In the eighth inning Andrés Muñoz got rocked to cut the Mariners’ lead from four to two. The top of the ninth saw Seattle unable to tack on any insurance runs, which led to the bottom of the frame. Manager Scott Servais sent Paul Sewald out to finish the game, less than three days after Toronto had rocked him. Sewald got two outs, gave up two singles and then got yanked for starting pitcher Robbie Ray.
Ray got to face Yordan Alveraz, the first pitch saw Alveraz just a bit off. The second pitch will forever live on in history.
For only the second time in postseason history, a team hit a walk of home run when down to their final out. The only other time this has happened was with Kurt Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run in game one. That’s not exactly the type of history Seattle had hoped for in this series.
Let’s take a look at where that second pitch ended up, shall we?
The immediate reaction on Twitter was to be pissed at the fact that Ray’s pitch ended up at about knee high on the inner part of the plate. But the reality is that’s actually been an area that Alveraz has struggled to consistently make contact throughout the season.
The left-handed bat has feasted off of pitches on the outer part of the plate. For Ray to come inside makes a ton of sense from what the 25-year-old has done all season. Unfortunately, Alvarez had realized that Ray would probably be brought in to face him and sat down to review their previous matchups while Sewald struggled on the bump.
Ultimately this loss needs to be pinned on Servais. It was clear that Houston had a game plan for how to handle Seattle’s two pitch relievers, and starter (apparently), yet the manager kept sending them up there. After the eighth inning it would have been better for Seattle to go to a reliever with more pitches that would have thrown off their expectations.
Instead, Scott ran with guys who’d struggled in their last appearances, and it cost his squad the game.
It was an insanely stupid decision to run Muñoz out in the third straight game, despite the day offs, is one that’s super easy to second guess in the aftermath of his disastrous inning; but it was also easy to second guess in the moment as well. The power arm had thrown a shit ton of pitches in his last to trips out of the pen, it would have been easier to send another one of the guys out there to keep him in reserve.
And then he went to Robbie fucking Ray out of the pen when Erik Swanson hasn’t appeared once in the post season. Why is Swanson even on the roster if Servais isn’t going to use him? It just doesn’t make sense, especially with how the usually suspects out of Seattle’s pen have struggled down the stretch. Give them a breather, get your other arms in the pen out there and keep your opponents’ off balance.
Also…why even pitch to Alvarez there? It just doesn’t make sense.
What makes this loss so hard to stomach is that Seattle had absolutely rocked the Astros’ future hall of famer Justin Verlander and then continued to pile on against the bullpen. The M’s had a chance to take a 1-0 lead with Luis Castillo on getting the start tomorrow, instead their now 0-1 and need Castillo to be lights out to guarantee game four in the Emerald City.
At least my prediction for the series is still in play…
I’m still emotionally drunk off of Saturday. Seattle drops the first game in Houston, but Castillo settles things down and they pick up three straight wins to clinch an ALCS berth at home on Sunday.
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