I'm a little late on this. As I type, the Red Sox are leading the Astros 8-0 in the early innings of ALCS Game 2, seemingly on their way to tying that series at a game apiece; ideally, this would have been posted on Thursday when there were no games going. Well, as we say on Earth, c'est la vie.
They came closer than they have in a long time. 90 wins for the first time since 2003. Fewer games behind the division winner than any year since, again, ’03. Contending through the very last hour of the season. But not quite enough to play on.
Well, that was anti-climactic.
After Friday night's painful loss to the LA Angels, it wasn't looking too good for Your Seattle Mariners. Setting aside for the moment how remarkable and amazing it was that the M's were still alive in the playoff chase after 159 games, the mood after Jarred Kelenic flied out to end Friday's 2-1 loss was, if not defeatist, sort of resigned. This is, after all, the Mariners we're talking about. History has taught us all hard lessons about managing expectations as fans of this historically-mismanaged franchise.
Well, that was brutal.
I got a note early Friday afternoon from an employee at TMP telling me that the Mariners were expecting an attendance of over 40,000 at that night's game between the M's and Los Angeles Angels. Seattle's position in the Wild Card standings was generating a lot of enthusiasm, people were paying a premium for tickets. Only scattered singles were still available to buy, at least from official channels.
The Mariners were off today, so all eyes in Mariner Nation were on scoreboard-watch duty. Or other-game-watch duty, in my case; I watched the Yankees defeat the Blue Jays, which while beneficial to the Mariners was disappointing to me because, you know, Yankees.
My brain is kind of all over the place this afternoon, so without much thought to structure here are a few disjointed observations and tidbits.
With today's victory over the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, the Mariners closed out their final road trip of the year with eight wins and two losses. Not too shabby, and though the standings math would have preferred (needed?) that total to be 9-1, it's still an excellent stretch that featured some of the best baseball the M's have played all season, with several individual standout performances.
Wow. I mean, who'd have thought, at seasons start, that with just over a week to go in the 162-game campaign Your Seattle Mariners would still be vying for the playoffs? Who thought they'd be on the margins, or even a .500 club?
It won't be official until Thursday, but the news has been leaked by multiple sources: Seattle will host the MLB All-Star Game and its accompanying weekend of festivities in 2023. It will be the third time the Midsummer Classic was played here.
I still don't think they're going to do it. I still think they're too flawed, too raw, and too poorly constructed. And I still see the obstacles in their way to be, while not insurmountable, significant.
Today the Mariners announced they have extended the contracts (for "multiple years") of general manager Jerry Dipoto and field manager Scott Servais. Dipoto has also been given the additional title of President of Baseball Operations. Both men were on existing contracts that expired at the end of this season.
The trade deadline may have come and gone, but the Mariners nevertheless acquired a new reliever today. Former Oakland A and Washington National southpaw Sean Doolittle joins the M's on a waiver claim after being designated for assignment by the Cincinnati Reds. To make room, reliever Keynan Middleton has been placed on waivers by the Mariners and may now be claimed by another team.A two-time All-Star, Doolittle has had a rough go of it the last couple of years. Having missed most of the abbreviated 2020 campaign with injuries (knee and oblique issues), "Obi-Sean Kenobi" signed a one-year free-agent contract...
When Your Seattle Mariners ventured out on their current road trip, they were hanging in there on the fringes of contention after taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays, an objectively better team. Then they went to Dallas-Ft. Worth and swept the Rangers in a three-game set to move to ten games over .500, a season-best, and some in greater Mariner fandom were back to feeling hopeful—they're gelling! They're going to make a run! Our long national nightmare is over!
If ever there was a single inning that encapsulized what it feels like to be a fan of Your Seattle Mariners in long standing, it was last night's bottom of the ninth.
The Mariners are off today, getting a breather before starting a homestand tomorrow against the Rangers and Blue Jays. They seem to need the break—their just-completed 4-6 road trip was exhausting just from the fan's point of view, one wonders what the players themselves feel like after:
My dad forwarded me a Washington Post column by George Will yesterday. Politically, George Will and I don't see eye to eye and I rarely find myself in agreement with him . . . unless he's talking about baseball. On that topic, George Will and I would probably get along famously, it's a subject upon which his conservatism is a virtue.
Toro. It means "bull" in Spanish. In Japanese, it's a fatty cut of tuna sashimi (or, doubled torotoro, an adjective meaning drowsy or syrupy). In the Pacific Northwest, it's the name of the shockingly productive and exciting new switch-hitting infielder for Your Seattle Mariners.
Greetings, frequent and infrequent readers, social media travelers, and those few and valued RSS subscribers.
The trade deadline has come and gone and the stretch run is upon us. Aside from the Central divisions, there are close races for division titles and Wild Card berths and there's a lot of meaningful baseball to come in these final two months of the campaign—for some. The question is, will Your Seattle Mariners be among those playing for more than pride as the season winds down?
Just days after his return from a possibly unfounded suspension for using an alleged foreign substance on the baseball, Mariner relief pitcher Hector Santiago has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for using a performance-enhancing drug.
The Mariners may be off today, as they prepare for a three-game series in Dallas-Ft. Worth against the cellar-dwelling Rangers, but anxiety week rolls on. The trading deadline looms at 1:00pm PDT tomorrow and it was strongly implied by Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto—as well as simply assumed by most observers—that the Mariners were far from done wheeling and dealing after the two trades last Tuesday.
Just a few hours after the Mariners made a somewhat confusing trade with the division rival Houston Astros, news of another deal came down—Seattle is sending two minor-league prospects to Pittsburgh in exchange for starting pitcher Tyler Anderson.
OK, didn't see this one coming.
With the Mariners' series victory over the Oakland A's this past weekend—three straight one-run wins after basically conceding the first game—the club finds itself in a position few (but some) of us would have predicted: within 1½ games of a playoff position in the standings in the waning days of July.
We're one week away from the trading deadline, and you know what that means: Lots of speculation, rumor-spreading, and idle dreams of impact deals for the Mariners.
In last night's pitcher's duel between Your Seattle Mariners and the Oakland A's, the Mariners scored a run in the home seventh to edge closer to the A's and make the score 2-1 Oakland. Seattle manager Scott Servais responded to this development by trotting out relief pitcher Rafael Montero to the mound to pitch the eighth.
For their last game before the All-Star break, Your Seattle Mariners promoted their big prospect to the Major League team. No, not Jarred Kelenic, this was catcher Cal Raleigh, who started that game on Sunday and went 0-for-4.
When watching the All-Star Game last night—a game featuring zero current Seattle Mariners—a group of us here at GS.net HQ enjoyed mocking the truly hideous All-Star uniforms and giving our own imagined responses to the inane questioning of the players—during the game, while they were playing—by Fox broadcaster Joe F#%*&ing Buck.
Just a couple of notes as we await the start of tonight's All-Star Game from Denver:
Yesterday I went to my fourth Mariners game of this hopefully post-pandemic season but I didn't stay until the end. Sat in the usual seats, 300 level behind home plate, but my friend Jim was bothered by the overloud sound system, which both discouraged our conversation and hurt his ears, so we left after seven with the M's down 4-1. By the time I got home, the game was done, 7-1. That top of the ninth must've been brutal: infield single, walk, single, single, sac fly, passed ball. Death by a thousand cuts.
It was disappointing but understandable when the All-Star Game rosters were announced last weekend and the shortstop for Your Seattle Mariners, J.P. Crawford, was not among the names listed. Instead, deserving shortstops Xander Bogaerts (Boston), Bo Bichette (Toronto), and Carlos Correa (Houston) were named to the AL squad.
Back in spring training, most observers pegged Your Seattle Mariners in 2021 to be yet another version of the hapless bottom-feeders we've grown accustomed to over the past many years. But here they are just a few days from the unofficial halfway point of the season, over .500 and within spitting distance of a Wild Card position in the standings. As we get ready to enjoy the All-Star break and its requisite festivities, let's take a beat and look at how the Mariners have performed in the first half of the season, breaking things down into a few groupings.
The All-Star Game rosters were announced today, a week before the end of the unofficial first half of the 2021 season (the mathematical halfway point was passed during this past week). It's the first year for the new voting procedures for starting lineups and it worked out reasonably well.
There is seemingly no aspect of Major League Baseball that Commissioner Rob Manfred will not try to monkey with. His latest foray into diminishing the game's appeal is a minor one, but it still irks: All-Star Game uniforms.
If you follow much baseball stuff on Twitter, you may have seen the thread from Dae Shik Kim Jr. last Friday night that detailed how the staff at TMP harassed him and his party for having the temerity to be sitting in the expensive seats near the dugout while being not-Caucasian.
When I was at last Friday night's game between Your Seattle Mariners and the defending American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays, a woman sitting a few seats away from me tapped my arm for my attention. "Excuse me, you seem like you know baseball," she said, noticing me filling out the starting lineups in my scorebook. "Is Seattle favored to win this game?""Oh, hell no," I said. "Tampa Bay is the best team in the league, fresh off a World Series. Seattle is a schizophrenic team with a terrible batting line and a manager that sometimes seems like he's in...
Welcome to another of what some critics on Facebook will no doubt call a hit piece on Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred. Call it what you will. It's no secret that we here at GS.net HQ do not think highly of the job Manfred has done or the manner in which he's done it.
Tonight I went to a baseball game in person for the first time in two years. It's been a long absence from the ballpark—and from most other social and cultural aspects of life—thanks to the COVID pandemic, but with vaccinations becoming common, life is starting to approach normalcy again.
A couple weeks back, we did a dive into the batting splits of what was then the active Mariner roster, finding some interesting things, like Kyle Seager is Superman with runners in scoring position and Jimmy Olsen with the bases empty. But one interesting case was J.P. Crawford.
The last couple of days here on GS.net the lead posts have been about how the manager of Your Seattle Mariners, Scott Servais, tends to screw up, fail to act, or otherwise make unforced errors in strategy during everyday in-game circumstances. Yesterday's was a rant based on merely theoretical suppositions from personal observations regarding closer Kendall Graveman, and I caught a bit of flak for it over on Facebook (always on %&@#ing Facebook) because it was just me observing things that seemed to go unnoticed by Servais, not something backed up by data.
Scott Servais won today. More accurately, the Seattle Mariners won, defeating the Cleveland Native American Caricatures 6-2 behind a great outing from starting pitcher Logan Gilbert and big hits from Jake Fraley, Kyle Seager, and J.P. Crawford. Servais just got lucky when his ineptitude was bailed out by fine glovework from Dylan Moore and Fraley.
The headline above is in jest. Sort of.
Your Seattle Mariners already hold the record for most players used in a single season. They set the mark in 2019, with 67 different names on the active roster over the course of the year. This season's Mariners, who have now played 64 games with 98 to go, will likely shatter that record.
In addition to yesterday's announcement that Jarred Kelenic was being demoted to Triple-A Tacoma and Shed Long Jr. was returning to the Mariners, there was another pair of moves announced today, ahead of the opening game of a three-game series in Detroit between the Mariners and the Tigers.
In a stunning admission of reality, the Mariners have optioned prized prospect Jarred Kelenic back to Triple-A Tacoma. The 21-year-old would-be phenom was brought up to the Majors back on May 13th after just six games in Triple-A. Despite a good second game in the bigs—a 3-for-4 night against Cleveland that included his first home run—Kelenic turned out, unsurprisingly, not to be ready for prime time. His first stint in the Majors was 23 games and 92 plate appearances, in which he posted a batting line of .096/.185/.193.
Watching the Mariners drop two of three games to the Athletics to close out their most recent homestand, it was frustrating to see all the sub-.200 averages in their lineups. At this writing, when the M's are winging their way down to Orange County to take on the Angels, Seattle's active roster contains seven position players out of twelve batting below the Mendoza Line. Over half. (And one of the other five has fewer than 20 at-bats.) That's sad even by this year's diminished standard for hitting.
Well, it seems our earlier assumption that center fielder Kyle Lewis' injury was relatively minor was a bit off the mark. It now appears that Lewis will likely need surgery to repair his latest knee troubles and miss a great deal of time on the field.
The Mariners have made a few more roster moves today, continuing the season-long dance known as the Injury List Shuffle.
How important is Ty France to Your Seattle Mariners in 2021? Critically.
I saw my first in-person no-hitter earlier this month, and even though it was against my team, and thus involved massive mixed feelings, it still felt like an event. First no-hitter! Woooo! Two days later, Wade Miley of the Reds no-hit the Indians. Then during my week in Minneapolis (my first vacation since the COVID pandemic began), there were two more, including another one against the Mariners. That makes six no-hitters this season against three teams: Seattle, Texas, Cleveland. The record for a single season is the seven no-hitters thrown in 1990. We seem destined to smash that mark.
The Mariners are terrible when it comes to swinging the bats. Why is that? Who's at fault? Where should we fans be directing our outrage and our demands for accountability?
Note: I'm still out of action on the bereavement list as well as the dental IL, but so much has happened this week a few brief remarks are in order.
The already popular Mariners' injured list is adding two more names. First baseman Evan White has officially been placed on the 10-day IL with a hip flexor strain, suffered on a diving play in last night's loss to Cleveland. Infielder/DH Ty France is headed there as well, having been unable to adequately play through wrist pain suffered from being hit on the forearm by a 98-mph fastball on April 19th.
