Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday May 16.
While cold rains fell over most of the country, the sport’s best game was played in Seattle. Even there, no matter what the weather was, a pall covered Safeco Field and saddened the thousands who came to see the Mariners take on the Rangers. The worst news of the day came out before the game began. Robinson Cano, the injured second baseman and number 3 hitter in the Mariners’ lineup was handed an 80-game punishment for using performance-enhancing drugs, or PED’s. Gone are the days when MLB turns a blind eye to the users who don’t leave a level playing field for the good men who won’t take the needle or the cream. Now, even if the Mariners should make the playoffs, Cano can’t play in them. His broken hand will be healed by the time his 80-game suspension is served, but the rules are quite clear that his hope of playing in the 2018 postseason is gone. He told his tale of woe to his shortstop, Jean Segura who described himself as feeling too ill to eat. I know the feeling. Some kinds of news are just plain sickening.
Then the game began and trouble again struck. This time it was their number 4 hitter, Nelson Cruz hit on the foot by a pitched ball and having to leave the game with assistance. Later, with a 3-run lead the closer Edwin Diaz blew a save. The Mariners had to score twice in the 8th to level the score. In the 9th, the Mariners’ disgusted manager Scott Servais was run from the game for arguing with the umpires over an interference call that was never made which led to the tying run scoring. Coach Manny Acta had to carry on as Servais’ replacement.
The game went to extra innings knotted at 8. In the last of the 11th, Guillermo Herredia singled home Ryan Healy for the 9-8 Mariners’ win. In spite of his mental anguish, Jean Segura reached base 4 times and sent a deep drive to the warning track at Safeco which is not the hitter’s ballpark the old Kingdome was. Segura’s RBI-single gave the Mariners a brief lead in the 8th. That was the lead Edwin Diaz didn’t hold. Segura stole 4 bases, tying a Mariners’ record. The last man to do that in the Mariners’ colors was Ichiro in 2010. The Mariners called on ex-Met Eric Goeddel in extra innings. This was a pitcher the Rangers rejected, saying he couldn’t even make their AAA team in Oklahoma City. I wonder if they’re singing the same tune now.
Nelson Cruz’s injury came off Rangers’ pitcher Brandon Mann, a rookie at 33 who has toiled in our minor leagues and even played a couple of seasons in Japan. After returning here, he has pitched for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, and the Fargo Moorhead RedHawks of the American Association. Mann’s slider hit Cruz’s foot, resulting in his manager and the team trainer having to help him off the field. X-rays showed a bad bone bruise rather than a fracture, which other than the victory itself was the one piece of good news in Seattle. Mann was pitching against the Mariners, a team he rooted for in his boyhood. He was born and raised in the Seattle area. In the end, Alex Claudio took the loss for the Rangers. As I write this they are going with Big Sexy, Bartolo Colon against Christian Bergman who was 4-5 with a 5.0 ERA last year when he played in Seattle. Up to now he was breaking even at 3-3 in the Pacific Coast League.
Starting tomorrow the coffee will be on early at the home office of this blog. The Division 3 NCAA tournament begins at 10 AM tomorrow in a number of cities. The regional I’ll be focusing on is the Midatlantic, played in the home of the Atlantic League’s York Revolution. My alma mater, now called Rowan University is in the 1:15 contest against Castleton. While the Profs took a loss on their way to winning their conference tournament, the Spartans of Castleton bludgeoned their foes 9-2, 11-5 and astonishingly 22–5 in the conference final. In that game they put up 9 in the first and 5 in the second to have a 14–0 lead before their opponent, New England College could catch their breath. As Rowan did, Castleton hosted the tournament in Castleton, Vermont. Rowan was called Glassboro State in my time and I still avoid the new name when possible. Weather permitting, 4 games are scheduled for tomorrow. It’s the same story in most of the regionals as the field of 56 has to be trimmed to 8 for the Division 3 World Series. Rowan hasn’t been there since 2005 though they’ve been in the tournament several times since then. Weather will be a factor. It’s been raining for several days up and down the eastern seaboard. Last night it led to one outright postponement in Baltimore and caused the game between the Yankees and Nationals to be suspended. Tonight’s game in DC is already postponed or “banged” as the players call it.0