It went into the wee, wee hours. There were 40 strikeouts between the two teams. And then it all ended with the Tigers relying on their bullpen and the Mariners relying upon the foot speed of Justin Smoak.
Not exactly a strength against strength situation.
The game-ending play: Smoak on first, Dustin Ackley at the plate facing Joaquin Benoit. Ackley doubles to right field. Smoak is on his horse! His horse suffered shrapnel wounds at the Battle of the Vicksburg and is just barely holding on, but Smoak is on it! Torii Hunter fields the ball, relays to Prince Fielder who relays to Bryan Pena. IT’S GONNA BE CLOSE!
Oh, wait. It wasn’t particularly close at all, but it still was fairly spectacular.
Look, I don’t know why third base coach Jeff Datz sent Smoak. It was really, really late so maybe he was tired. Maybe he thought Smoak had another gear. An old riding lawn mower has another gear of course, and that doesn’t make it fast, but maybe that’s what he was thinking. I’m sure there have been worse sends in the history of the game. None come to mind at the moment, but there had to have been worse sends. They’ve been playing baseball for, like, 150 years. As I sit here now, I’m gonna say that it was the worst send since Walter Donovan made those soldiers go into the cave without Henry Jones’ Grail diary to help navigate the Three Trials.
But don’t get too down about it M’s fans. Here’s Dave Cameron to put it all in perspective for you:
Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.
It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.
Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.