attitude makes.
  • The rest of the gang goes quietly, though, and now we see who Servias will go to for the closing duties in a non-save game. I'm thinking...Yohan Ramírez.
  • Nope, it's Joey Gerber. Whatever, it's a 5-run lead.
  • Hmmm, Fraley just misses a nice catch on what goes as a triple of the wall for Machado. I don't think Jake's played a lot of right field, but I could be wrong on that.
  • The triple is harmless as Gerber gets his three outs! Nice game, final of 8-3.

Guess I was just barely right that the four runs was enough run support for Marco to win with. Bad luck and bad umpiring maybe cost him an inning or two of work, but still a decent start for him despite the short length (only 5 innings). Nice job by the bullpen outside of Altavilla, who was just lucky. And big props to Evan White and JP Crawford. Nola with three hits as well. Feels good to beat a good team like the Padres; I mean, it's nice to beat the Rangers, but they're terrible. Beating San Diego is a bit more of an achievement.

Back at it tomorrow night. Will there be another live-ish-not-really-by-the-time-it's-done-I'm-an-hour-behind blog for it? Dunno. We'll see.

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