Kevin Mather may be gone, but he won't be forgotten for a while yet. The former President and CEO of the Mariners was fired for saying the quiet part out loud one too many times last February, but a newly-uncovered recording of Mather speaking in the months between last year's World Series and the talk to the Bellevue Rotary Club that got him canned spilled the beans about some plans he had that will further alienate the Mariners' fanbase.
Your Seattle Mariners are once again an under-.500 team. Losing big tonight to the newly-revitalized Los Angeles Dodgers, the M's fell below the break-even mark for the first time since April 6th. The 7-1 loss closes out a brief five-game road trip during which the M's won once, a 5-4 victory in Texas last Friday, and brings their season record down to 18-19.
It was bound to happen. It had been too long since Scott Servais, manager of the Seattle Mariners, handled a game as if he were a double agent. OK, that's too harsh. It's not that Scott Servais was consciously working for the other side; he was more of an unwitting agent, what in geopolitical espionage might be called a "useful idiot."
If you follow various Mariner-boosters on social media, you've undoubtedly come across—or generated yourself—demands from fans that the Mariners promote their top prospects to the big leagues. Calls from the peanut gallery to have Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert, in particular, take the field at TMP immediately if not sooner have only been more prevalent with the team plodding along with an historically bad offense and two vacancies in the starting rotation.
It's been a tough week for Your Seattle Mariners, what with losing two of three to an objectively bad Baltimore team, being no-hit by said Baltimore team's one good pitcher, seeing the team batting average drop perilously close to the .200 mark, and then effectively beat themselves in a winnable game in the DFW Metroplex against the Rangers.
We noticed how good he was immediately. First Mariners batter in the bottom of the 1st, Mitch Haniger, whom we’d just seen in a between-innings video talking about his first call up to the bigs (in 2016 with the Diamondbacks), as well as his first hit (a 2-run triple off Noah Syndergaard), saw three pitches and sat down. Then Ty France got to 3-2 and K’ed looking. Then Kyle Seager with a dribbler to first.
You might have noticed something while watching Your Seattle Mariners play baseball this year: They don't hit much. In fact, the M's are 29th of 30 MLB teams in batting average, with a whopping .207 mark. Taken as a whole, the Mariners are basically Mario Mendoza.
In winning the rubber match of this past weekend's three-game series against the LA Angels, the Mariners moved past the Houston Astros and into second place in the AL West standings. Now, it's only May 3rd, much too early to put any stock into who is where in the standings, but at 16-13 Seattle continues to perform above the expectations of many preseason prognosticators, having won five and split two of the nine series played thus far. These three games highlighted both the reasons the M's may well be better than expected and the reasons expectations were so low.
Somewhat inexplicably, the Mariners just designated catcher Jacob Nottingham for assignment. Nottingham had just been acquired via a waiver claim from the Milwaukee Brewers and had joined the M's as an active player yesterday.
Those don't look like walks to me—in fact, Straw, at least, should be another strikeout—and without that kind of umpiring Yusei's pitch count would likely have been low enough to get him through at least one more inning. That he mowed down the Astros so well despite that unpredictable moving strike zone is even more remarkable. As his countrymen might say, Sugoi desu ne.Yusei helped himself defensively too, fielding a Baltimore-chop off the bat of Yuli Gurriel following the one hit he allowed in exceptional fashion, sliding to catch the ball on one high bounce and throwing the runner out...
As we get ready for the Mariners' third game in this week's four game set in Houston, a few minor notes to pass along:
It was a disappointing series finale today, a 5-3 Mariner loss to the Boston Red Sox. Starting pitcher Nick Margevicius, in his first action since prematurely leaving last Sunday's start against Houston four pitches into the 5th inning due to an unexplained discomfort that prevented him from finishing his proper pitching motion, gave up two hits and walked four in just one-third of an inning to register the shortest start by a Mariner pitcher since July of 2019 (Matt Carasiti allowed five runs in 1⁄3 IP as an "opener," a fad that seems to have mercifully run its course).
Social media has been a revolutionary tool. It's a great way to connect with people around the globe. But it's also become a problem in some ways, and when it comes to reaching an audience with a website like this one it can be a real double-edged sword.
The just-completed two-game Interleauge set against the Los Angeles Dodgers was a remarkable statement by Your Seattle Mariners. Had both games resulted in lopsided Dodger victories, no one would've batted an eye. LA's club is the best of the best, Seattle's was picked to lose 90+ games by most preseason prognosticators (though not us). Instead, the M's handed the Dodgers their first experience of 2021 in which they didn't take a lead at any point in a game, then followed up with a pitching performance that held them to a mere two hits.Unfortunately, LA was up to the task in...
Yes, yes, it's early—really early—but at 10-6, Your Seattle Mariners are tied for the best record in the American League and second only to the juggernaut Dodgers for best record in the Majors. The M's are finding their identity, gelling together as a team of patience and determined tenacity, and have been unperturbed by some problem areas of the roster. In the words of one long-suffering Seattle fan, "these M's are fun to watch!"
I'm part of a season ticket group at Mariners Field (formerly Safeco, currently TMP, should be Griffey Park), and because of You Know What I haven't seen a game there since Sept. 2019 (M's over Reds, 4-3); but last month, the man who runs our group, Stephen, told the group there would be a season-ticket presale for socially distanced games in April. Anyone in? Some were. I considered it but decided not. I'd been vaccinated but I tend not to go for April games anyway. It's a time of high hopes but low temps. This year's beautiful April notwithstanding.
Don't look now, but Your Seattle Mariners are in first place. I said don't look! Now you've jinxed it. Oh well.
This post originally appeared on January 31, 2019, at eriklundegaard.comToday, Jackie Robinson would've been 100 years old. He was born January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, and moved to Pasadena, Calif., at a young age. He died at 53. I’m older than he ever got to be. One wonders how long he would‘ve lived if he hadn’t had to endure, and swallow, so much.My friend Jerry, a great writer and better person and huge baseball fan, recently pointed me to this song by Chuck Brodsky called “The Handshake.” It's worth a listen or two or 12:The song is about April...
The Mariners were rained out again today in Baltimore—meaning we'll suffer through another lame 7-inning doubleheader tomorrow, weather permitting—but there is news on the greater baseball front. Or maybe "news" isn't the right word; it's more of a continuation of an ongoing machete attack to baseball.
Since tonight's game between the Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles has been rained out (to be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow at 1:05 PDT), here's something to fill the void, a look at those players who are Mariners no more. We can get back to complaining about Rob Manfred's reign of terror that will result in tomorrow's games being just seven innings long later.
The Mariners won their fourth game of the young season this afternoon in Minneapolis, overcoming another blown save to earn a 4-3 victory in extra innings against the Twins.
In our season predictions post, everyone here at GS.net HQ foresaw oft-injured starting pitcher James Paxton hitting the IL at some point this season. When we couldn't say, but definitely before fellow injured-list veteran Mitch Haniger would do so. Safe to say, though, that none of us imagined the Big Maple going down after facing just five batters and not pitching again for the whole year.
The just-completed three-game set against the White Sox left the Mariners with a 3-3 record as they hit the road for the first time in 2021. After taking two of three against the Giants, Seattle dropped two of three to the likely contenders from Chicago's south side and looked a bit schizophrenic when doing it.Monday night's game saw the anemic version of the Mariners, the group that can't execute with runners aboard but is plenty adept at whiffing at strike three. Tuesday night saw the opportunist M's, ready to pounce on opponent mistakes when at bat, but more than willing...
After Opening Night's wild and wacky role-reversal win for the Mariners against the San Francisco Giants, things seemed to revert to form for Game Two. In that affair on Friday night, Yusei Kikuchi threw a gem, striking out ten over six innings while only racking up 89 pitches, a start marred only by two mistakes—home runs the opposite way off of outside fastballs to Buster Posey and Evan Longoria. (They weren't bad pitches, either, it's not like Yusei grooved them down the middle.) It was a terrific game for the Japanese lefty and he left with the score tied at 3-3.
Game 1 of 162 is in the books, and it was ... weird. Fans in the stands, but only 9,000. Marco on the mound, but also Jeff Nelson and his tiny tiny strike zone behind the plate. Kevin Gausman pitching for the opposition as if he were Juan Marichal. And the Mariners coming back from 5-0 and 6-1 to win 8-7 in the 10th inning, a 10th inning in which free baserunners were used because reasons.
Game 1 of the 2021 season commences tomorrow night at 7:10 down at TMP as Your Seattle Mariners take on the San Francisco Giants. Six weeks of spring training is over and it's time to get down to brass tacks. There are a couple of unexpected wrinkles in the club's opening 26-man roster, making tomorrow's group just slightly different than previously expected.
Opening Day is this Thursday, April 1st, and we are looking forward to a real baseball season this year: 162 games on each team's schedule, no wacky short-season participation-trophy playoff brackets, fans at the ballparks (sort of, at least at the start). It's almost like life is returning to normal. Almost. OK, not really, we're still living in pandemic times for a while yet, but at least we have this. (Seriously, wear your mask and don't screw this up. We're not out of the woods yet.)
Rob Manfred cannot leave well enough alone.
The future is bright for Your Seattle Mariners when it comes to outfielders. The present is a little dimmer, but any youth movement has growing pains; 2021 may see a fair number of those as the building of the New Mariner Dynasty™ continues. Top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez will start the season in the minor leagues (as they should) and the guys on the big club have some developing left to do.
The catcher position hasn't historically been a strength for the Mariners. When the franchise's best players to man the position include a hitter who only got on base at a .309 clip (Dan Wilson), a one-year-and-done solid hitter that was considered a defensive liability (Omar Narváez), and a guy who saw local taverns use his batting average to determine the price of a pint of beer (Dave Valle), the bar for success is pretty low. The club is cautiously optimistic now, though, with a catching tandem for 2021 that should hold its own.
As terrific as the starting rotation has the potential to be this year, the relief corps has an equal chance to be yet another flaming bag of poo left at the gates of T-Mobile Park. It seems manager Scott Servais and GM Jerry Dipoto think so too, as they're opting to carry eight relievers in addition to the starting six pitchers. Since they do appear to have confidence in the starters, they must be presuming several relievers will be required for most games even if the starter goes six-plus frames.
In last year's mini-season, the Mariners opted to use a six-man starting rotation rather than the customary five. There was some logic to this, mostly based on the fact that there was no minor-league baseball being played and the club didn't want to deprive the likes of Justin Dunn and Nick Margevicius of development time. Plus, with the strangeness of the interrupted spring, the long layoff, and fairly abrupt ramp-up to the brief 60-game season, giving the starters an extra day of rest each time through seemed like a reasonable precaution.
The other day I got a one-sentence e-mail from a friend that asked, "Mariners competitive this year?" The only reply I could give was a succinct "Maybe."
Greetings, baseball fans. There hasn't been a lot of activity here on GrandSalami.net over the winter—none, really—but Spring Training is here and the 2021 season looks like it'll get started more or less as usual after last year's COVID-19-disrupted parody of a campaign. It's not that there hasn't been material to cover or discuss during the offseason; just because Seattle General Manager Jerry Dipoto didn't go on one of his trading binges doesn't mean everything stayed completely static. But there were other things going on—a critical election campaign, more pandemic drama, an attempt to violently overthrow the American government by...
A few days back I posted this piece evaluating the Mariners after the 2020 mini-season with an eye toward readiness for 2021. As usual, the post got linked to some of the Mariners fan groups on Facebook, and as usual, more people remarked on it there than here onsite. Considering the attitude of some of those people, I'm OK with that. There are a lot of haters on Facebook.
The postseason has begun and the Mariners are once again nowhere to be seen. What's a Seattle baseball fan to do? In this wacky year of expanded playoffs, most us will pick a team (or a succession of them) to ride with through the World Series and make the best of it. But whom to choose...?
With today's loss to the AL West Champion Oakland A's, the Mariners officially finished their part in 2020’s wild and wacky baseball season. It went about as expected, overall, with some interesting surprises and familiar frustrations, serving its purpose as an evaluation/on-the-job training ground for some players while failing miserably at that task for others. So, you might say the goals were a little different, but in the end it was just another Mariners season, done before October and watching other clubs play for titles. Even in crazy 2020, when you have to be really bad to miss the playoffs.
Happy fall, everyone. Well, "happy" adjusted for 2020, anyway.
The current Commissioner of Baseball, Rob Manfred, is "a fan of the expanded playoffs." He's repeatedly spoken about expanding the playoff format, even before this season, and said during a Hofstra Universtiy event that "there’s a lot to commend [the 2020 postseason format] and it is one of those changes that I hope becomes a permanent part of our landscape."
Commissioner Rob Manfred's office has announced an agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association on neutral locations for this years Division Series, League Championship Series, and World Series. While the first round of playoffs will still be held at the higher seed's home ballparks, the latter rounds will be contained to southern California and Texas.
The Mariners' two-game series against the San Francisco Giants that was slated to begin tonight has been postponed one day and relocated to San Francisco due to abysmal air quality in Seattle. This was done after complaints were lodged by players, principally from the Giants, but also from the Seattle side.
Well, yesterday's opener of the three-game set in Phoenix didn't go as expected—the dreadful Diamondbacks managed to get a win with outstanding pitching of their own while Seattle's Yusei Kikuchi had a first inning full of meatballs that got smacked before settling down into a fine several innings after. Tonight it's fellow lefty Justus Sheffield against the cellar-dwelling Snakes and I'm trying another of these notes/observations-as-I-watch posts. Because it's a pandemic and the air outside is a think hellish blanket of particulates and probably carcinogens, so what else am I going to do this evening?
