Game 78: Seattle Mariners at Red Sox (June 23, 2018)

So much for that consistency thing, huh? A night after a wild comeback win, the Sox fell back to earth and stumbled badly. I was coaching my son's travel team in our tournament all day today and only caught the last few innings of the game at the restaurant we had dinner at (believe it or not), but kept up with the updates on my phone throughout the early part. We got beaten in our first game by a trophy chasing team, but we played them tight and even held the lead after a few innings before they ran away with it. Our second game was a fantastic back-and-forth affair and we were in great position to win it in the final inning, but the game ended on a horrifically bad call at second base. The amount of booing from the stands (our team's parents/fans as well as neutral observers) was unreal, but to no avail. I've long been a fan of the human element of the game and I hope they never computerize umpires, but today we were on the wrong side of one of these calls. A good life lesson for the boys to learn, and we just have to pick ourselves up and get back at it tomorrow for our next game.

Now, for the Red Sox...I sure wish they'd learn how to play consistently. It's probably my biggest gripe with this team. Eduardo Rodriguez started this game and the way he's been pitching this season, it seemed sure that he'd keep it close so the bats could keep scoring runs. It ended up being a "no" and "no" on both of those. The Mariners went up 7-0 over the first seven innings and it never got close. The first inning blues struck again when Mitch Haniger doubled to drive in a run. Tzu-Wei Lin, playing shortstop, committed a fielding error that allowed Ryon Healy to score in the third, and Haniger did more damage in the fourth with another double that drove in two. Kyle Seager singled to bring Haniger in and it was rapidly getting out of hand at 5-0. Healy drove in another run in the sixth and Dee Gordon got an RBI on a fielder's choice in the seventh to push it to 7-0. The Sox got a couple of meaningless runs in the ninth when Mitch Moreland tripled to drive in JD Martinez, and when Eduardo Nunez drove in Moreland, but otherwise the Sox bats were quiet as they went down without a fight, 7-2.

Rodriguez only went four innings and gave up five of the Seattle runs (four of them earned). He only struck out two and walked two, which was what the Sox didn't need. Combined with the anemic offense, it was a recipe for disaster. On the other side, Mike Leake went eight strong for the M's, striking out five, walking two, and only allowing three hits and no runs. That was the kind of night Boston needed after the bullpen was depleted in last night's wild contest, but unfortunately it didn't work out for them. Luckily, the Yankees lost as well so the deficit in the division remained at a game.

I'm writing this recap from a darkened hotel room as my son tries to get to sleep in the bed next to mine. We've got our next tournament game mid-morning on Sunday but he's so amped up from today's games that he's restless. He did a great job today both with the bat and at shortstop...I'm so proud of him and the fact that so many other people recognize what a good player he is. Beyond that, the one-on-one time I've been able to spend with him is the best part of the whole experience. While I miss my wife and three daughters a lot and wish I could've seen my oldest play in her tournament today, the time with my son has been great. That's the best part of watching my kids grow and play the game that we all love...the bonding time I've gotten with all of them.

Now it's time for me to get some sleep as I hope that both our team and the Red Sox can salvage some wins tomorrow.