Adventurous Mariners journey to top of the Trop
Tough night at Tropicana Field for the Mariners here in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. A game where they outhit the Rays 9-3, but couldn’t get much out of that in losing a 3-1 decision.
You can sense a little frustration in some players, understandably. This club seems to have a lot of the right pieces to the puzzle, but things haven’t quite all fit together yet. Maybe the last piece is hitting with runners in scoring position, where the Mariners are a ridiculous 0-for-30 over the last four games.
You don’t win doing that. I presume the law of averages will start coming around a bit in that regard, but the Mariners themselves have to help that process by stepping up in the clutch, doing the little things to advance runners and finishing off rallies that seem stuck in the starting gate too often.
That said, the club doesn’t seem to be tight. The group is young, for the most part, but they have an interesting bond that was evident again today when five players took the unusual opportunity to go up in the catwalks 200 feet above the Tropicana Field turf about four hours before the game.
There are some adventureous sorts on this team, guys who bonded further in the trip to Japan and don’t mind pushing the envelope to see the world. Relievers Tom Wilhelmsen and Steve Delabar are at the front of that group, two guys who were out of baseball for a while and seem to understand these opportunities don’t come around all the time.
They both went up to check out the top of the Trop — something Tampa Bay writers said they’ve never seen before from a visiting team — along with fellow relievers Lucas Luetge and Charlie Furbush and outfielder Casper Wells.
It was a fun deal and a fun story with some great quotes from all those involved, which you can read in full here.
Sure, it would have been even funner if the night had ended with a victory. Four of the five wound up playing. Wells didn’t get a hit, but his 13-pitch strikeout in the second inning was a tremendous battle with Matt Moore and helped drive the lefty’s pitch count up early.
Luetge, Delabar and Furbush all pitched in relief, combining for 2 1/3 innings with no hits or runs.
I’m guessing they’ll remember their trip to the top of the Trop for a long time. Too bad they didn’t get a win to cap it off.