The Mariners today have outrighted Mallex Smith from their satellite training facility off of the 60-player pool of available personnel for 2020. On paper, he is now assigned to Triple-A Tacoma. The move was not, apparently, made to clear a spot on the 60-man list for someone else.
We've now passed the two-thirds mark in the 2020 miniature schedule, and so far Your Seattle Mariners have done a fairly OK job in achieving their goals in this bizzaro-not-really-a-season. There's been good, there's been bad, and because this is the Mariners, you know there has been ugly. But on the whole they've done all right; thanks to the pandemic and the short schedule and the lack of minor leagues and all the rest, 2020 has been first and foremost about evaluation. Winning will resume as a priority next year (fingers crossed).
Another edition of Notes While I Watch the M's, hopefully less stream-of-consciousness and more cogent-observational-insight. But we'll see.
After a few days of unscheduled respite, the Mariners took the field to host the Texas Rangers Friday night and made them look like, well, a really bad baseball team. Yusei Kikuchi had one of his better starts in this abbreviated season, holding the Rangers to just two hits over six innings to earn the win.
Below is the current list of major league players who have opted out of playing in 2020 due to concerns over the coronavirus, plus a list of players who are known to have been infected with COVID-19. This list will obviously grow and evolve as preseason training camps progress, and we will update it as needed to keep current.
Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto added a player to the Mariners' major-league roster today by claiming outfielder Phil Ervin off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
In addition to tonight's and tomorrow's games between the Mariners and the Oakland A's being postponed, Thursday's contest has also been pulled form the schedule. This doesn't appear to be because the Oakland crew has had any further COVID-19 issues beyond the one case that was revealed on Sunday; rather, it seems to be more of a logistical issue for the A's coupled with extra caution. Instead of traveling to Seattle, the A's will go home to Oakland and prepare for their series with San Diego, scheduled to begin Friday.
The wild and wacky 2020 mini-season, with its expanded playoff structure and small-sample-sized skewing of performances, made for some interesting wheeling and dealing over the last few days. With 2020's oddly timed August 31st trading deadline now behind us, what interesting conclusions can we make?
Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto swung one last trade as this afternoon's MLB trading deadline hit, sending reliever Taylor Williams to San Diego in exchange for a player to be named later.
Well, that didn't take long.
Having already made one deal ahead of tomorrow afternoon's trading deadline—Taijuan Walker to the Blue Jays for a player to be named after the season ends—the Mariners find themselves fielding calls from contenders desiring other Seattle valuables.
Well, I'm a little late to the party tonight, but here we go with the M's and Angels on about an hour's delay. Justus Sheffield going for Seattle against Dylan Bundy, who pitched a complete-game 2-1 victory against hte M's earlier in the year.
With yesterday's game against the Padres called off due to righteous social outrage, today we have a doubleheader. It's a 2020-style doubleheader, which kind of blows—each game will be only seven innings long—but, in the vernacular of the day, it is what it is.
The Mariners have agreed to a trade that will send starting pitcher Taijuan Walker to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a player to be named later.
Tonight's game between the Mariners and the San Diego Padres has been postponed.
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.
Believe it or not, we are now halfway through the season. With a miniaturized 60-game schedule, 2020 was always going to feel weird, and it's been interesting to notice how both expectations and attitudes about the campaign have evolved as that weirdness settled in.
It took them until the season was half over, but the Mariners have finally promoted outfielder Jake Fraley to the team. He is slated to start tonight in right field in Seattle's game against the Texas Rangers.
The Mariners made another pair of roster moves today, placing relievers Erik Swanson and Taylor Guilbeau on the injured list with muscle strains. To fill their spots, the club has activated veteran reliever Yoshihisa Hirano from the COVID-19 injured list and recalled left-handed pitcher Aaron Fletcher from the satellite camp.
The Mariners made a series of roster moves upon their return home from their 1-7 road trip, giving them a slightly different look as they prepare to take the field at TMP tonight against the Dodgers.
So, yesterday's aberration was apparently just a one-time deal. In this afternoon's game between Your Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Dodgers, formula returned:
Well, that was...weird.
The GSAU virtual season that did its best to substitute for the real deal while everything was shut down due to the pandemic hasn't been updated here since shortly after the real season began, but that doesn't mean it's done with. There hasn't been time to keep up the almost-daily game stories and such since real baseball returned, but we will be updating the virtual season in chunks as we press on.
There's a lot that's different about this Mariners season from last year. A lot. From leaguewide (and nationwide) changes related to the pandemic to the Mariner-centric issues with young players getting big-league playing time. But one thing that is thus far exactly the same is the revolving door in and out of the Seattle bullpen.
The Mariners are back in Houston already. Weren't they just there? Well, this sort of thing happens even in in standard-type seasons, so with this year's wacky west-only schedule it's no surprise that such things happen. At least it was on the same trip as a stop in Dallas-Ft. Worth. Efficiency!
If last night's series finale with the Texas Rangers gave you a feeling of déjà vu, well, it's probably because you've seen this before. The 7-4 loss to the Rangers pretty much followed what we can now call a template for your 2020 Seattle Mariners. It hasn't played out like this in every game, but since leaving Houston after the opening series of the season, the formula goes like this:
Will the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball again in 2020? Since a COVID-19 outbreak among their squad became known, the Cards have been in limbo, with all of their games since July 29th postponed. Though no new cases of the virus have cropped up in the last couple of days, they remain quarantined for now. Major League Baseball currently plans on the Cardinals taking the field again starting this Friday against the White Sox in Chicago and potentially playing a makeup doubleheader tomorrow against the Detroit Tigers. We'll see.
The Rangers are not tempting fate again with their roof, it's closed tonight. No heat-carried homers for you!
Not-quite-live from the brand-new ballpark in the DFW Metroplex, the Mariners are taking on the Texas Rangers for the first time in 2020. Rookie Justin Dunn on the mound against veteran Kyle Gibson. Both teams with struggling offenses and iffy bullpens. Only one will win! Let's see how things unfold.
The Mariners made a couple of minor transactions today ahead of their game tonight in Arlington, Texas. They are:
It was a beautiful day in Seattle and, harkening back to the days of the Kingdome, the Mariners played under a roof. Because of a ridiculous protocol that says closing the roof on lovely days is preferable to installing some sort of shade canopy over the seats behind the dugout for the benefit of players seated there for social distancing purposes. Why? I'm going with laziness. You may have other theories.
I'm a little bit behind schedule today, so this is not a live-blog. Not that it matters as y'all tend to see these well after the fact anyway. Can the M's rebound against the super-tough Rockies? Two untried young pitchers starting us off, so who knows what to expect. Here we go:
Back to watching live, some notes and observations from tonight's Mariner game against Colorado, as it happens (though you're likely reading this after the fact)! Yusei Kikuchi on the mound for Seattle, looking for his first win in start number three. Looks like Crawford and White both getting the night off, at least to start off.
Again not watching this one live; it's getaway day for the Angels and I had stuff to do this afternoon. But, since we live in the future, I can watch it now and do my notes and observations after the fact. Onward!
I missed last night's game (gee, too bad), but tonight is a Marco Gonzales night, so even though I cannot watch live, I will take in the entire thing on DVR-delay and do a not-really-live-but-same-basic-result blogging of the action. Let's snap this four-game losing skid, OK? Onward—DVR: Engage!
A few items from the day to pass along:
Just when it looked like things might start going the Mariners' way, the Oakland A's come to town and take three of four, with the last one being both the most and the least irritating. Quite the simultaneous feat!
The St. Louis Cardinals are the new Miami Marlins. Today's coronavirus test reporting, from tests performed over the weekend, bring the Cardinals' total number of infections up to 13 (seven players, six coaches and/or support staff among the traveling party).
Some thoughts as I watch Sunday's game between the Mariners and the Oakland Athletics:
Observations and brain droppings as I watch Saturday evening's tilt against the Oakland A's:
Another day, another postponement in Major League Baseball. As was the case yesterday, tonight's game in Milwaukee between the hometown Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals has been bumped due to more positive test results for COVID-19. One St. Louis player, two coaches, and a staff member traveling with the team tested as infected, in addition to the two Cardinal pitchers that we learned yesterday had tested positive. None of the six Cardinals consented to make his identity known.
Musings and observations on tonight's home opener, a 5-3 win over the Oakland A's:
Another coronavirus case among the Miami Marlins and two COVID-19-positive test results from the St. Louis Cardinals were made known today, bringing the Marlins' total number to 18 players and two coaches and causing enough concern with the Cardinals for MLB to postpone their game tonight against he Milwaukee Brewers.
A few random thoughts/observations from tonight's 8-5 Mariner win over the Angels...
Just a few items for the day:
Tonight's game against the Los Angeles Angels was an interesting one to watch. The Mariners won it, for one thing, which is always more fun than the usual. But it also had a lot of the good and a lot of the bad that we can expect to see as this weird mini-season unfolds.
I am genuinely surprised. The blowback on MLB generally and the commissioner's office specifically over the Miami Marlins' COVID-19 outbreak has actually resulted in Commissioner Manfred taking the Marlins off the schedule for the time being.
As posted this morning, the Miami Marlins are in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. Since posting that article, test results from late last week came back and seven more Miami players and two coaches had positive results for the coronavirus. The personnel involved were not identified. The Marlins' opponents over the weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies, underwent supplemental testing today and both the Phillies and the Marlins postponed their scheduled home games this evening.
Pay particular attention to the transaction wires today. Specifically, the Miami lines. Look for anyone going on the injured list for "unspecified reasons." Check the Phillies, too.
Hunter Pence put the Mariners on the scoreboard with a 1st-inning three-run homer against the Blue Jays today at TMP and Yusei Kikuchi pitched six scoreless innings as Seattle cruised to an 8-2 win over Toronto.
The first few games of 2020 are in the books, and we're just starting to see how both a short preseason training camp and holding games during a pandemic is hurting various teams' rosters.
The Mariners hadn't won a game in Houston since 2018, but the pulled one out today. Barely. By the skin of their teeth.
Shed Long blasted a long two-run homer and drove in another run with a tie-breaking sacrifice fly to lead the Mariners to a 6-3 victory over the Blue Jays today at TMP.
Tuning in to Game Two of the mini-season from the cesspool of the Gulf, Houston, Texas. Observations:
What do you know. The season really did start. Three weeks ago I'd have put money on it not starting, but then I should have had more faith in the abilities of Commissioner Manfred and the other Major League Baseball powers that be to ignore anything that might get in between them and money. Pandemic, shmandemic.
Justin Dunn probably regrets not calling in sick today. The Mariner rookie was coming off a stellar performance his last time out, a six-inning, 11-strikeout game versus the NL East-leading Mets, and with an extra day of rest wanted to pick right up where he left off tonight against the Blue Jays.
Whether it's a good idea or not, opening day is happening, and it's happening today. Empty stadiums, masks in the dugout, broadcasters working from home, it's the weird and wacky 2020 mini-season, for as long as it lasts.
It's official, as of about three hours ago—which is also three hours before the first pitch of the truncated 2020 season—the playoffs will include eight teams per league this year, assuming a postseason is played at all.
The Mariners took advantage of a shaky Orioles bullpen in coming from behind to beat Baltimore 8-5 today at Camden Yards.
After much delay we're finally here. In this bizarre age of coronavirus and leadership by idiots, all of the hemming and hawing over schedule length, pay scales, health protocols, et cetera, is over; all of the logistical puzzles have been solved and the troubles are all behind us, so we're set for games to—
Jake Fraley homered and Daniel Vogelbach went 4-for-6 in the Mariners' 18-hit barrage of the Orioles tonight, as Seattle cruised to a 13-4 win in Baltimore.
For good or ill, Major League Baseball will open its truncated 2020 season this week, and the Mariners are getting ready.
The M&M boys won a game in New York today, but not the ones New Yorkers might remember. Instead of Mantle and Maris, today's 4-3 Seattle victory over the Mets was thanks largely to Marco and Mallex.
The Baltimore Orioles sent their top pitcher to the mound tonight to get back in the win column. After losing 18 consecutive games, Baltimore finally came out on top as John Means went eight strong innings to beat the Mariners 3-2.
Make of this what you will—the District of Columbia gave the Washington Nationals an exemption to its COVID-19 isolation policy, saying players may forego the 14-day quarantine if they become infected so long as they restrict themselves to Nationals Park and their residences/hotels for the two-week period, while the Canadian federal government has denied a similar exemption to the Toronto Blue Jays, so there will be no games played in Canada and the Jays have to find somewhere else to call home for 2020.
The Mariners had a tough assignment today in New York, facing one of the National League's best pitchers in Marcus Stroman, and they came up short as the Mets won the game by a score of 5-2.
Carlos González had three hits and drive in two runs against Mets ace Noah Syndergaard to lead the Mariners to a 6-4 victory in interleague action in Queens, New York.
We're still a week or two away from seeing any real evidence of success or failure in Major League Baseball's coronavirus health and safety protocols, but we are seeing evidence of failure to see the big picture in other ways.
Dodger Stadium was filled with stars. Usually, the LA ballpark has its share of movie and television personalities giving it star power, but today it was the best of the Major Leagues and the home crowd was justly rewarded with a 5-1 National League victory.
Not much to talk about today, but here are a few notes to pass along.
I heard the various preparations of sports leagues to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic described today as being akin to "a press release at the launch of the Titanic." It's not my phrase; I think it was Chris Hayes who coined it. But whomever gets the credit, it's certainly apt.
