I may have to find a new team to cheer on. Being a Royals fan is turning me into a grumpy, depressed person. (but I’ll still track their march to 100 losses at http://breaking-100.blogspot.com).
I watched the Mariners / Texas Rangers game last night. When I turned it on, the Rangers were leading 6-2 in the top of the eighth. Now, I’ve watched enough Royals games to know that when you’re down 4 runs in the eighth, the game is over. Your pitchers start walking batters and giving up base hits galore, and your batters quietly make outs.
But, this game was different. Even though Kevin Millwood had kept the Mariners in check, when he came out to pitch the eighth, I could see that the Mariners were taking a different approach. They were very patient, knowing that Millwood was probably beginning to tire. They got a couple of hits, forcing Buck Showalter to bring in Antonio Alfonseca (if you think Runelvys Hernandez looks portly, check out Alfonseca).
When Alfonseca entered the game, the Mariners again changed their approach at the plate. They became very aggressive, swinging early in the count and hitting the ball hard. They strung together some hits and closed the score to 6-4, again forcing Showalter to change pitchers. Akinori Otsuka entered the game and got the third out of the eighth.
The Mariners held the Rangers in the top of the ninth, then faced Rangers closer Francisco Cordero in the ninth. Again, it seemed as if the Mariners had a plan at the plate. All batters had the same approach. It’s not like the Royals where it seems every batter is trying to do something different – some are hacking wildly while others are not.
Ichiro led off by getting hit by a pitch. Lopez followed with a double and then Ibanez hit a monster shot to left field for a sacrifice fly that scored Ichiro. Richie Sexson fought hard and pushed a single into left center scoring Lopez and tying the game. Johjima singled and chased Cordero out of the game. Carl Everett then faced C.J. Wilson and on a 1-1 count, Everett blasted a homer to left field, scoring 3 and ending the game.
It was so impressive how the Mariners never looked like they were giving up on the game even though they were having so much trouble scoring runs throughout the game. Every at bat was well executed and they were able to fight back and pull a win out of a certain loss. These are all traits that we Royals fans haven’t seen in years.
I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to watch a baseball game. I may have to adopt Seattle as my home team.