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Mariners 12, Rays 4: A long game that was over early

You could have stayed up to see the end, but it didn’t Motter.

Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Well, that took three hours and ten minutes, but somehow it felt longer.

A Bad First Inning

The best thing about the bottom of that first inning was that no one got hurt. Other than that, it went pretty much as badly as you could draw it up.

Ben Gamel lead off with a grounder to the right side. It was a difficult play, forcing Brad Miller—newly back from the disabled list—to range to his right and attempt a backhanded pickup. A top defensive second baseman might have gotten to it and made the play, but Miller isn’t that. Instead the ball went under his glove for a base hit.

Up next, Guillermo Heredia also grounded toward the right side. It would have been a hard double play. Gamel had a good jump, crossing in front of Miller before the ball got there, so maybe there was no double play to be had at all, and Miller would have taken it straight to first. But we can’t know that because Miller didn’t manage to glove it at all, having the grounder clang off the end of his glove for an error that left runners at the corner.

Robinson Cano worked a ten-pitch at bat where he showed off his impressive plate coverage, fouling off several good pitches that could have easily put another batter away. His walk loaded the bases with no one out.

But Jake Odorizzi is a veteran, and for a moment it seemed like he might be able to work his way out of the jam. He read Nelson Cruz’s bat well, seeing that he had him swinging at and fouling a high cutter, so he followed that up with a high fastball and struck him out. And then Kyle Seager hit a hanging splitter hard and on a line but right to Logan Morrison for out number two.

But Odorizzi would not escape. He handed Danny Valencia an RBI walk, throwing ball four on a high 87 mph pitch that looked wrong out of the hand. And then Taylor Motter, after hitting a foul-ball home run on the first pitch, hit a real grand slam on the sixth pitch—a curve that started in the zone and never managed to fall out of it.

When Odorizzi finally managed to get out of the inning (Jarrod Dyson tried and failed to bunt for a base hit) he had thrown 48 pitches and trailed 5-0.

A Bad Third Inning

Now seems like a decent time to say that while the first inning wasn’t all his fault, Jake Odorizzi really didn’t look good. When he tried to go to his high fastball, it was often too high to be enticing. His splitter, a pitch that benefits from being down, was elevated far more often than it should. Pitches weren’t doing what he wanted them to, and nothing he did was missing bats.

After Odorizzi dealt well-enough with the bottom of the Mariners order, troubles caught up with him again in the third. Cano singled on a grounder, and then Cruz walked on four straight pitches. Kyle Seager hit a fly ball to the warning track, but Danny Valencia found that little extra to get it past the warning track and to extend the Mariners lead to 8-0.

Ryan Garton replaced Odorizzi.

Some other notes:

  • No Sun Sports, so listening to the away broadcast. The ROOT announcer said that Kevin Kiermaier was the only Ray not likely to expand his zone. I’m not going to say that’s strictly wrong until I check more fully to see if the claim can be justified, but, uh, I’m not sure if that’s right.
  • In the top of the third inning, Kevin Kiermaier grounded into short center field, and decided to turn a routine single into an overboogie double. He succeeded, barely, with a good (if awkward-looking) slide, but I’m not convinced that down 5-0 with Longoria up next is the best time for this particular strain of overboogie. Counter point: it’s always the best time for the overboogie.
  • When Jake Odorizzi threw his second curve of the night, the announcers said that he hadn’t thrown any curves. Which was odd because the pitch Motter hit for a grand slam was a curve. You’d think they would have noticed that one.
  • Colby Rasmus got the Rays on the board in the top of the fourth with a solo home run. Then Tim Beckham followed it up in the next at bat with a homer of his own.
  • In the seventh inning, the Mariners sent in the lefty James Pazos to face the left-handed top of the Rays order. But Corey Dickerson slapped a single the other way, and Kevin Kiermaier followed it up with the first lefty home run Pazos has given up this year. That brought the lead to 8-4.
  • But in the bottom of the seventh inning, Danny Farquhar entered and struggled against his former team, stretching the lead back to 12-4, which is where it ended.
  • Evan Longoria did not come back out to play the field in the bottom of the eighth because of “neck stiffness,” according to the broadcast.