Sean Manaea was dominant through six innings today as the Athletics prevailed over the Mariners 4-2. The Oakland lefty allowed four hits and walked one while striking out six.
As major league teams proceed with their preseason training camps and the truncated 2020 season's scheduled opening day approaches fast, issues with the COVID-19 pandemic refuse to be ignored.
Evan White reached base four times and scored twice in tonight's 4-3 win for the Mariners over the Oakland Athletics.
Shed Long made a costly error in the 1st inning, leading to three Oakland runs as the A's built up to a 7-3 victory over the Mariners at TMP.
Ramon Laureano blasted a three-run homer into the bullpen tonight to give the Athletics a lead that held up, as Oakland beat the Mariners 4-2 in Seattle.
Marco Gonzales has found a way to prevent his relief from blowing wins for him: finish the game himself. Seattle's ace threw his league-leading sixth complete game tonight as the Mariners defeated Baltimore 5-2, sweeping the series and sending the Orioles to their twelfth straight loss.
Jake Fraley homered in the 6th inning tonight, breaking a 1-1 tie and sending the Mariners on their way to a 7-2 win over the badly-slumping Baltimore Orioles.
Justus Sheffield was dominant against the Baltimore Orioles tonight, throwing eight shutout innings, walking none and striking out 11 en route to a 3-1 Mariner victory.
My, oh my.
Andrew McCutchen connected for a home run into Edgar's Cantina in the top of the 12th inning today at TMP to give the Philadelphia Phillies a 5-4 comeback victory against the Mariners.
Preseason training camps are in session and the season is still scheduled to begin in less than three weeks, but Major League Baseball's preparations for play in the age of COVID-19 are proving to be, well, less than robust.
The Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of an uncharacteristically wild Yusei Kikuchi tonight at TMP, scoring three runs in the 1st inning and making them count, hanging on to beat the Mariners by the score of 5-3.
More players have been reported to have had positive COVID-19 tests as training camps get underway. All-Stars Freddie Freeman, D.J. LeMahieu, Salvador Pérez, Miguel Sanó, and Aaron Nola are among today's new additions to the list.
Evan White drove in Austin Nola with the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Mariners an exciting walkoff victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.
As preseason training camps open up, the coronavirus test results come in. A reported 31 positive tests came in the initial screenings as payers reported to their home ballparks this week, including Cleveland's Delino DeShields Jr., San Diego's Tommy Pham, and Texas' Brett Martin, all of whom approved their result being made public. This in addition to previously known infections, such as that of All-Star Charlie Blackmon and two Rockies teammates and 11 Philadelphia Phillies.
Commissioner Rob Manfred went on the Dan Patrick radio show yesterday and metaphorically stepped on another rake to whack himself in the face. In discussing the lengthy and ultimately pointless so-called negotiations with the players' union—and the animosity created by them—Manfred said this: "The reality is we weren’t going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went."
The Mariners concluded their latest road trip in Boston today, dropping the final game to the Red Sox by a score of 4-3. Rafael Devers doubled and scored what turned out to be the winning run in the 6th inning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mallex Smith tripled in the bottom of the 1st inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games and scored the first of seven Mariner runs as Seattle topped the Atlanta Braves at TMP.
Tom Murphy singled home Carlos González in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Mariners a 4-3 walk-off victory over the Atlanta Braves tonight in Seattle.
The Mariners had an early 1-0 lead, but before long the visiting Atlanta Braves showed the TMP crowd just what kind of game it was going to be. The Braves plated eight in the top of the 2nd inning and kept on going, eventually reaching 17 runs to crush the M's by a 15-run margin behind an excellent outing from pitcher Mike Foltynewicz.
Miguel Cabrera went 5-for-5 today but that wasn't enough for the Detroit Tigers, as they fell to the Mariners 8-5. Nick Margevicius got the win with six innings of two-run ball while Dee Gordon led the offense with three hits and three runs scored.
Dee Gordon and Mallex Smith combined to score the tying and winning runs for the Mariners tonight as they came back to defeat the Tigers in Detroit, 4-2.
Tim Laker has been fired as the batting coach for the Seattle Mariners as part of the team's efforts to change its offensive philosophy. Laker had been the team's batting coach since 2019. According to team officials, Laker's dismissal was tied to the on-field performance of Mariner hitters during his tenure, specifically the prevalence of strikeouts and a swing-for-the-fences mindset among some players.
Stop me if you've head this before, but Rob Manfred is incredibly bad at his job. I mean, picture the worst job you can imagine a commissioner of baseball doing, then multiply that by a factor of five and you might get close to just how bad the man is at the job he's contracted to hold until 2024.
Jonathan Schoop and Miguel Cabrera each hit RBI doubles in the bottom of the 8th inning tonight to give the Detroit Tigers a 4-2 victory over the Mariners, spoiling yet another winless quality start from Seattle ace Marco Gonzales.
Playing through an intermittent drizzle at Yankee Stadium, the Mariners traded leads with the home team this evening, eventually prevailing over New York 10-8.
There is a lot of disagreement among baseball fans. Is the DH a good thing? (Answer: no.) Is it better to hit 50 home runs or bat .350? (Answer: .350.) Do newfangled sabermetric stats like WAR mean anything? (Answer: sort of.) Views on these and many other topics big and small will differ and be fodder for arguments in the bleachers until the end of time.
Justus Sheffield was hoping for a better result against the team that traded him away. Despite a strong six innings, the Seattle rookie took the loss in a 5-2 comeback win by the Yankees in New York.
Luke Voit hit two home runs and Miguel Andújar added a solo shot of his own to account for all four runs scored by the New York Yankees today in their 4-3 defeat of the Mariners.
Daniel Vogelbach homered twice and Yusei Kikuchi struck out nine Yankees over seven innings as the Mariners shut out New York 7-0 tonight in the Bronx.
All seven of Seattle's runs scored via the longball. Vogelbach launched a two-run shot down the left-field line in the 1st off of Garret Cole (5-4), which Jake Fraley followed up with an opposite-field blast of his own to give a 3-0 lead to Kikuchi before he even took the hill.
The Major Leagues have been pretty stable over the past few decades. Though there were plenty of threats by a few ownership groups, the only team to shift from one home to another in nearly 50 years was the Montréal Expos, who moved to Washington to become the Nationals in 2005. But for a stretch of time, teams were hopscotching all over the country.
The Mariners broke with tradition and scored big in a game started by Marco Gonzales, starting with three runs in the 1st inning and ending in an 8-2 win over the defending World Champion Washington Nationals.
Carlos González delivered a clutch RBI single in the top of the 10th inning tonight to give the Mariners the winning margin in their 6-5 victory against the Washington Nationals.
It's hard to keep a baseball website active when there's no baseball being played. There's not even the sort of offseason "hot stove" stuff going on, the only current events to cover are the latest dumb ideas coming out of the Commissioner's office.
Jake Fraley, Dee Gordon, and Evan White each had three hits in a 9-6 Mariners win over the Detroit Tigers today in an offensive display that was a welcome sight for Seattle baseball fans.
Another week, another silly conversation about starting up the 2020 Major League Baseball season. It was already tiresome, but I guess we'll keep doing this.
Jeimer Candelario hit two home runs to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 5-3 win tonight against the Mariners at TMP in Seattle. The Detroit third baseman, who now has seven longballs on the season, went deep to break a 1-1 tie in the 6th and hit a two-run shot in the 7th.
Matthew Boyd has been a bright spot in a dark early season for the Detroit Tigers, and he showed why with 62⁄3 shutout innings against the Mariners tonight in Seattle. With help from relievers Buck Farmer and Joe Jimeñez, Boyd put an end to the Mariners' four-game winning streak as the Tigers took the opening game in the series, 4-0.
The Mariners once again failed to give Marco Gonzales much in the way of run support, but this time Seattle's ace was able to make do with what he had. Thanks to Mallex Smith's 5th-inning double, the M's had just enough offense to give Gonzales a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics and a series sweep for Seattle.
Dee Gordon led the Mariners in a 14-hit attack as Seattle beat the Oakland A's tonight 8-4 at TMP. Gordon's four-hit, three-RBI performance helped make a winner out of Taijuan Walker (5-2), the Seattle starter who had fallen behind 4-3 when the A's mounted a three-run, two-out rally in the 5th inning. Walker survived the frame by getting Stephen Piscotty to ground out and breezed through the 6th and 7th before being relieved for the 8th.
Oakland's Frankie Montas and Seattle's Justus Sheffield took part in a good old-fashioned pitchers' duel tonight at TMP. Both hurlers were on their game, pitching efficiently and briskly as the A's and Mariners fought to put any runs on the board, with the Mariners emerging as 2-1 victors.
My screed from last week about the ridiculousness of these "plans" to start the 2020 season remains true, but the Commissioner's office and MLB ownership groups continue to put forth proposals to get things going. Today they formally approved this idea and have submitted it to the players' union.
Tom Murphy capped a come-from-behind effort by the Mariners today by belting his third home run of the game into the left-field seats in the 9th inning against the Astros.
Designated hitter Abraham Toro blasted a two-run home run in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park tonight to give the Astros the winning margin in a 7-5 defeat of the Mariners.
Zack Greinke struck out 14 Mariners over eight innings tonight and George Springer provided a solo home run to give the Astros a 1-0 victory over Seattle tonight in Houston.
Patrick Wisdom hit a go-ahead solo home run and Daniel Vogelbach drove in a pair of insurance runs in the 10th inning tonight to give the Mariners a 6-3 victory in Houston.
Sigh. It's like there's a new one every week now: A "plan" to start the Major League Baseball season in some fashion amid the coronavirus crisis.
Justus Sheffield did not have his good stuff this afternoon. The rookie southpaw served up eight runs on seven hits and five walks in just two innings against the A's in today's 10-4 loss in Oakland.
A thirteen-hit attack that included a mammoth 465-foot home run propelled the Oakland Athletics to an 8-3 victory over the Mariners at the Oakland Coliseum tonight. Seattle starter Kendall Graveman lasted four innings in taking his fourth loss.
Through eight innings, the M's and A's could get very little going at the plate with starters Yusei Kikuchi and Sean Manaea putting up zeroes except for single runs by each side in the 3rd. Seattle got on the board with a solo home run by catcher Tom Murphy, while the A's plated one when Marcus Semien singled in Stephen Piscotty from second base.Kikuchi (5-2) went the distance, giving the Mariners back-to-back complete games—a rare feat in today's game. He walked none and struck out seven, getting through the game with an economical pitch count of 109.
Marco Gonzales has been a hard-luck starter for the Mariners this season, but not on this day. Staked to an early lead, Gonzales went the distance against a powerful Houston lineup to secure a series split with the Astros.
Carlos Correa robbed Dee Gordon of a base hit in the 9th inning tonight that would have tied up the Mariners' score against the Houston Astros. Instead, the Astros held on to win by a score of 4-3.
The Houston Astros used a trio of homers to score all four of their runs and defeat the Mariners 4-3 in ten innings tonight in Seattle. Domestic abuser Roberto Osuna (1-1) got the win for Houston with two scoreless innings of relief.
As regulars here at GrandSalami.net are well aware, we're running a virtual 2020 season (the GSAU), playing as the Mariners in a simulation taking place via the computer game Out of the Park Baseball 21. Well, it's not just us—plenty of people are using games like the Playstation game MLB The Show to play out fantasy 2020s, including some big-league players. But at least two other sites are running OOTP virtual 2020 sims, The Athletic and Baseball-Reference.com. How do they compare? Do OOTP sims differ much from one to the other?
The Houston Astros used a trio of homers to score all four of their runs and defeat the Mariners 4-3 in ten innings tonight in Seattle. Domestic abuser Roberto Osuna (1-1) got the win for Houston with two scoreless innings of relief.
31,000+ fans at the ballpark by Elliott Bay saw high drama in the 9th inning tonight, as the Mariners threatened to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet ultimately prevail by a score of 4-3 against the Los Angeles Angels.
Marco Gonzales pitched another fine game for the Mariners tonight at the ballpark by Elliott Bay, and once again he has nothing to show for it, as the Angels came back to defeat the M's 5-3 in ten innings.
Taijuan Walker was solid through five innings today, allowing only a solo home run to Joey Gallo, and was enjoying a 5-1 lead when the wheels fell off his wagon. In just a matter of minutes, the Texas Rangers erased that cushion in the bottom half of the 6th inning on a pair of homers.
While we continue waiting out the COVID-19 hiatus, why not indulge in a little baseball quiz-taking? In the spirit of last year's Mariner-centric Trivia Challenge, we present this year's more generalized (with plenty of M's stuff too) baseball trivia quiz. Click below to begin, then when you're done you'll be brought back here so you can tell us what you think.
It took 12 innings, but the Mariners came through to beat the Texas Rangers tonight, 5-3 in Arlington. Tim Lopes drove in Mallex Smith with the go-ahead run to break a 3-3 tie and Evan White added an insurance tally with sacrifice fly.
Notes from around the leagueJeff McNeil went 4-for-4 with two home runs for the Mets today in New York's 9-3 win over Atlanta. The Astros have now won eight straight, having beaten the Oakland A's 5-1 tonight. They are 13-1 in Houston. On the Farm/Prospect WatchThe Tacoma Rainiers also lost in extra innings tonight, dropping their game with Albuquerque 7-6 in 11 innings. Jered Kelenic had two hits and three RBI in Double-A Arkansas' 8-3 loss to Tulsa. Julio Rodríguez went 2-for-3 as the Class-A Modesto Nuts lost to Stockton 6-1.
