Mariners playing Cleveland on Monday after dropping the first three games of the series, the first two heartbreaking losses. The Indians have won 17 of the last 21, so they are beating everyone. Top of the 9th Endy Chavez a pinch hit homer gives Seattle a 7-6 lead, setting up the Bartender, Tom Wilhelmsen, for the save. He had been perfect, eleven for eleven.
But on this day the streak ended. And it was a tough way to blow the save. Runner on first two outs, and Nick Swisher gets a broken bat bloop single over second baseman Robert Andino‘s glove. Then on a grounder to Justin Smoak, Wilhelmsen runs to first to catch Smoak’s throw for the game ending out, but he drops the ball, taking his eyes off the ball while trying to find the bag. Baseball is a funny game. Nothing is an out until it is. An outfielder can drop a fly, an infielder can boot an easy grounder. And the ball, that little innocent white object can spin and bounce, slice, twist and turn, doing crazy things to avoid gloves.
In the 10th, for the third inning in a row, the Mariners take the lead on a homerun. This one from Smoak. Charlie Furbush, who has never gotten a save comes in to stop the Indians. First batter hits another blooper over Andino. Are you kidding me? Another case of hitting it where they ain’t. Then a bunt and Furbush looks to second, then to first, fires the ball to Smaok, who drops the ball. History is repeating itself. Damn that little white horsehide or cowhide, or whatever they use these days. Then Yan Gomes belts a three run homer, for the third walk off win for the Indians in the four game series.
If Wilhelmsen catches the ball from Smoak the Mariners win. But alas, the baseball Gods are smiling on Cleveland and dumping their wrath, for whatever reason, on the Mariners. Sometimes you can’t win, no matter what you do. Especially for the Good Ship Mariner still floundering off Cape Disappointment.