As Yeats almost said, “Things fall apart; the bullpen cannot hold.”
For a while there, I was wondering if I should apologize to Jackie. After all, it was the Mariners’ pitchers who gave up those three runs in the eighth inning to give her Orioles hope.
But on further reflection, I don’t think I will. Even after the Ms won the game, the Orioles still had a 57-55 record. Even after winning the game, the Mariners were still eight games under .500. The Ms just needed the win more. And that whole “home teams won all fifteen games” thing is kinda neat. You all know how much I enjoy seeing something that’s never happened in baseball before.
Something else I’m not going to apologize for: Yesterday’s Mariners’ victory over the Orioles. The Os are still a game over .500, the Ms’ are still seven games under. And, more importantly, in a disappointing season, the Mariners gave their fans something to be unequivocally delighted about. Rather, pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma did it.
I talked about no hitters last year when Tim Lincecum did it for the Giants, so I won’t repeat any of the general facts here. A few specific facts: Kuma’s no hitter was the first one in the American League since 2012. The previous one was Felix’ perfect game, and the one before that was the unprecedented “six different pitchers contributed” no hitter. So the Mariners have the last three no hitters in the American league. Nifty.
More to the point, it’s a peak performance for Kuma*. For the past couple of seasons, he’s fought injuries that have prevented him from showing his full potential. It’s a relief to see him overcome his problems and remind us all why we love him.
* I’m on record as believing that no hitters and perfect games can’t be credited entirely to the pitcher, and I stand by that. But even with all the help the team provides in the field, it still takes a pitcher at the absolute upper edge of his abilities–as well as a lot of luck–to make it happen.
So, sorry Jackie. No apologies.
But your boys can rest up on their day off today and enjoy the perfect weather here in the Bay Area. Tomorrow they face the As; I hereby give them permission to sweep the series–regardless of the possible negative impact on the Mariners’ planned September miracle–because that’s just how I feel about the As.
The Mariners also have today off–they’re heading for Boston–and I’ll spend today savoring yesterday’s display of brilliance.