Yusei Kikuchi pitched seven innings for the win and Daniel Vogelbach clubbed his sixth home run of the season as the Mariners defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-3 today at Minneapolis' Target Field. The victory gives the Mariners their second straight series win after splitting the two-game set with Washington last week.
Dee Gordon, the Mariners' second baseman and sometime-outfielder, was honored today with the 2020 Fred Hutch Award, bestowed upon a Major League player who exemplifies courage and fortitude in off-the-field community activity in the manner of the late Fred Hutchinson.
Byron Buxton connected for a game-winning, walk-off home run off reliever Nestor Cortes in the 9th inning tonight at Minneapolis' Target Field to end the Mariners-Twins contest with a final score of 4-3.
Taijuan Walker took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and Kyle Seager, Carlos González, and J.P. Crawford each hit home runs as the Mariners defeated the Minnesota Twins by a score of 8-3 in Minneapolis.
The Mariners overcame a tremendous outing by Minnesota pitcher Jake Odorizzi to squeak by the Twins tonight 3-2 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Kyle Seager drove in two runs and J.P. Crawford hit a two-run homer to provide all the runs the Mariners needed today to defeat the A's and cap off a three-win effort in the four-game series in Oakland.
Daniel Vogelbach drove in all five Mariner runs today as Seattle defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-1. Vogelbach had been struggling mightily, riding an 0-for-33 streak coming into today's game that saw his batting average dip to .162 and his playing time curtailed. But against Oakland starter Sean Manaea today, Vogey came up big.
The Mariners and Oakland Athletics dueled in the East Bay tonight with runs at a premium. Both Seattle starter Marco Gonzales and Oakland hurler Jesús don't-call-him-Emilio Luzardo brought their A games and made few mistakes.
Taijuan Walker pitched eight innings of near-perfect ball and Evan White drove in Dee Gordon with what would be the winning run for the second game in a row as the Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics 1-0.
Good afternoon everybody, wherever you may be. I hope you all are doing as well as can be expected during our time of coronavirus-enforced isolation A few notes to update you all on what we're doing here on the site with our virtual 2020 season, especially given that there are no encouraging developments in the real world that suggest we'll see a real 2020 season anytime soon, if at all.
This post chronicles a virtual 2020 season played on the computer game Out of the Park Baseball 21. See the virtual opening day post for details on the setup. We’ll be updating this “season” as our coronavirus-enforced life without real baseball continues.
Stephen Strasburg schooled the Mariners in the art of pitching Monday night at TMP in Seattle. The Washington Nationals right-hander pitched 81⁄3 innings of shutout baseball as Washington won 6-0.
Dee Gordon had a banner afternoon, but it wasn't enough to overcome several defensive lapses by the Mariners as the visiting Boston Red Sox defeated Seattle 6-4.
This post chronicles a virtual 2020 season played on the computer game Out of the Park Baseball 21. See the virtual opening day post for details on the setup. We’ll be updating this “season” as our coronavirus-enforced life without real baseball continues.
Smarting from the drubbing they took yesterday, the Boston Red Sox took their revenge on the Mariners Friday night at TMP, clubbing three home runs en route to a 7-1 win.
A few days ago, Major League Baseball was discussing a 2020 season played entirely in Arizona. Today the talk is around playing a season with all teams using their spring training facilities as their home fields.
This post chronicles a virtual 2020 season played on the computer game Out of the Park Baseball 21. See the virtual opening day post for details on the setup. We’ll be updating this “season” as our coronavirus-enforced life without real baseball continues.
Those that know me well know that my favorite ballclub of all time has nothing to do with the Mariners. Long before I became a Northwesterner, way back in the pre-Internet days, I followed the Majors the best I could from a minor-league town. We had the newspaper box scores. The NBC Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons and Monday Night Baseball on ABC. Cable TV was a novelty, but my mom splurged for it so I had access to a few "superstations" that carried National League games from Chicago, Atlanta, and New York and our local radio carried...
The Mariners were decided underdogs on paper for this afternoon's rubber match concluding the three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox. The palehose were starting former Cy Young Award winner and two-time All-Star Dallas Keuchel, who came into the game with an 0.79 ERA, while the M's went with reclamation project Kendall Graveman in his third start after recovering from Tommy John surgery. But it would be Keuchel that got sent to the showers early, driven from the game after just 22⁄3 innings in the eventual 11-5 Mariner win.
Yusei Kikuchi and Lucas Giolito locked horns in a classic pitchers' duel Tuesday night at New Comiskey Park. The Seattle lefty and Chicago right-hander traded scoreless innings through five full frames, though Kikuchi did it with more efficiency—through five, Kikuchi had thrown 59 pitches while Giolito needed 80.
The last few days have seen some reporting that suggests Major League Baseball is preparing to start the season sometime late next month or early in June. Don't read too much into it, though.
J.P. Crawford homered and tripled to lead the Mariners to a 4-1 victory in ten innings over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium Saturday. Crawford's 3-for-5 performance accounted for two runs scored and three batted in.
The COVID-19 crisis has all rosters frozen (again) for the time being. But with no real baseball happening (though we are doing our virtual season), we thought we'd look into the wayback machine and see what interesting moves happened in the first week of April in seasons past (plenty of boring ones will be ignored). We'll continue this sort of thing in the weeks to come.
The Mariners won their third game of the season Tuesday night, scoring four runs and holding off the Minnesota Twins to even their record at 3-3. Marco Gonzales pitched six solid innings to earn his first win of 2020 while Kenta Maeda took the loss for the Twins.
Taijuan Walker returned to the Mariners' fold in style Monday night at TMP. The one-time prized prospect, traded to Arizona along with Ketel Marte after the 2016 season for Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura, took the hill in his second Mariner debut and pitched seven shutout innings to earn a win over the Minnesota Twins.
Joey Gallo smacked his second 2-run homer in as many games and Mike Minor pitched six shutout innings to lead the Texas Rangers to their second win of the season, a 4-2 defeat of the Mariners at TMP.
Scores from around the virtual league:
We have no baseball right now (no live baseball, anyway; some TV channels and MLB.com are providing broadcasts of old games here and there), thanks to global pandemic chaos, so to keep us entertained here at grandsalami.net I have engaged the computer program Out of the Park Baseball to provide a facsimile.
Today was supposed to be Opening Day across baseball. Alas, instead it's just another day in this holding pattern that will last...months? Who knows at this point. The players' union and the Commissioner's Office are struggling to come up with rules covering things like service time for arbitration and free-agency purposes and the draft in this strange year (how would you like to be the Los Angeles Dodgers, having just traded prized prospects for one year of Mookie Betts and then have that one year be wiped out and he's a free agent before he ever suits up for LA?).
Hi, everyone. Weird times we're living in, aren't they? With COVID-19 having shut down so much of our regular lives, we're all making do as virtual shut-ins.
Nerds of a certain age may remember the Marvel Comics series "What If...?" that was published regularly in the late 1970s and early '80s, with a revival in the late '80s and 1990s. The anthology series took an event from the long canon of Marvel Comics history and turned it on its head, telling "alternate universe" stories wherein, for example, Spider-Man's Uncle Ben had lived, or Captain America had run for President. Well, let's apply that concept to baseball, shall we?
Events continue to unfold at high speed, but here's the latest on the state of affairs with MLB and the Mariners.
Well, that was fast.
We're now just two weeks from Opening Day—maybe—so let's check in once more with how the Mariners are doing down in Arizona. The record is underwhelming at 6-12, but remember, wins and losses don't really matter in spring training. More important is how particular players are developing and how competition for roster spots plays out.
Opening Day is just two weeks away...maybe.
Having hit the quarter-pole for Spring Training 2020, let's check in with Your Seattle Mariners and see who's doing well and how the battle for various roster spots is progressing. The sample size remains small, of course; we're talking a week's worth of games in which players generally get just a couple of at-bats each. Still, it's a starting point to refer to as the spring goes on and we approach Opening Day on March 26th.
Dylan Moore, the utility man currently competing in spring training to reclaim his bench role with the Mariners, is out of action observing concussion protocol after an injury suffered in last Wednesday's exhibition game against the Reds. Moore clocked his head against the knee of Reds infielder José Garcia while diving into second base, attempting a steal.
The calendar will tell you it's still winter time, but as we all know, spring begins on the first day of spring training exhibition games regardless of date. Thus, this year, spring begins in February.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred held a press conference today from the Atlanta Braves' spring facility that addressed the ongoing fallout from the Houston Astros' cheating scandal. It did not go well for Mr. Manfred, for Major League Baseball, or for the concept of justice.
As you may have read elsewhere, Major League Baseball is considering yet more changes to be implemented in 2022. This is in addition to the changes already enacted last year and several that will begin this coming season. And I'm getting pretty damn tired of it.
The rumors proved to be true: The Mariners have reunited with onetime prized prospect Taijuan Walker.
Spring Training is on the horizon for 2020 and we have yet to check in on the Mariners' doings in the offseason since they traded away catcher Omar Narváez a couple of months ago.
As we speculated about last week, the Mariners today traded catcher Omar Narváez. He was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Class-A pitcher Adam Hill and a competitive balance draft pick.
It is not going to be an offseason like last year's for Your Seattle Mariners, with massive roster churn and a constant check of the Twitter feed to find proof of life on Jerry Dipoto when we haven't seen news of a trade in 48 hours. But there will be some tweaking, and said tweaking has begun.
Ballots are cast for inducting new members to the baseball Hall of Fame by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. I don't get a vote. But if I did, I would take the privilege seriously and try to be dispassionate in my selections. Meaning I would even vote for Jeter.
So, how'd we do?
First was Hideo Nomo, in 1995 (no offense to Masanori Murakami). Then a number of pitchers, including ex-Mariners Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Kazuhiro Sasaki. Ichiro broke through in 2001, opening a modest floodgate that swept in Hideki Matsui, So Taguchi, Kenji Johjima, Kazuo Matsui, Norichika Aoki, and plenty of others. Yusei Kikuchi made the jump last season. Next season, a few more veterans of Nippon Professional Baseball may make their debuts in the Major Leagues.Star outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has already been told he'll be posted by his current club, the Yokohama BayStars, for bids from Major League teams. Seibu Lions outfielder...
Next season will see some new faces among the Mariners' coaching staff, but not the wholesale turnover that came after 2018. Having previously announced the reassignment of pitching coach Paul Davis and the release of bullpen coach Jim Brower and third-base coach Chris Prieto, the remainder of the staff will stay on.
Well, that was a fun World Series, eh? The Washington Nationals won their first championship (as either the Nats or the Expos), the Astros were denied bragging rights, and weirdness abounded—the road team won every game (unprecedented); the umpiring was comically bad at times; an assistant GM got fired; Gerrit Cole lost a game; Justin Verlander lost two games; and on a team with Cole and Verlander, the best start for Houston came from a rookie most of us had never heard of.Solid. Too bad it was one of the lowest-rated ever in terms of TV viewers. People missed out.
Well. Ask for an interesting World Series game and the baseball gods provide.
A great first game. A good second one until it got silly in the late innings. A decent contest, if not a really exciting one, in Game 3. And two snoozers.
For six innings, Game 2 of the World Series was much like Game 1: a tight, well-executed battle between two outstanding pitchers and pennant-winning defenses. With the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros tied at 2-2 since the first inning, every hit was tense, every baserunner potentially pivotal, every defensive play important.
Hey, that was fun, wasn't it?
And then there were two.
Now that the Wild Card slots are filled with the conclusion of the WC play-in games—good one in DC, dull one in Oakland—the playoffs can begin in earnest. As we tune in for the four League Division Series starting tomorrow, we may not know a lot about the teams playing; after all, we don't see those squads very often, a lot of their players are unknown quantities unless we're super-diehard baseball consumers. But some will be familiar because they used to be Mariners.
Last week, the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers of America tweeted their award winners for the Mariners' 2019 season:
It's over. The long slog of the season, the Dog Days of Summer, the grind of 162 games. Done for another solar orbit. For the 18th year in a row, Your Seattle Mariners head into October as spectators for the playoffs, adding another number to their ignominious total of years as the only American League franchise never to reach the World Series.
At this point in the season, when only the very last playoff spots have yet to be clinched and most teams are just playing out the string, things take on a less meaningful aura. I mean, this is sports, and in the grand scheme of things it's all not-that-meaningful, but you get the point. In the case of the just-completed two-game mini-series between the Mariners and Houston Astros, things were even less meaningful: The Astros are already American League West division champions again and the Mariners have been rooted in last place for a while and are assured of finishing there.
The Baltimore Orioles are, by record, the second-worst team in the Major Leagues, behind only the 4½ games worse Detroit Tigers. The Mariners had already beaten them three out of four times earlier in the summer, and coming off a sweep of the not-as-bad-but-still-not-good Pittsburgh Pirates, one could be forgiven for thinking the M's would take their final road trip of the season in impressive fashion. Instead, Seattle dropped two of three to the hapless Orioles and come home having recorded a 4-2 road swing.
With the season winding down and the Mariners hoping to merely avoid the indignity of losing 100 games, this final road trip to Pittsburgh and Baltimore was just what the doctor ordered. Building on their series win at home versus the White Sox, the Mariners' winning streak reached five games with the completion of a three-game sweep of the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
That was nuts.
