Director’s Commentary: [ON] OFF
Good baseball doesn’t have to be pretty. Baseball can be an utter disaster and still be good — just a big sloppy mud puddle of a game where nothing goes right can be fun. That was not this game for the first 8.2 innings.
So this was the paragraph we decided to lead with. We actually started writing this in the seventh inning because Cleveland’s offense was virtually sleepwalking and it didn’t look like the Mariners were interested in adding much either. At that point we might as well get a head start on writing it up, right? If you look close, on the frame right ... here ... here stop the footage. Right here you can see where the author had to amend “for the first 8.2 innings” at the end of the paragraph. It wasn’t a seamless edit, and you can see it if you’re really trying, but it works just fine otherwise.
It went off the rails immediately with Triston McKenzie getting all the way out of whack and missing the zone with 11 of his first 12 pitches. He ended up walking four batters, including a run, before he was pulled. Kyle Seager mercifully swung on a 3-1 pitch to fly out and almost gave McKenzie hope of getting out of the inning, but he went back to missing his spots and walking more batters.
OK, I’ll be the first to admit we got a little dramatic here. But, to be fair, before a pair of walks and a Bobby Bradley Broken Bat Blooper made things interesting in the ninth, things felt pretty dramatic. We were about to embark on a brutal stretch of watching games where the bullpen was going to be gassed and the offense looked lifeless. Hard to get excited without some kind of late-inning heroics here. At this point the production had gone through three directors and our sound guy quit in the middle of a shot. It was brutal.
McKenzie final line: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 4 BB, 0 SO, 1 ER.
Win or loss, that’s ugly. Yikes. Still doesn’t get a loss though, so I guess that’s something.
One other note on that first inning: Carl Willis tried to bring out the trainer to pass off his mound visit as a medical check (which doesn’t count against the team’s allotted mound visits). It didn’t work.
Alright, this was all we had workshopped before the ninth inning. Now, could we have just deleted the first handful of paragraphs and started the recap over when René Rivera doubled to tie the game up instead of doing this director’s commentary bit, which wasted a bunch of time and probably won’t land? Probably. But anyway, let’s jump in, in real time, to the end of the game.
YOU DARE INTENTIONALLY WALK THE BASES LOADED FOR HAROLD “BARRELED” RAMIREZ? YOU FOOLS, YOU UTTER FOOLS.
After roughly eight innings of nothing, Cleveland’s offense came alive (and the Mariners' bullpen and defense collapsed) in a dramatic fashion.
It started in the ninth with a pair of walks gifted to Bradley Zimmer and Josh Naylor. After that, Bobby Bradley — who was brought in off the bench to face the right-handed Rafael Montero — had a broken-bat single that scored Zimmer. A batter later, the absolute legend himself, backup catcher René Rivera, doubled home Naylor and Bradley to tie the game. Cesar Hernandez would end the inning with a fly-out, which becomes very important in roughly three or four seconds depending on how long it takes you to read this sentence.
Because Hernandez finished off the ninth, and because James Karinchak did his job in preventing any runs to cross the plate, he started the 10th as the Manfred Runner on second. This is important because, apparently, he can’t see baseballs. It’s a weirdly specific degenerative disease that mostly affects coal miners, but it occasionally shows up in baseball players.
Because you see, Amed Rosario hit a ball that everyone in the stadium saw was a hit — except for Hernandez. Even Rosario was waving and probably screaming for Hernandez to run and score the winning run as he was heading for first. But Cesar hesitated and ended up at third instead.
The Mariners then opted to walk José Ramírez to load the bases, which led to Harold Ramirez, um — let’s just say he crushed a ball to win the game. It was really just a weak comebacker that the pitcher easily could have thrown to home to prevent the win, but he threw it wide and Hernandez was able to scamper home for the win. We’ll pretend Ramirez crushed it.
Walking a batter to load the bases is pretty universally bad, but even more so in this case. If Hernandez wasn’t compelled to run, Paul Sewald probably keeps him at third with his eyes then throws Ramirez out at first easily. But Hernandez had to run and just hope that the throw was wide. Turns out it was, and Cleveland won.
It was a sloppy play and a sloppy strategy, which is really the story of this game. Matt Underwood joked about it several times during the broadcast — no one is going to review the tapes of this game. Both sides had plenty of moments to forget, but only Cleveland had the final positive note that will linger as this game is long forgotten and any evidence of it torched.