Thankfully I was spared having to watch last night’s game. I was driving home after finishing my freshman year at UT. I finally brought my heavy van to my driveway at midnight, and after an extremely busy weekend, I was looking forward to a lazy Wednesday and some baseball.
The lazy part wasn’t meant to be, though. While I was gone, my mom bought a 22-foot-wide above-ground pool, filled it up, and then left for a two-week trip to attend a wedding. When she got back, she discovered that chlorine didn’t kill bacteria and that everything had to be drained.
So I drove to a hardware store, rented an industrial pump, and pumped out most of the water. But quite a bit of water, about ankle deep, was left by the pump, and since the hole to drain the pool was too high, we had to resort to old-fashioned techniques to drain the rest of it. water, bailing out with buckets.
Likewise, I feel like the Mariners entered this series, having been the first team to hand the Mets a series loss, hoping for a nice, easy game. Flexen, Gilbert and Gonzales are a great pitching setup to take on a team that didn’t hit the ground like they hoped.
But, of course, the last two games have not been easy. With Haniger still gone, Jarred Kelenic sent out and Steven Souza Jr. and Mike Ford called up, the M’s have been coming off less than optimal lineups lately. In Toronto, it resulted in a 4-point loss and a 3-point loss. Not funny. Bad, even.
Tonight’s top of the first was especially that mark of Mariners Frustrating™ when the Mariners loaded the bases twice, first without an out, then with an out, only to come away with a single run. Three straight singles to start the game is fun. I like this. Please continue to receive blows. But I would also like to run. It would make me much less nervous.
I watched tonight’s game with a friend who doesn’t watch much baseball, and around the start of the third inning he leaned over to me and said ‘the Mariners are winning this game, but this doesn’t seem like it.” I think that sums up the experience of watching this team fail loaded bases.
Marco was on the hump today, and we were all wondering which Marco we would get. He is known to be a two-halves pitcher. When he’s good he’s great (like against the Astros in the home opener), but when he’s bad his command isn’t there, he gets in trouble and tends to give up the big inning.
At first, it looked like Bad Marco, when he walked the first batter he faced, Springer, on a full count. But he fought to take out Bo Bichette and get Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to get into a double play. A serious feat against some seriously scary bats.
He ran into trouble late in the third and Hyde Marco raised his head. He threw a full count at Bichette to charge the bases, then walked Guerrero Jr. to perfectly placed ground, but the umpire declared the ball a four and a run scored.
The next three rounds, however, were good for Marco. He gave a hit in each, but only Teoscar Hernandez made it to second place and then was immediately knocked out. One run, six innings and a solid performance. Eight baserunners, though. So that’s something to work on.
He of course has an A level defense behind him, although my favorite highlight came in the 8th after leaving the game.
Offense! We had some! Cal Raleigh hit his third home run of the year on a first pitch against Kevin Gausman, the first home run the Blue Jays pitcher gave up all season, and to Cal of all.
A few innings later, Ty got off to a two-run shot that gave Seattle a 3-point lead, and that was the first time I felt confident of a win. It’s a shame, but the Chaos Ball, the 2021 game-winning Mariners, are doomed to history (despite the previous streak. This 2022 team needs a big lead to win games, and three points in end of handle look like a big sinker.
One player, however, decided to make it a bigger lead. Confirming my eye theory once again, our beloved Abraham Toro threw his fourth (!) ninth home run of the season on a 103 mph line to deep right field. If I had a nickel for every ninth-inning home run Toro hit at Rogers Center, I’d have two nickels. Which isn’t much, but it’s weird that it happened twice, considering he’s never been in the Blue Jays division.
To bail out about 470 gallons of water, we put some sea shanties (I know I’m a nerd, you don’t have to let me know) on a Bluetooth speaker and got to work. We sang, laughed and smiled. But more importantly, we got a job that felt like hours and hours of backbreaking work done in about 45 minutes. We found a way to turn a miserable afternoon into fun, to make the best of a bad situation.
A baseball season is long. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. From spring training to the playoffs, there are eight months of throwing, hitting and catching balls. There are going to be games that suck, that test our patience and make us wonder if this sport we love is really good.
It is important after these days to move on and accept that these things happen. In these situations, it is important for the team to have games like this. Games where they run, throw well and play good fundamental defense. In short, to make the best of a bad situation.
Tonight, the Mariners did just that and can now head to Boston with a little more spring in their step.