== It was on SportsCenter, so you know it to be true ==
ESPN graphic tonight:
Best record in baseball since April 23 —
Seattle Mariners 40-25 .615
I didn’t memorize the rest, but I think the Angels were second. They’re 37-26.
Why start April 23? Well, because it’s the day that the Mariners stopped being ice cold and started getting hot. Otherwise it’s completely arbitrary.
But let’s just point out a few dates:
- April 23: Can you guess? Of course, it’s Kyle Seager’s Epic Tide-Turning 11-Pitch-At-Bat Home Run! See it here (but only the 11th pitch) (but the same clip also has the follow-up Epic Walk-Off Losing-Streak-Ending Home Run [which only took one pitch]). We can, however, use Jeff Clarke’s “Classic Gameday Screenshot Technique” to give you a feel for how Seager fouled off strike three from Jarred Cosart five times before finally busting the ball into the seats.
Mind you, Seattle had lost eight straight games and was behind 3-0 in the bottom of the 7th going into this at-bat. It was just a few outs away from being swept by Houston. And Seager was at .156/.280/.219 coming into the game.
It’s certainly cliche, but one guy fouling off five strike-three pitches may have saved the season.
- April 27: Scotch overcomes Pencil. The first time that Abe Almonte sat out, and Michael Saunders got the start. You may recall that Lloyd McClendon said that he was sticking with Almonte and he “held the pencil” that wrote out the lineup so that was that. When he stuck Saunders in Almonte’s place, he joked that he might have been under the influence of scotch.
- May 3: Singing Kuma Ba Ya. He wasn’t at his Kuma best in this first game, but the return of Hisashi Iwakuma provided instant stability to a patched-together rotation.
And now the Rest of the Story:
- Kyle Seager since the ET-T11-PABHR: .312/.371/.574. 17 doubles, 3 triples, 13 HR. OPS of .944. Probably the best third baseman in baseball since that at-bat, and one of the best players, period.
- Michael Saunders since Scotch Day: .295/.343/.465. OPS of .808.
- And Kuma: 81.0 IP, 3.33 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 0.9 BB/9, 6.9 K/9, 3.47 FIP, 2.83 xFIP.
And, for all you bandwagoners just getting back with the program, I think I’ll bump my little piece from April 24 about the Kid who ended up with the ball.