The Mariners win a 4th consecutive series with 3-1 against the Diamondbacks

Yesterday morning, before the Mariners beat the Diamondbacks 6-1, the highly anticipated (by me) city building and strategy game Lords of the Manor released in early access. The game places the player in the role of a minor medieval European nobleman and gives them the task of building a self-sustaining city. Players must develop the city while fending off famine, rebellion, bandits, and rival nobles. This outing got me thinking, perhaps predictably, about medieval towns and how they functioned. And believe it or not, dear reader, the Mariners provided a very good example tonight.

The first thing to understand about medieval European society is that cities existed according to a very rigid class structure with extremely limited social mobility. A farmer had little or no means of advancing in society. And yet farmers, at the very bottom of the class system, were essential to the survival of any city.

And it was the same tonight when it came to the bottom of the lineup. Often overlooked, 7-9 hole hitters play an important role in both keeping the line moving and trying to create something together. The first four innings of the game were perfect examples of lean years, as the Mariners lineup failed to do anything against Arizona starter Slade Cecconi. Cecconi is primarily a fastball pitcher and makes his living throwing it in there and hoping for the best. And it worked for him for the first 15 batters he faced (despite a Luke Raley hit and a Mitch Haniger walk).

Finally, with one out in the bottom of the 5th, the snow thawed and Mitch Garver was able to throw a fastball up the middle into the opposite field for a double. That deft sowing was followed by a useful dose of harvesting, as Luke Raley ensured his second hit of the game wouldn’t come cheap. Also note Garver sliding like a medieval peasant who has just been explained baseball.

Like the weavers after the flax harvest, the Mariners were finally putting something together. And it’s important that it comes from the bottom of the lineup. As Scott Servais noted after the game, when a team is on a hot streak like the Mariners are currently, everyone is – and needs to be – performing at the highest level.

And since the serfs had the responsibility to provide for the entire city, they also had to live with this pressure, because even a simple mistake could have consequences, as Mitch Haniger demonstrated.

But nevertheless, thanks to the strong crop coming from the bottom of the roster, the middle has been freed up to focus on more specialized activities. Like a restrained monk, Jorge Polanco continued to demonstrate exemplary discipline and drew a first base on balls at the bottom of the 8th. And he was able to circle the bases when Bryce Jarvis left a 92 mph cutter over the heart of the plate to Ty France. Ty is built like a blacksmith after spending the winter with a transmission, and he was able to unload all his strength on this one.

Going back through the medieval classes, we finally arrive at the lord of the city and the most remarkable representation of the night. George Kirby was outstanding tonight in what was the best start of his career thus far. He struck out 12 Arizona batters in 7 innings – more than half of the outs he got – and induced 23 whiffs, both career highs for Kirbster.

He and his faithful servant Cal Raleigh showed enormous confidence from the first inning. After Kirby threw a slider for his second pitch, he used his arm trebuchet to throw 10 consecutive fastballs to hit the sideline. The fastest was a 99.3 mph (!) Greek fireball that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was powerless against.

Much like a medieval lord, George never knew when to give up. In the second inning, he found himself involved in a battle of attrition against leadoff hitter Christian Walker. After the game, George said that even though the bat was past his 10th pitch, he still wanted to challenge Walker, saying, “I’d rather him get a hit than a free pass.” And that’s exactly what happened when, on the 12th pitch at bat, Walker sent a fastball up the middle for a groundout single. Still, George continued on his warpath and retired the next two batters before inducing a weak groundout to end the inning.

During the next season’s contest, in the 3rd inning, Lord Kirby had to fend off a spirited attack from the bottom of the Arizona lineup, as a deep ball from Bryce Alexander just barely left the court, and instead hit a double with 1 out. It turned into two runners as Jake McCarthy was able to outwit Kirby and deliver a rare 4-pitch walk. In the end, this meant nothing as George was able to fall back on his old reliable heaters: the top heat rails.

What makes Kirby’s display of excellence tonight even more impressive is that the Diamondbacks have the second-most runs scored per game and one of the lowest strikeout rates in all of MLB . The fact that Kirby was able to not only shut down this explosive attack, but also put together the best start of his young career against them is almost unbelievable. Maybe he has a divine right to the mound.

With tonight’s victory, the Mariners won their 4th consecutive series, including winning both halves of last year’s World Series. If we were still in the Middle Ages (and let’s be thankful that we’re not), that would give the M a pretty strong claim to the Champion throne. As things stand, we’ll have to wait until October.

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