As this is being written, the Mariners are in the midst of Ichiro Weekend, three days of celebrating the career and achievements of one Ichiro Suzuki. One because, well, there are many people in the world named Ichiro Suzuki—"Ichiro" translates to "first son," of which there are lots, and Suzuki is the second-most common surname in Japan—there is and will be only one Ichiro, and he played the bulk of his Hall of Fame MLB career as a Seattle Mariner.
The Cincinnati Reds are not an intimidating team, but they are Major Leaguers and just a few days ago many of the Seattle Mariners were not. So taking two of three in this Interleague matchup is meaningful, in a couple of ways.
I'm part of a season ticket group that meets every March to divvy up the season's games and talk about the year ahead. Mostly it's gallows humor. It's a good bunch of guys, with good humor and a deep knowledge of baseball history. I tend to buy tickets to 10 Mariner games, and last night was my last for the season. It was also the first time I ever saw the Cincinnati Reds live. I think. I grew up in an AL city.
Nobody expected much. It was already a mismatch on paper, with Houston sporting one of the best records in baseball as they approach 100 wins yet again, Seattle flailing along in last place on their way to 100 losses. The Astros were 12-1 against the Mariners in the season series. They had Cy Young favorites Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole scheduled over the weekend. But, you know, it's baseball in the big leagues, upsets happen.
Though it still feels a bit weird to say, the Chicago Cubs are a very good team. Meanwhile, as we are completely accustomed to saying, the Seattle Mariners are . . . not. So it's not surprising that the Cubs swept the M's in their brief two-game set at Wrigley Field.
In what was the final series played by the Mariners in the current home of the Texas Rangers (they'll open a new retractable-roof facility next season), Seattle manager Scott Servais decided to be charitable and allow the Rangers to split the four games. At least, that's one theory.
So after the M’s managed to tie the game in the bottom of the 4th with a 2-run homer by Kyle Seager that eked out over the outstretched supertall glove of Aaron Judge in right field, making it 2-2, and the teams switched sides, I wondered how long before the Yankees retook the lead.
In three games against the New York Yankees, the Mariners were hopelessly outmatched and lost all three contests. Pitchers Tommy Milone, Yusei Kikuchi, and Justus Sheffield each served up five earned runs to the New Yorkers in their starts (or "headline game" in Milone's case), while the Yankees' starters were much sharper.
The annual Canadian Invasion came down this past weekend to see the Mariners host the Toronto Blue Jays just a week after the two teams played out in Ontario. Like in that earlier series, the M's won two out of three with the rubber match featuring a brilliant pitching performance by the Seattle starter.
The trade deadline may have come and gone, but the roster of the 2019 Mariners continues to be fluid.
The Mariners arrived in St. Petersburg looking for revenge, and they nearly got it.
Getting back to the digression from a few weeks back, when I took off on a week-long east coast non-Mariner road trip, a look at new Yankee Stadium. This is out of order, as we went to Philadelphia before New York (and after Washington), but I still don't have my Philly photos available, so I'm shuffling the deck a bit.
This was the guy.
The Mariners needed a break, and the Detroit Tigers obliged. Seattle had dropped eight of their last nine games coming into Detroit, some by rather irritating fashion, and three against the worst team in the Majors was a welcome turn of events. It wasn't a sweep, as it was when the Tigers visited the Northwest, but the M's will gladly take two wins out of three at this point of the lost 2019 campaign.
Last Tuesday, after Omar Narváez lined a single to right in the 7th inning, breaking up Dinelson Lamet's bid to become the first pitcher in San Diego Padres history to throw a no-hitter (the only MLB team that doesn't have one), and after the Padres scored 3 more in the top of the 8th, making it 8-0, there didn't seem to be much for a Mariners fan on a lovely Tuesday Seattle night to root for. But then baseball happened.
It was Edgar Martínez Hall of Fame weekend the last few days at the ballpark by Elliott Bay, with celebrations, giveaway goodies, and a speech by the newly-minted Hall of Famer himself on Saturday during pregame activities. The honors for Edgar were fun and, of course, well-deserved, and we look forward to next year's unveiling of the new statue of Edgar commemorating "The Double" from the 1995 ALDS that was announced on Saturday.
This is not a good year for Your Seattle Mariners. At least, not at the big-league level, and not by the standard metric of, you know, winning. But there are other ways to gauge progress, especially when the club is in the midst of a rebuild.
The Mariners returned home Tuesday and began a new homestand with two games against their ostensible/former Inerleague "natural rivals," the San Diego Padres, a team that has given them fits over the last couple of years. The teams split the two-game set, giving the M's a 1-7 record vs. San Diego since 2018.
I left town for a week, and so did the Mariners. I think I fared better overall.
Another season, another Mariner infielder suspended for PED use. It was announced this morning that Tim Beckham has been caught violating the MLB/MLBPA drug policy. He has been suspended for 80 games, or the rest of this season plus 32 games to start next season, assuming he gets a contract for 2020.
Apologies. I had intended to post more frequently during my just-completed non-Mariners road trip, but circumstances—including 15-inning games, wifi failures, camera battery issues, and other stuff—hindered that plan. But I have returned now, and all the tech necessary is available and time is less restricted.
This week's non-Mariners road trip began with two games at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. Both games were against the Atlanta Braves and both were won by the visitors, though the home Nats did make things interesting at the end of the contests.Some thoughts on Nationals Park as a facility:
Greetings from our nation's capitol, where while attending the Nationals-Braves game this afternoon grandsalami.net kept tabs on all the wheeling and dealing as today's 1:00pm PDT MLB trading deadline approached. The Mariners were involved in a couple of notable deals (one involving the Nationals, as it happens).
For the next week or so, things here at grandsalami.net might seem a little off. I am joining a couple of friends in taking a trip to see other teams in other parks, placing the Mariners on the back burner for the duration. There will still be posts and info, but some of it will be about games at Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium.
Your Seattle Mariners were having, to be blunt, a miserable July. A week ago they were at 3-11 for the month, nearly the reverse of that blissful 13-2 opening run at the start of the season and about as fun to watch as wood rotting in the rain. But: This was a good week.It began with the badly-slumping Texas Rangers giving the M's their first series win since taking two of three in Milwaukee in June and continued with a gift from the scheduling gods, a four-game set against the Detroit Tigers, owners of the worst record in the big leagues.
The Texas Rangers rolled into town having lost seven in a row and losers of 12 of their last 16. The Mariners began the series having lost 15 of their last 19. It was to be a clash of ciphers, and so it was, with the M's ending up winners of two out of three on the strength of the pitching of Marco Gonzales and Mike Leake.
With the merciful end of today's loss to the Los Angeles Angels, the Mariners bid adieu to their AL West rivals for the season. Due to the quirky schedules we get nowadays, there always seems to be something odd with the Angels' dates on the calendar—last year all three of their visits to Seattle were done with before the M's set foot in Orange County, for example—and this year it's that the season series is done with on July 21st.
I wasn't supposed to be at tonight's Mariners-Angels game. In my season ticket group's draft, this game went to another guy, Grant. But Grant decided to head to Cooperstown to see Edgar Martínez get inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, so he put tonight's tix up for grabs and I said, sure, I'll take ’em, even though it is the frickin' Angels AGAIN and not even a Marco Gonzales game.
On the heels of an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Angels down in Orange County, the Mariners were pasted good in a two-game set in the East Bay. The Oakland A's outscored the M's 19-4 in the two games, making the umpiring problem in Tuesday night's contest nothing but a footnote.
The Mariners returned to action following the All-Star break with a three-game set in Anaheim against the Angels, and it was ugly. Not only were the Mariners swept, they were also no-hit in the first game. Mike Leake had his monthly meltdown, Wade LeBlanc served up a pair of home runs in three innings, and Matt Carasiti relieved Yusei Kikuchi and predictably allowed all inherited runners to score before Anthony Bass came in and did what he does best: put runners on and take the loss in a game.
I was recently asked by friend of the site Mike Putnam (hi, Mike) for some info on how former Mariners who were traded way since last season were doing as compared to the guys they were traded for. That's a bit of an involved question, really, since by this point a few guys have been traded for other guys who have since been traded for yet other guys. So, since we're in the All-Star break, this seems a good time to do a dive into it.
Friday night the Mariners were undone by a defensive error and a poor relief choice. Saturday Marco Gonzales turned in a gem. And Sunday Scott Servais played with matches and gasoline again by using an "opener." So went the final series of the unofficial first half of the season, the Oakland A's taking two of three as we head into the All-Star break.
The just-completed Interleague series vs. the St. Louis Cardinals was a frustrating experience from before the first pitch of the first game, and not just because I was prevented from getting into the ballpark on time Tuesday night because of an electronic ticketing fiasco. In the greater Mariner fan universe, we were given yet another experiment with "the opener" Tuesday (and Thursday), which was enough to make one shake one's fist and scream into the void and diminish any expectations of things getting better.
The 2019 All-Star Game will be played a week from tomorrow in Cleveland, and Your Seattle Mariners will be represented by everyone's favorite sandwich inspiration, Daniel Vogelbach. Vogey earned his selection with a mid-year OPS of .898, 20 home runs, and 48 RBI.
On the heels of their promising series win in Milwaukee, the Mariners took on the Astros in Houston for three games to remind us all why this season has been so disappointing.
Prior to the Mariners' series win against the low-hanging fruit known as the Baltimore Orioles last weekend, the club had gone 7-11 in the month of June. Taking three of four from the awful Orioles may have given the M's a morale and confidence boost, because they just won a more challenging series, taking two of three from the contending Milwaukee Brewers for their first Interleague wins of the year.
If only the Mariners could face Baltimore pitching every day.
Today's 8-4 loss to the worst team in the big leagues, the Baltimore Orioles, marks the halfway mark of the Mariners' 2019 season, at least in terms of games played. 50% through the campaign, the M's sit at a fairly unpleasant 34-47, last in the American League West at 15½ games behind division-leading Houston. On the surface, this seems like a horrid season for Seattle baseball, particularly after a surprisingly strong start that saw Seattle atop the leaderboards and nearly undefeated in the first few weeks and fall hard and fast off a cliff after the stellar 13-2 early record.
After another opener-fueled defeat and a blowout loss behind the ever-mysterious Yusei Kikuchi, the Mariners remembered that the Royals had an eminently beatable pitching staff and teed off on KC's erstwhile ace, Brad Keller, in yesterday's series finale to reclaim a modicum of self-esteem and halt their losing streak at two.
The Mariners completed their latest road trip of inefficient mileage—Anaheim-Minneapolis-Oakland—at 5-4, their first over-.500 road trip since April 5-11. After taking two of three from the Angels and dropping two of three to the Twins, Seattle won the rubber match against the Athletics Sunday afternoon by a score of 6-3.
Adiós to the Accidental Mariner.
Within the last half hour, 1B/DH Edwin Encarnación has been traded to the New York Yankees. Details are still forthcoming, and a more involved post will be available later tonight. All that is known right now is that the "Accidental Mariner" is a Mariner no more, he is a Yankee.
The "opener." The "headliner." You may have heard these terms being bandied about lately on Mariner and other Major League teams' broadcasts or read them elsewhere in the baseball press. It refers to a fad—some would charitably call it a "strategy"—that has become increasingly popular among big-league managers this season and that has infected Scott Servais and the Mariners over the past couple of weeks.
In a callback to happier times, the Mariners won a series last weekend. In taking two out of three from the Angels on their home turf in Anaheim, Seattle brought its win-loss record to 28-41—still rather pathetic but hey, a win's a win.
A quick roundup of Mariner roster moves and almost-moves over the past few days:
No one had much hope for success in the just-completed four-game series versus the first-place Houston Astros. The M's had just dropped five straight series with an overall 3-14 record and were looking like the 1962 Mets.
Mariners great Edgar Martínez signed hundreds of copies of his new book, EDGAR: An Autobiography (co-written with Larry Stone) this evening at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. The book will officially be released next week, but those at EBBC got an advance opportunity to purchase the book and have it signed by the new Hall of Famer.
Thanks to all who entered our contest to win a free copy of Edgar Martínez's new book, EDGAR! Whether you are a winner or not, we encourage you to be on hand at the Elliott Bay Book Co. tomorrow evening, Wednesday June 5th, 2019 at 6:00pm. Edgar will be signing his book, along with his co-author Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. Tickets to the signing are $28, which includes a copy of the book. Check-in begins at 4:30 and a large crowd is expected, so it's recommended you arrive early if possible.
In dropping three of four to the Angels this weekend, the Mariners continued to look more like the Bad News Bears than a Major League baseball team.
The trade we reported on yesterday involving outfielder/first-baseman Jay Bruce was completed today, with Bruce headed to join the Philadelphia Phillies. To take Bruce's roster spot, outfielder Braden Bishop was recalled form Triple-A Tacoma.
Outfielder/first-baseman Jay Bruce may be headed to Philadelphia. According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Mariners and Phillies have been discussing a trade of Bruce; Passan had indicated the deal would be completed this weekend, but more recently has amended his report to say that nothing has been formally agreed to.
GrandSalami.net is pleased to promote the pre-release book-signing event at Elliott Bay Book Company next Wednesday evening with the Mariners' own Edgar Martínez. The Seattle sports icon will be signing copies of his new memoir, EDGAR, several days in advance of the book's official release date of June 11, 2019.
