Game 131, Diamondbacks at Mariners

marc w · September 10, 2021 at 4:22 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Madison Bumgarner, 7:10pm

For what feels like the 40th time this season, the M’s faced what felt like a must-win game, and despite an early lead, you could feel it slipping away. The Astros came back to tie, then take the lead, and extend the lead. The best part of the Astros bullpen awaited. And then, just as they’ve done so many times, the M’s found a way to win. It’s got to be frustrating for the Astros, who’ve outscored the M’s by a mile, but have a tendency to trade 11-2 wins with close losses. All of that means that the M’s are still neck and neck with the A’s, and behind the Blue Jays, who, frankly, have to lose some time.

As a reward, the M’s get to face the D-backs team that they just swept in Phoenix. Toronto unfortunately has a series in Baltimore, but then, the Orioles just snapped the Yankees long winning streak (that feels like it was 3 months ago), so who knows. Oakland continues to grapple with the White Sox, while Houston faces the Angels. The Red Sox are still dealing with a Covid outbreak that’s now sidelined Chris Sale, who’d just returned from the IL.

The M’s hottest hitter at the moment is JP Crawford, fresh off a HR in his last game. He remains a fascinatingly streaky player, who was incandescent in June, then atrocious for all of July and much of August, before jumping back to locked in for September. Every time I think we’ve seen enough to essentially say that the M’s need a replacement to really be a consistent contender, he teases this kind of hitting ability. And then once we’re all comfortable with him holding down the starting SS job for the next 4-5 years, he’ll go O-for-a-month. Strange.

But not as strange as the sudden end of Luis Torrens’ catching career. The guy had a brutal defensive start to the year, and I’d thought that part of the reason they sent him to Tacoma was to work on his defense away from the cameras. Instead, he’s come back and never caught an inning. The M’s raved about his ability to pick up the staff when they brought him over from San Diego, and while he’s never been good at controlling the running game, that tends to be overrated. They haven’t mentioned anything about it, but he just DHs pretty much all the time now, after a brief spell at 1B.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Haniger, RF
3: France, 1B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Toro, 2B
6: Torrens, DH
7: Murphy, C
8: Kelenic, CF
9: Moore
SP: Gonzales

The Rainiers are now 3 games up in the AAA-W-W thanks to a 5 game winning streak. They’re at home facing Sacramento tonight after beating them 10-4 last night.

Arkansas’ Matt Brash (who Jerry Dipoto toyed with the idea of bringing up to the big league bullpen in a radio hit last week) was back in action, and helped the Travs beat Springfield. It was a quiet night for Brash, who went 5 1/3 giving up 3 R on 3 H, 3 BB with 5 Ks. Brandon Williamson starts tonight’s contest.

Eugene got the better of Everett, 4-1. Kai-Wei Teng of the Emeralds went 6 IP with 1 R and *13 strikeouts* – the Frogs K’d 16 times overall. Ouch.

Modesto’s game was canceled due to a Covid outbreak on the Nuts, and today the M’s have said that they’re suspending the entire series to do contract tracing and halt the spread. I’m kind of stunned this hasn’t happened already this year, but it’s too bad that this happened so late in the year.


4 Responses to “Game 131, Diamondbacks at Mariners”

  1. Mike Snow on September 10th, 2021 5:02 pm

    The end for Torrens was actually when Cal Raleigh came up. Torrens continued to alternate with Murphy at catcher after returning from Tacoma until then, but now it looks like Raleigh’s development takes priority. Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily obvious that Torrens’s hitting benefits from not catching, so he’s probably not going to turn into Carlos Delgado.

  2. Stevemotivateir on September 10th, 2021 6:19 pm

    Yeah, I don’t get the Torrens-can’t-catch ideology. Raleigh hasn’t been perfect either and he’s simply not hitting. I’d rather see Fraley DH against RHPs with Torrens catching most nights. What are they going to do if Raleigh’s hitless streak continues? He’s 0-19 over his last 7 games. Not a good time to be stubborn.

    I’ve been seeing a lot of anti-Crawford & Haniger at the top of the order sentiment lately as well. Not sure where it’s coming from as both have been getting on base the last couple of weeks.

  3. bookbook on September 10th, 2021 11:32 pm

    I think the deal is that Toro and France appear to be the M’s best on base threats (and best overall hitters). Haniger and Seager have been playing more like #6 hitters, all power, no obp. And Crawford hits #9 in a strong line up.

  4. Stevemotivateir on September 11th, 2021 5:18 am

    It’s the timing of it that’s misplaced. Crawford had a 132 wRC+ and a .390 OBP over the last 2 weeks prior to last night’s game. Haniger had a .386 OBP over the same span.

    I don’t disagree that neither should be at the top of the order next season. But right now it really doesn’t matter. That’s the point.

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