Splish slash Present and future Mariners give Royals a bath, win 4-1.
Chris Flexen, Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic. They were the heroes of the night, who scored a relatively easy victory that could easily have, in another year, been a hard-won one. Instead, with a decent roster, Seattle picked up a 4-1 victory. It’s something they’ve made more commonplace, despite last night’s debacle. And yet, tonight, the Seattle Mariners won a game on the back of two under-23 players and a rejected pitcher.
Chris Flexen deserves the first focus. In a way, it deserves all the attention. With every fiber of my being, as a 28-year-old millennial, munching avocado toast, I respect and adore rookie pitchers who can work deep into games. It’s my favorite kind of sport, one that showcases a specific talent: endurance combined with effective elicitation of soft touch. After being handed his things, then the donkey kicked across the room by the Minnesota twins and the Houston Astros, Flexen locked in and reaped the rewards of better localizing his shots at the same time as facing a lesser opponent. the Kansas City Royals were baffled by 90-91mph fastballs time and time again, and Flexen reveled in their wandering. It was a resume builder of a Flexen performance, 7.0 innings pitched, no walk, only five strikeouts but only one run allowed, a home run to, who else, Salvador Perez. There’s no intention of Flexen’s batting KBO maven past returning, but in a world where the ball seems deader than Rasputin, the soft-throwing right-hander did exactly what Seattle hoped he could. to an aggressive Kansas City squad. Unlike their AL Central counterparts in Minnesota and Chicago, KC threatens a lot of contacts but far less power, and for a bad contact provider like Flexen, that is and was a gift. The seven innings he worked rarely felt stressed, a double from Hunter Dozier in the second and a first-and-second scenario with an out on soft ground and a bunt the only runners in scoring position allowed by Flexen. It was tactical, it was a good game, it was a favorable situation that Seattle took advantage of, something Well teams do.
Offensively, the M’s had a similar opportunity. Brad Keller is no pushover, but he is the dilute extraction of a below average MLB arm. 26 years old and the plumber has yet to establish himself as a quality arm, struggling more with each season. For three innings, Seattle was locked out. Not for four.
In the fourth, Seattle made the most of the opportunities it saw fit to squander Thursday night against Texas. A sharp single from Eugenio Suárez? It was added by JP Crawford with another whipped single instead of being left adrift. With two entrances and one exit, an Abraham Toro helicopter? It’s bases loaded, with Toro blasting down the line to beat a Keller gauntlet deflection instead of a double play. Bases loaded, an out, every chance of disaster lined up, and instead, a sweet release .
Two points on a brace from Julio Rodríguez, on the elevated fastball that had decried him in his first 12 games, not such a misery in game 13. A brace just out of Michael A. Taylor’s reach thanks to quality of Toro’s base running. Then it was the other youngster who received the burden of expected brilliance, Jarred Kelenic. He would not be left out.
A triple out of Taylor’s fleet reach, a round of absolute relief. Two more races, four in total, four reminders that patience is, maddeningly, a virtue. Adam Frazier, Ty France and Jesse Winker went 0-11. The Mariners still won, thanks to the long and competent training they boast and the youth they trusted to anchor it.
4-1 it was, and 4-1 it remained, thanks to Flexen, Anthony Misiewicz, and the simple genius of Toro, JP Crawford and France supporting Andrés Muñoz for the save.
After the franchise-shattering terror that Salvador Pérez inflicted on the Seattle Mariners last year, almost single-handedly preventing them from making the playoffs in retrospect, it’s a balm to see him put down, well, not down. , but helpless. Congratulations to Salvy for his admirable effort, it was finally not enough. Instead, their closest ace and venerable midrange slugger Seattle picked up another victory, even shooting for a division-leading tie after 15 games into the season. There’s little lasting sense to be had at this point, of course, but the reminder that it’s as soon as hoped, and these Mariners can win days less than their best. Every win counts the same.