67-86: Mariners extend hit streak to 299 games

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Another drop in an ocean of failure, but this one caught a ray of sunshine and blasted out some beautiful light as it fell.

Exhaustion. It destroys the senses and breaks down the will. Exhaustion dilutes the meaning of existence down to escape.  Find a way to rest. Find water. Find food. Find life.

I went for a run awhile back.  I left around dinner time and just started going. The weather was perfect and I spent the first hour+ in a sort of rhapsodical, endorphin-fueled nirvana. At about the 7 mile mark I came into a stretch darkened by overhanging trees.  They continued for about a mile until I rounded a corner and was struck in the face by an overwhelming panorama of natural beauty. The road was directly adjacent to the Sound and the sun hung about 45 minutes above the Olympics.  I ran and I ran, lost in the joy of it all.

Then I started to hurt. It was at about the 10 mile mark that my legs started to tell me that I needed to stop. But I didn't listen. There's a longer race upcoming and I was determined to push through, and to test my limits.  Shortly after, about mile 11 I had been reduced to shuffling across the road like a modern-day Quasimodo.  The sun, water, that gorgeous, perfumed air all remained.  But I couldn't see it anymore. My world had narrowed down to only feel the pain of my body's complete emptiness.

I made it past 13.1, my first half-marathon. It was an achievement that even six months ago seemed impossible.  But there was no appreciation, no moment of self-reflection or congratulations. All I could do was continue my shuffle. Head down, dead to all around me, one foot mindlessly in front of the other. Forever.

  • The Mariners lost today, 5-4. The result is just another stagger in a season, nay a decade's worth of awkward, painful steps down a road to God knows what.  But it's a shame about that exhaustion. If you could see this game with clear eyes, a comfortable seat and a cup of coffee you were witness to many interesting and enjoyable experiences.  There's a sweet flavor to games with multiple lead changes and today's had 4. 2 early, 1 middle and most excitingly (and of course for us despondently) late.
  • Dustin Ackley ripped a 3 run home run off of departed friend Doug Fister. Ackley is now up to a 128 wRC+ in the 2nd half. It doesn't mean much. I mean, a month ago Justin Smoak was running an .821 OPS and inspiring us all with hope his days of Justin Smoak'ing were finally done.  With Ackley it's largely the same.  The truth is most likely in the career sample, and that says that he's probably not very good at hitting. But we have recent, non-minute success. So we cling to it, because what else do we have?
  • Prince Fielder scored from 1st twice in this game.  I can't imagine that is something that will happen too many more times. Look at him run here. That is a man making running 3/4 of the way around a baseball diamond look like a herculean accomplishment.  He will be making $24,000,000 dollars in 2018. He should probably stop snacking.

  • On that go ahead double.  Mike Zunino acted very much like he tagged Prince Fielder.  The replays I've seen are fairly inconclusive.  Either way It's pretty easy to acknowledge that it was a close play and Ron Kulpa had a tough call. What I can never understand is how often plays like this find the umpire so terribly out of position. The ball was hit into the LF corner. The entire play, runner, relay, catch, slide, possible tag, happened in front of Kulpa.  Yet at the key moment he found himself physically incapably of seeing the play property due to poor positioning: Tough_call

    Look this all gets better if these guys are given a chance to review critical calls with a sense making replay system. But still, while acknowledging that perfection is unattainable it's closer if we put ourselves in proper position to succeed.  Kulpa was, as umpires seem to be so often, out of position. I can't get rankled that it cost the Mariners the game. The Mariners' economy long stopped running on wins and losses. It's just bad process. Aggravating, often repeated bad process. It's annoying.
  • James Paxton's first two starts impressed largely do to better than advertised command.  But today Paxton gave us a taste of what Mike Curto has been seeing a majority of the year: Plus stuff, below average command and a short inning due to inefficiency. Paxton's ceiling is about as high as any of the Mariner prospects outside of Taijuan Walker. Left handers with 95+ fastballs and plus breaking pitches are wonderful.  But his command issues and lack of a quality 3rd pitch still make him a bit of a long shot to stick as a regular contributor in a major league rotation. Even if he does he strikes me as a poor man's left-handed Gil Meche. Which just leads to, you know, lots of delays.
  • One final note on Paxton. In the 1st inning Scott tweeted out this: On the next pitch James Paxton did this. It's important to not confuse correlation with causation but it seems safe to say that Scott hates the Mariners and wants them to lose.


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