Tuesday was a pretty normal sports day. We got a couple of games in the NBA play-in tournament, some NHL games, and some early-season MLB games. It was a great sports day for Seattle fans though, despite both the Mariners and Kraken losing. The reason it was great was due to two young stars that have the potential to be Seattle sports mainstays for years to come. And they are both named Matthew (but neither actually goes by Matthew).
The day of Matts started with a young hurler named Matt Brash making his major league debut for the Mariners. He earned the fifth spot in Seattle’s starting rotation in spring training and was making his first career start in Chicago against the White Sox. Although he technically took the loss in his debut, his performance was a win for Mariner fans everywhere.
Brash went five and one-third innings while striking out six batters, which gives him the second-most punchouts on the team behind Logan Gilbert. He gave up just two runs to a White Sox team that won 93 games last year and is one of the favorites in the American League. Brash showed great control of the zone, issuing only two walks and throwing 58 of his 85 pitches for strikes.
While Brash’s numbers do look pretty impressive, it was his filthy pitches that are the most promising aspect of his first start. His arsenal of pitches was on full display in the minors last year and Spring Training this year, but they had yet to be tried out in the majors. It went incredibly well for Brash as his stuff certainly translated to the big leagues and looked just as nasty as ever. He earned a 48-second-long video on the famous Pitching Ninja Twitter account just showing just how disgusting his pitches were on Tuesday. He also got an overlay video of his fastball and curveball that may be evidence that he is not actually a human being (please go watch those videos and if you do, watch them sitting down with something supportive underneath your jaw so it doesn’t get injured from dropping too hard). Also, according to Joey Pollizze on Twitter, Brash got 11 swinging strikes on his curveball against the White Sox which is the most in a major league debut since 2009.
Brash’s performance alone would have been enough to satiate Seattle sports fans but, luckily, there was still one more Matt to go.
This Matt actually goes by Matty. Matty Beniers to be exact, second overall pick in the 2021 NHL entry draft by the Seattle Kraken. Beniers debut was incredibly hyped up because he just signed his entry-level contract days ago following a college season at the University of Michigan that ended in the Frozen Four. He made the quick turnaround to sign on the dotted line and make his debut with the Kraken now instead of waiting until next year or even the year after that.
The Mariners have had a ton of pitchers and other prospects debut for them over the years but this was the first time that a Seattle Kraken draft pick would put on the jersey and hit the ice with the team, so safe to say it was a historic moment.
Beniers did not disappoint (even though the Kraken did by ultimately losing 5-3 to the Calgary Flames). He slotted in on the second line and made his presence felt immediately by recording his first NHL point in the first period of the game when he notched an assist on a Ryan Donato goal to open up the scoring. It was an incredible play that consisted of the 19-year-old keeping control of the puck while carrying it through the top of the zone before dumping it off, getting it back, and then finding Donato in the slot for a wide-open goal.
It was clear that Beniers has the full confidence of the coaching staff going forward, which is always good for a young star to have. He spent the third-most time on the ice among forwards behind only Donato and Jordan Eberle. He also earned a spot on the powerplay unit, recording 1:30 of ice time with the man advantage, which goes to show just how talented and trusted he is.
I don’t believe in witchcraft or wizardry or any of that stuff but I think Tuesday might have been a glimpse into a crystal ball because we saw the future of Seattle sports, they just both happen to be named Matt.