Chris Flexen and a bunch of merry pranksters shoot a quick, win 4-1
Tonight’s game is a challenge, considering I wrote an almost identical game almost exactly a month ago: a game in which Chris Flexen allowed a run in about 7 innings and Cole Irvin allowed 3. points on 7 hits. This is not an entirely surprising coincidence, although the déjà vu is reinforced by the fact that the Mariners have played this game a lot against the As this season.
Going back to the start of Seattle’s 8-game winning streak against Oakland, the M’s scored 4 or 5 points in each, limiting the A’s to a maximum of 4 points (a play-off win in late July). Seemingly over are the days of 0-6 or 6-12 loss to the Bay Area club that raged in early June.
Tonight’s definitive story, a familiar story by now, was Chris Flexen and his career-best 8 strikeouts. With his average fastball hitting 95 and his curveball effectively delivering mouth-watering strikes, he once again managed to look like an elite pitcher against a team that is by no means stacked with easy outs.
Notice the way I put it: he “looks[ed] like an elite pitcher ”. This begs the question, at what point do we stop “looking” like something and start “being” that thing? Is it when you surpass Gerrit Cole for the most 7 PIs, ≤1 ER starts in the AHL? Is it when you have a top 5 ERA among qualified AL pitchers at the end of September?
The stories surrounding the erupting players are fascinating to watch unfold as they vary from one media market to another, from those who prefer underlying metrics over results-based ones, to those who shout “SSS! roofs to those who cling to the faith in success that is surely not sustainable.
I digress. Still, Flexen gave the Mariners something extraordinary for someone like him, and he looked great on that first fall night. He received extraordinary help from (God willing) twice Gold Glover JP Crawford, who ended Mark Canha’s hopes of a brace with that 10,000 IQ tag:
Oh, and this nonsense:
This is why people insist on using FIP to explain the defense that a pitcher may or may not rely on. Luckily for Flexen, there is only a difference of around -0.16 between the two, which would barely move the needle in terms of ERA rankings. Regardless: Chris should send JP a nice basket of flowers and some high quality sativa for his performance tonight.
Flexen’s run support came later than many had expected and hoped for against a pitcher like Irvin, although there were quite a few missed opportunities in the first three innings. Kyle Seager assured that the assault would indeed come with a first homerun hit just over the wall in front of the batter’s eye. A pair of singles from Toro (who broke a long oh-iron tonight) and Tom Murphy added another.
Ty France counted for the last two runs scored, sending one into the awkward pop-up book zone to the center-left and then reaching home on a Torrens bag-fly after another blow-by-blow hit him. put on the basic paths.
Tonight’s game, while it had its moments (see: Bob Melvin getting thrown), was a sleepy game played in a sleepy, Spartan stadium against a team that seems to have had their whole lives sucked. Granted, the Colosseum is never a friendly place to watch games, with its appalling footfall and echoing drum line, but this one could have been more exciting had it been played almost anywhere else. .
The result is however the same. The Mariners, all but out of this one, have hit a new 14 out of .500 game high, topped the A’s in the standings, and with the solid brand of baseball they play right now, they could very well s ‘hang this post.