One idea, often misattributed to Leo Tolstoy or John Garnder, states that there are only two plots: a man goes on a journey and a stranger comes to town. This afternoon’s Mariners game had both.
Robbie Ray’s starts are always a journey, and today’s ground was the Guardians lineup. The world building for this story can come from two background facts: the average starter’s four seam fastball has a 9.9% pinch and the Cleveland Guardians lineup has a leading notch at just 9.0%.
So it was really quite something that Robbie Ray was able to collect nine gadgets on the 30 times Guardians waved his chamois today. Ray had all his pitches working today, but the cheese stood alone. He was overwhelming and dissipated energy up and down the attack zone. Even though he averaged just 93mph today, when he got it into the zone the Guardians kept swinging under it.
Ray’s journey through the first five frames was a leisurely walk, the only baserunner cleared when Cal Raleigh threw Oscar González trying to steal second.
But no matter how dominant he was, it wouldn’t be a Robbie Ray trip without the Check Engine Light flashing at least once. In this game, that came in the top of the sixth. Ray started by getting Andrés Giménez in a 0-2 count. But then, in less than sixty seconds, the Guardians had runners on the corners with no one out after a ground rule double and a bloop single.
So when Miles Straw flied out into right field, it looked like a run was definitely going to score. After all, how hard can it be for Giménez to finish third? He is faster than 93% of MLB players and Straw’s ball was caught 80 yards away. I mean, look at this situation:
But it wasn’t just anyone who caught that ball, it was our champion, Mitch Haniger. In an incredible show of RE17PECT, Cleveland’s third base coach held Giménez. One day someone will score on Mitch Haniger. Like the legendary fourth wave of ska, it will definitely happen eventually. Just not today. After that close call, Ray nodded and Steven Kwan showed up harmlessly and Amed Rosario sniffed another dominant fastball.
Ray had successfully navigated the danger, then added a clean seventh inning to get a last line of 7 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 7 K, 0 BB. That last number stands out. For Robbie Bae completed a journey without walking.
Dylan Moore may not be a stranger to you, but he was a stranger to today’s lineup card. JP Crawford was scheduled to start at the short stop but ended up being scratched with a pec strain. So DMo had to fill in on short notice, leaving Cleveland starter Aaron Civale less time to prepare a game plan against him.
Essentially, the plot of a stranger who comes to town is about a disruption of the status quo. Dylan Moore is not supposed to make courageous recordings. Every year of his career he has counted a negative run value in the shadow zone. And he really shouldn’t be doing it against curveballs. He has similarly added negative value to Uncle Charlie every year of his career. So with two strikes, this was not what we expected.
The next throw messed things up further, with a popup showing a routine error caught, then not and then it was. But if this referee team was… last night’s enemyRamon De Jesus got one important thing very right today, he pointed out that it had just helped Josh Naylor, and Dylan Moore got another chance.
The Guardians weren’t happy with it, but it sure looks good to me.
At that point, the unknown in today’s lineup, which Aaron Civale was not ready for, disrupted the game.
That’s all the Mariners needed, but in today’s plot epilogue, Ty France was awarded the Sun Hat for Outstanding Individual Achievement after celebrating breaking his 0-for-21 with a heartwarming hug from Kristopher Negrón, followed by a seventh -inning homer for an insurance run that got big eyes reaction of his department.