Snow Day

With snowmageddon 2012 dumping whatever it shall bring, today is a perfect day to talk about snow. What better day to remember one of the more unique series in Mariners history? I'm talking about the early-season showdown between the Mariners and Indians in 2007.

From Thursday, April 5 through Sunday, April 8, the Mariners were scheduled to play a 4-game series against the Indians in Cleveland. The entire series in Cleveland was snowed out, and neither team's season would be the same. As it turns out, rescheduling an entire four-game series is a nightmare in modern Major League Baseball.

Game one was made up on May 21, about a month and a half after the series was supposed to happen. The Mariners lost 5-2. Cha Seung Baek took the loss, while Tom Mastny got the win in relief for Cleveland. The Mariners didn't seem to have much of a chance with Baek facing CC Sabathia, but Baek arguably out-pitched CC until he was left in too long in the 7th inning (CC only lasted 5 innings, somehow scattering 8 hits to the tune of 1 run). Also somewhat noteworthy: the Mariners loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth inning, and came away with just one run.

Game two was made up on June 11. The Mariners won 8-7, plating the winning run in the top of the ninth inning, thanks to an RBI double from Raul Ibanez. In fact, Ibanez had a huge day, going 4 for 5 with 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, and finishing a single short of the cycle! Brandon Morrow came away with the victory with this gem of a pitching line: 2 innings, 3 hits, 4 walks, 1 strikeout, 1 run (earned).

It would be a while until the series continued - roughly two and half months, as it turns out. Game three was made up on August 30. The Mariners lost it in frustrating fashion, 6-5, in the bottom of the 9th on a walk-off walk.

Rick White was brought in with score tied in the 9th after Eric O'Flaherty got the first batter, Travis Hafner, to ground out, but then allowed a single to Victor Martinez and hit Ryan Garko with a pitch. White got his first batter, Jhonny Peralta, to fly out, meaning the Mariners were one out away from extra innings. However, White would then walk the next two batters he faced to force in the winning run.

The best part of all this? O'Flaherty still took the loss, since it was one of his baserunners that scored.

O'Flaherty is still getting the last laugh though. He posted a 0.98 ERA with Braves last year, playing a prominent role in their bullpen. White only recorded 2 more outs in the majors after that meltdown in Cleveland.

The last game of the snowed-out series was played on September 26, in Seattle, at Safeco Field. The Mariners were designated the home team, but batted first. It was the closest thing the M's had to a road game at home until they legitimately were this past year, thanks to a U2 concert in Miami.*

*Really, isn't it more amazing that the Mariners have been involved in multiple scenarios that involved road games being moved to Safeco Field?

The Indians clobbered the Mariners in the final game, 12-4, mainly on the strength of an 8-run 3rd inning. Ryan Fiereband couldn't escape the frame, and Jorge Campillo didn't exactly limit the damage before finishing it. The Indians, as a team, hit for the cycle in the inning, and threw in another double and four singles for good measure. Most of the time, walks and errors add gas to a bad inning, but that wasn't the case here. In fact, there were no walks, hit batters, or errors. Cleveland just wailed away.

Perhaps most impressive (or embarrassing) is that every run in the inning came with 2 outs. *sigh*

Three other novel notes from the game:
  1. The Mariners used 3 pitchers in the game (including the starter), and each of them went 2.2 innings.
  2. Jeff Clement got his first MLB hit, a pinch-hit double. At the time, it seemed like it might be a sign of things to come, and to a degree it was. Clement has hit 13 more MLB doubles since then!
  3. Wladimir Balentien hit his first MLB home run. At the time, it seemed like it might be a sign of things to come, and to a degree it was. Balentien hit 14 more dingers in the majors before going to Japan!
Ultimately, the Mariners lost 3 of 4 games in the "series," getting outscored 30-19. Some fun facts from the 4 games as a whole:
  • 7 Mariners played in all 4 games (Adrian Beltre, Willie Bloomquist, Ben BroussardJose GuillenIchiro, Kenji Johjima, and Jose Lopez).
  • 4 Indians played in all 4 games (Travis Hafner, Ryan Garko, Victor Martinez, and Grady Sizemore).
  • Willie Bloomquist played second base, shortstop, left field, designated hitter, and pinch ran over the course of the 4 games. 
  • Willie Bloomquist also went 0 for 6 with 4 strike outs in the series (but he did get a walk, and even scored a run).
  • Mariners hitters combined for 5 walks over the 4 games. The Indians accumulated 18.
  • Cha Seung Baek started 2 of the 4 games for the Mariners.
I had forgotten how frustratingly entertaining the 2007 Mariners were. They ended up winning 88 games, which means the 4 games I just talked about aren't the most representative sample of the season. However, in some ways, they totally are. The hitters never drew walks, and seemed to be equally adept at stranding runners in crucial situations. This was doubly frustrating when the bullpen came in and didn't throw strikes. The whole team seemed to be built for heart attacks, but somehow they pulled out way more games than they had business winning.

Of course, Bill Bavasi saw a contender where many others saw a fluke, and traded much of what turned out to be an already thin farm system for Erik Bedard. Oops.

If you've read through this whole post, and even killed time clicking on the oodles of links, I'm pretty sure enough snow has fallen at this point to make a snowman, or at least a snow angel. Go out and enjoy yourself.