The Mariners fanned 18 times against CC Sabathia, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera while being held to one hit in a 4-1 loss Tuesday. It was their 17th straight loss.
The only Mariner to play the whole game without striking out was .182-hitting Chone Figgins, who actually fanned three times in his last start Thursday against the Blue Jays. Figgins also drove in the club’s lone run on a fielder’s choice.
Everything else was simply hideous. Miguel Olivo struck out four times. Ichiro Suzuki and Brendan Ryan whiffed three times apiece. The only starter besides Figgins not to K was Greg Halman, who went 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. That pinch-hitter, Adam Kennedy, struck out.
In all, it was the 36th 18-strikeout game of nine-innings of less in major league history. The Yankees tied their team record. Ron Guidry fanned 18 all by himself back against the Angels on June 17, 1978. Sabathia, who had his outing interrupted by a rain delay, fanned 14 of the 25 batters he faced tonight.
Of course, the Mariners were on the losing end of the first ever 20-strikeout nine-inning game. Boston’s Roger Clemens was responsible for that massacre on April 29, 1986. There have been two more 20 strikeout games since. If not for Figgins, there might have been a fourth tonight.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.