Smoak On the Water! A Fire in the Sky
I had just gotten home and figured that Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie must be pitching a heck of a game since the Mariners were scoreless through seven innings. Or he might have been pitching an average game – you never know with the Mariners; with their bats, they can go scoreless against any pitcher at any time.
They trailed 2-0 going into the bottom of the eighth. Last year the game would have ended in a 2-0 loss. This year they win it 3-2 on Justin Smoakís three-run homer in the eighth. When Ichiro reached on Guthrie’s error, I hoped it would be a good omen. I mean, come on now, you can’t give that lethal Mariners’ lineup an extra out! It might just come back to haunt you. Emphasis on ‘might’ because oftentimes, you can give the Mariners as many as three extra outs, and they still wonít score.
But I was hoping it was a good omen anyway. And that seemed like a tough error on Guthrie, who raced over to cover first on Ichiro’s grounder to first baseman Luke Scott. I thought Scott led him nicely enough, but the throw was a little speedier and maybe a little lower than it should have been. Scott probably threw it harder than he would have if Jack Cust had hit the grounder. So credit Ichiro’s speed for creating that error.
At any rate, that allowed Brendan Ryan to smack a single to right to keep the inning going and bring Smoak to the plate. I know this guy has some country song playing when he arrives in the batter’s box, but I’d like to officially suggest ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple. That would be more fun. Plus it applies to his name and I know that Safeco’s not on the water but it’s close enough.
I sat there and actually thought it would be pretty cool if Smoak hit a home run, and damned if he didn’t do it. I can’t remember the last time I let out a ‘WOO-HOO!’ while watching a Mariners game on TV, but I let it out last night and yelled for the Go 2 Twins to come and watch the replay. Very cool stuff – not necessarily what we were doing at home, but what Smoak did at the ballpark. He has made me forget about Cliff Lee – one-third of the way through the season, Smoak’s pretty close to a pace of 25 home runs and 100 RBI, power marks this team has not seen in awhile.
Brandon League closed it out with his AL-leading 15th save. During that stretch a few weeks ago when he blew three saves, who woulda thunk this were possible?
The Mariners are 4-1 on their 10-game homestand and a half-game out of first place in the AL West. I know we’re only 54 games into this thing, but I’m looking at the standings every day. I honestly think the Mariners have a shot at winning the division. I know that Texas has a better lineup, but the Rangers’ pitching is not as good as the Mariners’.
There’s a chance that at 4 o’clock this afternoon, we’re going to be talking about the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners on the Kevin Calabro Show on 710 ESPN Seattle. The Rangers play the Rays in an early game that starts at 10:10 our time this morning. The Mariners play the Orioles at 12:40 p.m. and have Michael Pineda on the mound.
Then they’ve got Felix going tomorrow night in a series opener against the Rays. It’s unbelievable. The Mariners have won 11 of their past 13, and I don’t see any reason why they can’t make it 12 of 14 with Pineda pitching today.