On July 10, 2005, the Mariners defeated the Anaheim Angels. Miguel Olivo ripped a home run off Ervin Santana. Gil Meche notched his ninth win of the year. The Mariners’ record inflated to 39-48, and would plummet to 93 losses and just 69 wins by the end of the season.
These four games have been mostly forgotten, mostly lost in the last 7 years. In fact, they are only significant in light of today’s game, the clincher in a four-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals—the first four-game sweep since that day in 2005.
And you thought the Mariners couldn’t top their run in Kansas City last week.
Last week, the Mariners produced 31 runs and only allowed 19. Jesus Montero went 10-for-17 with 5 R, 8 RBI, and 3 XBH. Felix put up a line of 8 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, and 3 SO in an 8-inning start.
This weekend, the Mariners produced 21 runs and allowed 9. Mike Carp, newly-promoted first baseman, went 8-for-15 with 3 R, 8 RBI, and 3 XBH. With a sweep on the line, Felix finished his outing at 7 IP, with 5 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, and 6 SO.
While there were plenty of things to enjoy about today’s game, it was not without a healthy dose of drama. In the 4th, Felix caught a nasty comebacker from Eric Hosmer on his left wrist. Within minutes, he had returned to the mound for another 1.1 innings, and postgame x-rays were reported as negative.
In the 8th, backed by a comfortable 3-run lead, Brandon League brushed off a flurry of trade rumors by allowing 3 hits, a stolen base, a run, and a mess for Oliver Perez to clean up.
You know the end of this story. The Mariners fished out a 2-run rally. They sent Kansas City home with a 1-7 record. More important than a handful of wins, however, is the inkling that the Mariners of July – October will be a different bunch than the ones we saw from April – June.
Perhaps it’s the way they score early and often, rather than loading and leaving the bases in the 9th. Perhaps it’s the home runs that have sneaked past the Safeco Field fences. Perhaps, though I feel guilty saying this, it’s the absence of Ichiro and the presence of Casper Wells and Carlos Peguero in right field.
Perhaps, against many odds, the Mariners will break .500 by October 3. Then again, that may only happen if the Royals can be persuaded to play their remaining 48 games in Seattle.
Next game: vs. Blue Jays | July 30 | 7:10pm