The randomness of regular-season results, including unpredictable outcomes of games, is a somewhat accepted and romanticized allure of the marathon that is a 162-game baseball season.
The sheer number of games, and the likelihood of the starting pitcher affecting the final score in any way, allows for some understanding when the worst team in baseball beats the best team in baseball.
And yet, when the Mariners jogged onto the slick surface of T-Mobile Park in the opener of a 10-game homestand on Monday night, the prospect of losing that game against the Oakland Athletics should have been somewhere between unlikely and never happening.
To be clear, the Mariners, despite how they’ve played for most of the last 46 games, are not one of the best teams in baseball. They have been one of the most surprising, disappointing and largely disappointing teams in the first two months of the season.
A, well, they’re peers without being the worst team in baseball. They might be one of the worst teams in the last 40 years. A fails to make up for what he lacks in experience, due to an equal lack of talent. Like the plot of the movie “Major League,” they’re bad enough to move the franchise to a different city.
But coming off a disappointing trip on which their offensive production was mediocre at best and absent when needed, and with Luis Castillo looking to re-establish his dominance after a subpar performance in his previous outing, the loss came to the Mariners. Wasn’t an option.
From the first pitch of the 11–2 “get-right” victory, the Mariners played like the vastly superior team in all aspects of the game. Yes, they should beat Oakland. But he did it decisively. Seattle did nothing of the sort during a three-game series in a largely empty Oakland Coliseum the first week of May. The Mariners needed to salvage solid starting pitching performances and come from behind in each of their victories in a three-game sweep in Oakland.
But the game was not close or competitive.
Castillo fired a pinpoint fastball at 99 mph, reaching the top of the strike zone and overwhelming the A’s hitters and looking like a playoff version of himself. He pitched six shutout innings, allowing four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
But for Castillo, it was his fifth strikeout in the game that would be most memorable. Facing slugging catcher Shea Langeliers, who had doubled to left in his first at-bat, he fired a 96-mph fastball to the top of the strike zone for a swinging first strike. After a changeup low and a ball called out of the zone, Castillo blasted two fastballs at 97 mph and 98 mph to the swinging Langeliers at the top of the strike zone.th Career strikeout.
Meanwhile the much-vaunted Mariners offense delivered one of its better overall performances in recent weeks, grinding through at-bats and forcing A’s starter Kyle Mueller and reliever Joe Miller to pitch behind in the count with runners on base. Compelled to.
Seattle had 13 hits, five walks and struck out just eight times in the game.
Eight of his nine hitters reached base with seven tally hits.
Jarred Kelenik pitched a textbook at-bat to give the Mariners a 2–0 lead in the first inning. After refusing to swing at sliders out of the strike zone on the first two pitches to go ahead 2-0, Kelenik settled on a 94-mph fastball from Mueller, sending the baseball-sized Comet to deep right-center. Sent to the stand. The explosion had a 112-mph exhaust velocity and measured 455 feet.
it was kelenik’s 10th Homer of the season. The last Mariners player age 23 or younger to reach double figures in home runs that fast in a season was Alex Rodriguez, who did so in 31 games in 1999.
The Mariners were relentless against Mueller. One inning later, Cal Raleigh led off with a single and AJ Pollock worked a one-out walk to bring the surprise event to the plate to José Caballero.
After hitting his first MLB homer in his last at-bat on Sunday, Caballero followed that up with his second MLB homer in his first at-bat on Monday. The hot-hitting infielder smashed a slider into the Mariners’ bullpen to make it 2–1.
After Mueller was able to work two scoreless innings, Seattle took another run in the fifth when Julio Rodriguez led off with an errant double into wrong field and Kelenik smacked a single up the middle to make it 6-0. 0 done.
Seattle added two more in the sixth as Rodriguez, who had three hits on the night, hit a run-scoring double to left and Eugenio Suárez added an RBI single.
After Oakland scored two runs in the eighth against Seattle’s bullpen, the Mariners answered with three more in the bottom half of the inning.