The Mariners' latest homestand opened with something we hadn't seen in Seattle for a good while now: a well-played baseball victory. It was, sadly, a one-and-done phenomenon, as the next two contests against the visiting Texas Rangers went into the loss column, but in all three games there were positive take-aways to mitigate yet another series defeat.On Monday we saw the beginnings of the rebirth of center fielder Mallex Smith. Throughout the series, Smith has been the player the M's thought they were getting when they shipped Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia to Tampa Bay last fall: a leadoff man...
The Mariners ended their latest road trip with a whimper today, spoiling a decent start from Mike Leake by failing to hit baseballs against the Oakland A's. Though they fell behind early on a couple of Oakland home runs, the game was close for most of it, with a score of 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning before the bullpen let it get away; it's just that the Mariners can't score runs without hitting balls over the fence.
The Mariners are a bad team. If we didn't know it already, getting swept in this three-game series by the Texas Rangers let us know.
The Mariners today made several more changes to their active roster. Infielders Dee Gordon and Ryon Healy have been placed on the 10-day injured list—Gordon due to lingering pain from being hit by a pitch in New York two weeks ago and Healy due to a lower back strain—reliever Parker Markel has been optioned down to Triple-A Tacoma, utilityman Dylan Moore has been activated from his stint on the injured list, and infielder Shed Long and pitcher Tommy Milone have been promoted from Tacoma to the big-league club.
When reliever Anthony Swarzak entered a game against the Twins last week in Seattle, an encouraging cheer was heard in the upper deck of the ballpark by Elliott Bay: "Swarzak! Raise your trade value!"He didn't, really, despite his one scoreless inning of work, but he was nevertheless traded today. Swarzak will head to Atlanta, where he'll join a similarly middling bullpen for a team that has some potential. In exchange, the Braves are sending left-handed reliever Jesse Biddle to the Mariners.Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto has a tendency to seek out potentially undervalued players and reclamation projects, and Biddle fits that profile.
Remember back when the Mariners were taking baseball by storm, the early surprise in the Majors with a 13-2 record that was this close to being 15-0? Yeah, fun times. It might seem now like those days were back in 2018, but really it was just a little over a month ago. Mariner fans were riding high, thinking this whole "step back," "sort-of-rebuild year" thing was just unwarranted pessimism.
The Mariners made yet more roster moves today, recalling pitchers Matt Festa and Ryan Garton from Triple-A Tacoma. Both will be available in the bullpen immediately. To clear space for them, southpaw reliever Zac Rosscup has been designated for assignment and alleged starting pitcher Erik Swanson was optioned to Tacoma.
The Mariners' active roster has seen a lot of additions and subtractions since Opening Day in Tokyo, with players seemingly coming and going several times a week, and we're due for some more before today's game versus the Twins.
The Mariners returned home from a dismal road trip that saw them drop eight of ten games to the Indians, Yankees, and Red Sox and slip under the .500 mark for the first time this year. They were outscored 57-41, lost some badly and lost some barely, shot themselves in the foot a few times and were bludgeoned others. It was enough to make one wonder if these M's could ever win another series.
A few thoughts on the first two games of the Boston series . . .
Infielders Dee Gordon and Dylan Moore both had to come out of yesterday's game against the New York Yankees due to injury, leaving the under-benched Mariners in the position of having to play someone at second base who had never played the middle infield. Moore has been placed on the 10-day injured list, Gordon has not (for the moment), but the upside of this misfortune is that Seattle's shortstop of the future can now become Seattle's shortstop of the present.
The final tallies were 7-3, 5-4, 10-1, and 3-1. But the scores don't really tell the story.
Seattle General Manager Jerry Dipoto made yet another trade this weekend, acquiring right-handed reliever Austin Adams from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Class-A prospect Nick Wells and cash considerations.
Last month I said don't get happy. The hot start for the 2019 Mariners was likely a mirage, but there was still real hope that it might not be. The offense was really cooking in the first couple of weeks and the only concerns were that the bullpen would blow up and that the defense would give way too many runs. Was it sustainable? Probably not, but still...
Ichiro is back again.
Well. That was embarrassing.
The Mariners traded minor-league infielder Ryne Ogren to the Orioles for right-handed reliever Mike Wright today.Wright has had a spotty professional career, pitching reasonably well at the Triple-A level and poorly at the Major League level. In ten appearances this year with Baltimore, he's posted an ugly 9.45 ERA and brutal 2.025 WHIP, and last year's 5.55 ERA/1.625 WHIP in 481⁄3 innings weren't much better. At Triple-A Norfolk from 2015-2017, however, he was 17-11 with a 2.99 ERA and 1.152 WHIP (2401⁄3 IP).Perhaps GM Jerry Dipoto thinks Wright was mishandled in Baltimore and better coaching can bring his big-league performance...
Stop me if you've heard this before: The Mariners lost to the Padres.
Having dropped six straight at home, the Mariners course-corrected on their just-concluded four-game series in Orange County, taking three of four from the LA Angels with a barrage of home-run power. This puts the M's back atop the American League West standings, believe it or not, as the Astros had some trouble with their vastly inferior Texan neighbors this weekend.
When the just completed homestand began, the Mariners were the talk of baseball. A surprise juggernaut that won 11 of their first 13 games and were very nearly undefeated, a powerful lineup hitting home runs and scoring at a record pace. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
In last night's game against the Cleveland Native American Stereotypes, the Mariner bullpen pulled off quite an achievement. Well, "achievement" . . . there are probably better words. But the relief corps, known from the get-go as a problem area for the Mariners this season, turned in an eighth inning for the history books.
The Mariners' hot start ran into a cold shower this weekend. The Houston Astros rolled into town and outslugged and outpitched the M's to a three-game sweep and dropped the Mariners' record to 13-5.
The Mariners today traded backup catcher David Freitas to Milwaukee for 23-year-old pitcher Sal Biasi, who has been playing in the Class-A Midwest league.
The Mariners made two roster moves today, activating reliever Shawn Armstrong from the injured list and promoting fellow right-hander Ruben "R.J." Alaniz from Triple-A Tacoma. Pitchers Erik Swanson and Matt Festa were sent to Tacoma to make room.Armstrong was expected to be a significant contributor to the Seattle bullpen from the get-go, but landed on the IL just before the club opened the season in Tokyo with an oblique strain. The career reliever spent the bulk of last season with Tacoma, where he went 2-5 with a brilliant 1.77 ERA, and impressed with the big club after a promotion to...
With today's wild extra-inning victory over the Kansas City Royals in the books, the Mariners come home riding a six-game winning streak and an incredible overall record of 13-2. They have set a Major League record for most games with a home run to start a season; they lead the American League in runs scored, hits, batting average, on-base percentage, home runs, total bases, stolen bases, walks (and hit batters), and runs batted in; and under the radar, their pitching staff leads the league in saves and is second to Houston in quality starts.
Greetings, loyal readers. In this, the second year of the new iteration of The Grand Salami, e.g. the online-only era, I continue to do my best to keep you, the Mariner fanbase, informed and entertained. Alas, I am mostly doing it on my own, as getting volunteers to write for the site is, understandably, a hard sell. The site is still operating well into the red and there's no budget for writers. I want to change all that, but getting out of the red is a challenge, and I would like your help and indulgence.
After pitching two innings in yesterday's drubbing of the Royals, reliever Chasen Bradford went on the injured list today with shoulder inflammation. Bradford had been one of the Mariners' more effective relievers in the early season. The injury is considered to be mild and he isn't expected to be out more than the minimum 10 days.
Don't look now, but Your Seattle Mariners are the best team in the American League.
The Mariners have activated right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak from the injured list today, He will be available in the bullpen for tonight's tilt against the Angels.
We're just six games into the season, and General Manager Jerry Dipoto has already made two trades. The first, last Friday, brought in backup catcher Tom Murhpy. Today's deal with the Texas Rangers nets the Mariners relief pitcher Connor Sadzeck (not to be confused with Anthony Swarzak).Sadzeck has had a brief taste of the big-leagues—91⁄3 innings with the Rangers last season—but has little experience above Double-A. Last season he threw 38 innings for Round Rock in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he was uninspiring (5-3, 4.03 ERA, 1.368 WHIP) but not terrible.
Well, this was a home-opening series for the books, wasn't it? The World Champion Red Sox come to town with their vaunted starting pitching and stacked lineup to face the don't-call-it-rebuilding-it's-just-we're-kind-of-in-between-good-years Mariners and most thought it would be an easy start for Boston; they could bank a few wins here before heading down to Oakland and feel pretty good about themselves.
After blowing a save in the second game of the Boston series, reliever Hunter Strickland was diagnosed with a grade-2 latissimus strain and will be out of action for at least eight weeks. Strickland felt discomfort while warming up in the bullpen prior to entering the game, but didn't consider it to be debilitating until he'd thrown pitches in the game. He was tagged with the loss after serving up a three-run home run to Mitch Moreland in the ninth inning.
It's not even April yet and the always-restless general manager of the Mariners, Jerry Dipoto, has made another trade. This one is small and eminently reasonable: Dipoto has dealt 20-year-old prospect Jesús Ozoria to San Francisco for catcher Tom Murphy.The Mariners began the season with defensively-challenged Omar Narváez as the primary catcher and warm body David Freitas as the backup, so a low-risk pickup for a second-string receiver is a sensible move. Whether Murphy is actually an upgrade over Freitas is yet to be determined, but this one goes into the "why not? Can't hurt" bucket.Murphy was waived by Colorado...
Oh, man, you may have thought. The M's have to face Chris Sale in the home opener? Well, yes, they did, and they tattooed him. Sale may have struck out the side in the first, but he'd be gone after three innings, three homers, and seven earned to give him an early-season ERA of 21.00. What else was interesting today?
It's opening day (again!) Time for the traditional exercise of trying to predict the future and declare, in advance, the winners in this upcoming season. Bill and Tim give it a go, even though we pretend no expertise beyond the average fan's. How good are our skills? How much do we know? How much do our biases show (hint: a lot)? Well, all we really know for sure is, some of these predictions will be wrong.
The Mariners have already played their first games of the season, having defeated the Oakland A's in two contests in Tokyo, but tomorrow they resume action when the other 28 Major League teams open their seasons. The home opener begins a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, the only visit of the year for the defending World Series champs.
Major League Baseball is once more tinkering with its rules. Is that a good thing? Bad? Just weird? Grandsalami.net's Erik Lundegaard and Tim Harrison try to sort it all out.
We didn't know when the game began that Ichiro was calling it quits. That news came a few innings in. Kyodo News had the story and those of us keyed in to Twitter started getting the alerts. The ESPN broadcast caught up to us a bit later, and for half the game or so half the drama was how was Ichiro going to leave the game.
Konbanwa, baseball fans. Are you ready to pull another all-nighter for Game 2 from Tokyo tonight/tomorrow morning (game time 2:35am PDT)?
Winter is over. Well, not technically, but hey, it was nearly 80 degrees today in Seattle (in your face, Miami!) and tonight the Mariners take the field for the first official game in the 2019 championship season. Or tomorrow night, or tomorrow morning, based on your time zone. It's complicated. Temporal mechanics and all. Anyway, come 2:30am PDT the Tokyo Dome will be abuzz with excitement when the Oakland A's take the field as the "home" team against our Seattle Mariners.
With Opening Day only ... let's see, carry the one ... 27½ hours away in Tokyo, it's time to get familiar with the 2019 Seattle Mariners. Who are these guys? With so much change form the 2018 roster will we recognize even a handful?
With the Mariners opening the season in Tokyo and playing a couple of exhibitions against the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants beforehand—M's 2, Yomiuri 0, thank you very much—I thought it might be fun to take a look at not only those Giants, but the Japanese Majors in general. In this modern Internet age, it isn't terribly hard to follow Nippon Professional Baseball during the season, though it does help if you can read a little Japanese—at least enough for the box scores. Some games are even "televised" online, though one would have to do a little work to get around a...
Though officially dubbed T-Mobile Park, here at GrandSalami.net we've chosen not to refer to the Mariners’ home field by that name. What should we call it instead? Thoughts?
Grandslami.net is now featuring prints of Mariner player portraits in the store. Four players currently available, with others to be added as the season progresses. If your favorite Mariner isn't yet in the mix, sound off in the comments and put in a request!
We all know the Mariners have been active over the offseason, generating a dizzying amount of roster turnover. But what have the other clubs in the American League West been up to? What's the competition going to be like this year? Let's take a look.
We all know the Mariners have churned their player roster something fierce this offseason, but what might have escaped notice is the turnover among the coaches. Aside from manager Scott Servais, only two of Seattle's 2018 coaches are returning this season, Manny Acta and Chris Prieto. Everyone else is new.
Looking at the Mariners' new spring training duds and the new uniform set the Marlins have this year got me to thinking about the Mariners' history of sartorial styles. The current uniform concept is, aside from some minor tweaks in the wordmark and number outlining and an early addition of the compass rose on the road jersey, unchanged since it was introduced in 1993. Which isn't bad. It's a nice design, and light-years better than what came before it. But might it be time for something new?
While we wait for spring training to gear up in force, let's take a walk down memory lane and see how well we know our Mariner history. Take the GrandSalami.net Mariners Quiz! When you've reached the end, you'll be brought back here and you can let us know what you thought. Onward!
The lack of activity around baseball this offseason has generated a lot of fretting and anxiety with the Major League Baseball Players' Association, with some voices alleging collusion among clubs not to offer high-priced free-agent contracts. Though the current collective bargaining agreement between the MLBPA and ownership, represented by commissioner Rob Manfred, is in place through 2021, some in the players' union are already talking about a strike if negotiations on the next CBA don't go their way.
