I promise you I will get to the actual recap shortly, but for a minute I need to talk about the Friday Night Baseball broadcast on Apple TV. I was definitely one of those who was vocally opposed to the new variety of broadcast options (there are simply too many, it’s absurd), but this was my first time watching one of the actual Apple TV broadcasts.
You guys… the broadcast quality… it’s just so crisp. It’s so pretty. It’s the nicest looking TV broadcast I think I’ve ever seen. There are plenty of things to complain about, because we as baseball fans love to complain about things. The graphics are a bit weird, the score bug is somehow too big and too small and just weirdly hard to read, and the broadcast crew needs to figure out its footing a bit better (I don’t think they’re bad, I just think they need to find a rhythm).
But that video quality. *chef’s kiss*
Now onto the actual game itself, which saw the two teams trading the lead throughout. The Mariner’s lost a catcher to what might have been a dislocated shoulder as he tried to tag out Arozarena at home, Yandy Diaz hit some lasers on first-pitch fastballs, and JP Crawford stole the show by screaming “Mariah Carey” at a long fly (as in: the ball needed to “carry” out of the park).
There was no lagging in the action in this game, no pitchers’ duels. Just a lot of hitting and some runs being scored mid the hitting. (No shade to Mariners starter Logan Gilbert who has a solid day, but the Rays really had his number from him initially.)
In the top of the first Diaz hit a single on the first pitch he saw and also nearly hit a hole through Gilbert while doing it. Lowe got on with a two-out walk, but the Rays were unable to capitalize on the two baserunners. Fraizer doubled to kick off the bottom of the inning, then with two outs, Suarez hit a no-doubt home run to put the Mariners up 2-0.
Walls got a one-out walk in the top of the second, then Mejia singled. With two outs, Diaz singled again, to score Walls. Franco then singled to bring Mejia home. An Arozarena single put a nice bow on things to score Diaz and give the Rays a 3-2 lead. Wisler then set the Mariners down in order at the bottom of the inning.
The Rays went 1-2-3 in the top of the third, then the Mariners got a baserunner with a one-out single from Frazier, who was then erased via fielder’s choice off the bat of France. No runs scored.
The Rays’ bats were quiet in the top of the fourth, but the same was not true for the Mariners in the bottom of the inning against Fleming. Suarez walked, then Winker doubled down the left field line. Toro hit a sac to score Suarez. Rodriguez walked. Then Moore singled to score Winker, and the Mariners were up 4-3.
Not content to let the Mariners have the lead, the Rays scrambled back in the top of the fifth. Arozarena got a one-out double, then Lowe drew a walk. Then things got a bit messy. Ramirez reached on a single, then Arozarena scored on a Suarez throwing error (this was also where Mariners catcher Murphy dislocated his shoulder try to tag backwards). Lowe was then tagged out running for third and though the play was reviewed the onfield call hit. The top of the inning ended with the score tied 4-4. In the bottom of the inning France got a one-out walk and Winker once again doubled down the left field line, but the only thing the M’s managed to do in the inning was end Fleming’s night. Blessedly.
In the top of the sixth the Rays managed only a very ouchy-looking knee-slide double from Mejia. The bottom saw a Rodriguez single to start things off, but nothing else.
Things got interesting in the seventh, as Franco walked, then Arozarena singled, and Lowe was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. Ramirez hit into a fielder’s choice where Arozarena was forced out a third, but Franco scored. The Rays would need to settle for one run, but it was enough to give them the lead. Feyereisen was in for the Rays in the bottom of the inning and Crawford got a one-out walk, but an inning-ending double play killed the threat.
In other news this game is long.
Mejia singled to lead the eighth off, Phillips got a Golden Sombrero, and Diaz grounded into a fielder’s choice. He was then caught stealing to end the top of the inning. Womp womp. Things got worse at the bottom of the inning. Feyereis collected the first out, then allowed a baserunner in Rodriguez. Feyereisen was replaced by Thompson. Kelenic came on to pinch-hit and then bam, hit a two-run homer. They weren’t done yet, as Frazier got a two-out walk, then France singled. The inning ended without further damage, but the Mariners were back on top, 6-5.
The top of the ninth was the last chance for the Rays, and a one-out single off the bat of Arozarena gave some initial promise. Lowe followed up with a single right down the middle. Manny Margot was the hero of the ninth with a three-run homer to center, putting the Rays back in the lead once more. Things headed to the bottom of the ninth with Raley on the mound and Suarez kicked it off with a solo home run. The Rays were able to get the next three outs, however, to win a rollercoaster of a game.
Finals: Rays 8, Mariners 7