Former Mariner pitcher Doug Fister has retired from baseball, his agent said today. Reported by MLB.com, Fister's agent Page Odle described the decision as "100% family driven," noting Fister's desire to spend more time with his young children. There were several teams interested in Fister's services this year; according to Odle, Fister received Major League contract offers from multiple clubs over the winter.A seventh-round draft selection by the Mariners in 2006, Fister was never thought of as a top prospect but climbed the minor-league ladder relatively quickly and made his Major League debut in August of 2009.
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred today said that the MLB Players' Association's proposals for major rule changes—universal designated hitter rule, draft rules that penalize losing teams—are not under consideration...for now. Rather than declare such ideas dead on arrival, Manfred instead declared that the time for discussing such things is in the negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement. The current one expires at the end of 2021.
Acouple weeks back, we noted that Major League Baseball had proposed some small rule changes for next season and beyond, tweaks to do with time a player would have to spend on the disabled list and time necessary to spend in the minors after being optioned down. Now, according to a piece by Ken Rosenthal in The Athletic, the players' union has responded with a counter-proposal that expands on MLB's change ideas and adds an explosive to the conversation.
Unable to leave well enough alone, the powers that be at Major League Baseball are seeking more changes to the league rules, according to a source that spoke to the Associated Press this week. The proposed changes just heard about would be in off-field rules concerning the Disabled List and minor-league options, and they're not necessarily bad ideas, but these days when I see "new rule coming" I immediately become suspicious.
According to sources speaking with the Associated Press this week, Major League Baseball has proposed changing the minimum length of a stint on the disabled list back to 15 days and adding to the length of time a player must stay in the minor leagues after being optioned down.
At a media event yesterday, the Mariners showed off new uniforms that they will wear in spring training. Instead of the northwest green jerseys and inverted trident "M" caps worn last spring, the new outfits consist of "powder blue" jerseys and a capital "M" against a four-pointed compass on the caps. The caps will also be worn for batting practice throughout the season.
Right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland, last seen in the uniform of the San Francisco Giants, today signed a one-year contract with the Mariners. Financial details were not yet available, but the contract value is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $2.5 million. Strickland, 30, is still shy of the six years of service time needed for unrestricted free agency, so even though the deal is for one year, the M's still have team control through 2021 via arbitration.Released by the Giants last November, Strickland has a career record of 14-14 with a respectable 2.91 ERA over four-plus seasons in San Francisco.
The Mariners announced today that they have re-signed franchise icon Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.It was an expected move, telegraphed all the way back in May, when the team moved Ichiro off the active roster and into a non-player role with the title of "special assistant to the chairman," an invented position that allowed Ichiro to train and travel with the club but not suit up for games. At that time it was clear that Ichiro was not retiring as a player and intended to try to play again the following year.The contract...
It's finally official: Edgar Martínez is going to the Hall of Fame. Announced today, the lifetime Seattle Mariner is one of four new Hall of Famers; the class of 2019 includes Martínez, Mike Mussina, Roy Halladay, and Mariano Rivera—the first player to be elected unanimously.
The Mariners signed two free agents yesterday to Major League contracts, infielder Tim Beckham (not to be confused with veteran Gordon Beckham, who spent the last two years bouncing back and forth between the M's and their Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma) and relief pitcher Cory Gearrin.Beckham, who will be 29 later this month, came up with the Tampa Bay Rays and spent the last season and a half with Baltimore. Primarily a shortstop, he's also logged plenty of innings at both third base and second base.
In a weird but no-risk move today, the Mariners signed Dustin Ackley to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.
The Mariners have officially signed Japanese free-agent pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to a multi-year contract. The former Saitama Seibu Lions star was posted for Major League teams' consideration at his request by the Nippon Professional Baseball club last month and chose Seattle after meeting with representatives of several MLB teams in December.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Mariners are close to signing Japanese southpaw Yusei Kikuchi to a multi-year contract. Details are sparse, but due to the rules of the posting arrangement with Nippon Professional Baseball, Kikuchi must sign by January 2nd or forfeit is right to leave NPB for 2019.Kikuchi had reportedly been open to signing with any Major League team when his posting became official early in December and has met with several clubs.An eight-year NPB veteran, all with the Saitama Seibu Lions, Kikuchi holds a career record of 74-48 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.177 WHIP to go with...
Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto has made another trade, this time with the Milwaukee Brewers. The trade sends outfielder Ben Gamel and 22-year-old minor-league pitcher Noah Zavolas to Milwaukee in exchange for outfielder Domingo Santana.Santana—not to be confused with first baseman Carlos Santana, whom the M's recently dealt to Cleveland—is a right-handed batter, offering some platoon balance to an outfield that had been overstocked with lefties. Since breaking into the Major Leagues with the Astros as a late-season callup in 2014, Santana has produced a career batting line of .261/.349/.458, mostly as a part-time player.
It's official. The Mariners, T-Mobile, and the Public Facilities District all admit what we've known for a while, that the Bellevue-based mobile phone/cellular network giant T-Mobile is the new corporate sponsor of what used to be Safeco Field and will now be known as T-Mobile Park.
Well, that didn't take long.
Jerry Dipoto is bored.
It's not exactly standard procedure for a team that won 89 games to go straight into a massive rebuild. When you just barely miss the postseason, you typically look to improve on one or two areas that could put you over the top, not declare defeat and look to try again in three years. So WTF, you might ask of the Mariners, why are they blowing up the team?
The deals are done, and the Mariners are no longer the team of Robinson Canó, Edwin Díaz, or Jean Segura.
Another day, another big trade for the Mariners. Well, "big"; the word has a lot of room for interpretation. It's big in that General Manager Jerry Dipoto is dealing away another big name, All-Star shortstop Jean Segura. It's maybe not so big in what he's getting back. Or maybe it is, this one's hard to project.The deal isn't final yet, and what the whole package will include isn't known. What is expected is that Segura will be traded to Philadelphia and that in return the M's will get young Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford and not-so-young first baseman Carlos Santana.
With General Manager Jerry Dipoto on another of his trading benders, the Mariners' roster is undergoing some stark change. Though Dipoto is by no means done tinkering—as we'll see, there are still some holes to fill—if games had to be played tomorrow, how things would look on the field?
While the giant trade of Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the Mets is still pending, Mariner GM Jerry Dipoto did trade a closer today. Reliever Alex Colome, who came to Seattle in an in-season deal with Tampa Bay last May, was dealt to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Omar Narvaez.Trading Colome leaves the Mariners without an established closer (presuming the deal with the Mets goes through), but adding Narvaez gives the M's a starting catcher, something they're in dire need of after trading Mike Zunino last month.Narvaez, who will be 27 in February, hit .275/.366/.429 in a part-time...
Reports are flying around the Interwebs (sourced to Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic) that Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto is close to unloading second baseman Robinson Canó and his giant contract onto the New York Mets.
While we wait for the next episode of Jerry Dipoto's Mariner Makeover Trade Bonanza, we thought we'd post a few items from the great history of The Grand Salami. During its 22 year run as a print magazine, we featured player interviews, news of the day, and columns from local sportswriters like Rob Neyer, Mike Gastineau, and Jim Caple.
With so many similarities in the recent trade of James Paxton to the hated New York Yankees to the 1998 trade of Randy Johnson to the Houston Astros, we thought we'd look back on that RJ trade and see what became of it for the Mariners over time. Sure, the initial deal was Johnson for three then-Triple-A players, but what were the ripple effects? How'd those guys do for Seattle?
We've known for a while now that the Mariners' home field would get a new name by next season. Safeco Insurance's deal for naming rights to the stadium expired at the end of the 2018 season and they were up front about not being interested in extending their association with the facility, so the speculation began in earnest last spring: Which corporate behemoth would step up to replace Safeco and brand their identity all over our beautiful ballpark?
More Mariner players may soon be on the move.
Prompting memories of 1998’s trade of Randy Johnson to the Astros, today Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto dealt his team's ace left-hander to an already-upper-echelon team: James Paxton is now a New York Yankee.Much like the Johnson deal made by then-GM Woody Woodward, Paxton was traded for three relatively-unknown minor leaguers, two pitchers and one position player. One of them, left-handed starter Justus Sheffield, may be ready for the bigs as soon as next season. The other pitcher, righty Erik Swanson, has a chance to crack the bigs but will likely play in Tacoma next year, while the position player,...
Seattle General Manager Jerry Dipoto began rebuilding the Mariners for 2019 this afternoon, making a big trade with his favorite trading partner, the Tampa Bay Rays.Addressing one of the bigger questions of the offseason—do the 2019 M's try again with the 2018 plan of Dee Gordon in center and Robbie Canó at second, or do they get a new CF to play full time?—the Mariners acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from the Rays in exchange for defensive wizard and strikeout artist Mike Zunino and reserve outfielder Guillermo Heredia.Smith played all three outfield positions for Tampa Bay last year, most often in center.
Having two Game 163s to watch Monday was supposed to make for a great day, but it turned out to only be half a great day. Yeah, I have rooting interests, and they were only half met on Monday, but regardless of favored teams we saw one outstanding game with lots of drama and one snoozer with none at all.
We all knew it was coming, but the Mariners were officially eliminated from playoff contention last Friday when the Oakland A's won their game against Minnesota. The promise and giddy joy of the first half of the season, slowly ebbing away since the loss to the Angels on the fourth of July, irrevocably crushed under the cleats of Matt Chapman and company.
As I get ready to watch tonight's Mariner game against the Angels (on a delay—thank you, modern technology), I'm wrapping up the creation of a new page on gs.net. Inspired by a conversation I had a while back with friends who are relatively new to baseball, a reference for baseball terminology and lingo is right here for those times when you're watching a game and the announcer seems to start talking jibberish. It might be jibberish—especially if you're watching a White Sox game, Hawk Harrelson is an add one—but more likely it's something you, the aspiring baseball expert, should know.
The Yankees are here for a weekend series, and Salami contributor and world's only sensitive Yankee fan Bill Abelson brings us the goods on the Bronx Bombers. The Friday night matchup is a beaut, with Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka facing off against The Big Maple. Saturday will feature former Mariner J.A. Happ taking on Felix Hernández, while the Sunday afternoon affair has C.C. Sabathia scheduled for New York and a question mark for the M's. It's possible Marco Gonzales will be activated for that one, or Erasmo Ramírez could take the hill.
The Mariners just finished a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, winning two of the contests and finishing the season series with the Orioles at 6-1. Pretty good, right? A series win after some trying times in this second half is something one might think would lift the flagging spirits of Mariner fandom.
It's September, which means Major League roster limits expand from 25 to 40 for the rest of the regular season. Who have the Mariners added? Well, today we saw a number of moves:
I didn't go to any of the three Dodger games at Safeco Field this past weekend. I had other things going on and no affinity or special dislike of the Dodgers, plus I knew the ticket pricing would be exorbitant, so I skipped the series. This turned out to be a good choice.
As the Dodgers pummel the M's in game one of this weekend series, I've taken some time to update some of the more egregiously outdated player profiles.
After dropping three of four to the underachieveing Blue Jays and two of three in frustrating fashion to the Rangers, the Mariners have somehow come back to take the first three of a four-game series in Houston against the first-place Astros. It's been a huge lift for the club and, frankly, for a fan base that was all but giving up on what has been a tremendous season until the past month or so.Credit manager Scott Servais for trying something different and shaking up his lineup for the Houston series.
In addition to the standard update to the page for the current opposing team, player profiles for Felix Hernández, Denard Span, Zach Duke, and Ryon Healy have been updated/added. Others are still out of date and need attention, I know. If anyone wants to volunteer their help with that, I'm open to it...
Well, that was ugly.
The Mariners were on a winning streak (technically). Now they're not. The sad post-Independence Day fall from grace continues. There's still time for a recovery, but getting thumped by the Rangers is depressing.
The Mariners are on a winning streak. Not an impressive one, sure, but two games is technically a streak. And with the way the M's have performed since they broke their last actual win streak—eight games—on July 4th, two in a row feels like a notable achievement. We all hope this is the beginning of the resurgence Seattle needs to reclaim its playoff standing, but a win like tonight's doesn't do much to calm the nerves of the Mariner still-for-now-but-for-how-much-longer-faithful.
With yesterday's loss to the woeful Toronto Blue Jays, The Mariners have been overtaken by the Oakland A's in the Wild Card race. The M's had held either first place in the division or a Wild Card position from May 18th through August 1st, but after their fantastic June—when they won 19 out of 28—they stumbled badly, playing under .500 for the month of July (10-13) and they've now dropped the first two games in August. Meanwhile, Oakland has surged, going 18-8 since July 1st, and the Astros and Yankees have held their own to hold onto their playoff positions.
The player profiles section has been updated to include the new arrivals—Sam Tuivailala, Adam Warren, Zach Duke, and Cameron Maybin.
July trade season is now over, and it was busy for Major League general managers. Some of the players we speculated about switched teams, some didn't, but all in all, there were 45 trades made since the All-Star Game (July 17th). Many involved the typical rental-type players, but there were some surprising longer-term deals among them too. Here's a quick wrap-up of the moves made by contenders and would-be contenders:
As today's 1:00pm trading deadline approached, GM Jerry Dipoto was, naturally, still working the phones. His efforts landed the Mariners one more piece as we head into the dog days of August, outfielder Cameron Maybin.