Two players! The Mariners beat them with two players! How is that team in second place? And where were the rest of the Mariners? It worked out fine tonight but going forward this might be a problem strategy.
Sometimes I don't really mull over what I'm going to write about until the game is finished. Other times, when I'm being more disciplined, I'll think about my writing while the game is going on. What's a good angle to take? How should I kick it off? How should I lay it out? What should I use as a headline? The idea is that thinking about the writing process will make the actual writing process go faster.
Tonight, I was trying to be disciplined. Tonight, I was trying to watch and plan at the same time. I've had a little trouble coming up with recaps lately, so I wanted to be more prepared when I sat down for this one.
So, I watched, and I thought. And before long, it became pretty evident which angle I was going to end up taking. Once again, Felix Hernandez was throwing a magnificent game, and once again, the Mariners couldn't muster anything in the way of offensive support.
It wasn't a particularly original angle, but it was the obvious angle, and the only angle. Because that was exactly what was going on. Felix allowed a run in the third inning. The run scored on a single, a bunt, and another single that just sneaked through the infield. That was it. Felix had allowed one run, and he was pitching his ass off, and he was going to lose, because he had his offense, and the Angels had Dan Haren.
It was the only way to go. The only thing that troubled me was that I had just written that recap a little while back, when Felix lost while dominating the Rays. So I needed to figure out a new way to approach the same subject. But no matter - I had my angle, and I still had a few innings left to figure out how I wanted to tackle it.
I was certain I was going to be writing that kind of recap. I was still certain when the Mariners loaded the bases in the seventh. I was still certain after Franklin Gutierrez singled with two outs in the eighth. I was still certain when Dustin Ackley followed Gutierrez's single with one of his own. And I was still certain when Mike Carp followed Ackley by lifting a fly ball in the direction of Peter Bourjos. The only balls that've dropped in center field since Peter Bourjos took over are Peter Bourjos'. That ball was the third out.
But that ball wasn't the third out. That ball kept carrying, sailing over Peter Bourjos' head, and instead of being the third out, that ball was two runs. Hitting a fly ball to center field against the Angels is not unlike proposing to a corpse, but Carp...well I guess the corpse said yes to Carp, which confirms that this is a terrible analogy. But Carp challenged the Angels and won, and all of a sudden, instead of being faced with a 1-0 loss, Felix Hernandez had a 2-1 lead, and a pitch count of 97. Everything had changed with one bad Scott Downs sinker. and instead of absorbing another impossible defeat, Felix stood to finish a gem and close out the second dramatic evening in three days.
So the recap idea didn't work anymore. And I didn't bother thinking up a new angle, because I was too caught up in the moment. Which is how you wound up getting the non-angle angle above. As soon as I saw Bourjos turn around and book it to the track, I forgot all about writing and got swept up in the theater. Mike Carp, you guys. Mike Carp, again. Mike Carp, against a dominant lefty. Mike Carp, to let Felix get a win.
Felix, of course, still had to close things out after Carp's double, and it wasn't easy - after a pair of strikeouts, Mark Trumbo took Felix to the right-center track. But as Felix leaned over, Casper Wells pulled up short of the wall for the catch, and that was the ballgame. Felix had a dominant complete-game victory, and Mike Carp had another clutch extra-base hit to knock the Angels to the floor.
This was one of those games where anything I say just feels inadequate, because I don't think I can properly convey how it felt to watch Carp's double hit the ground, or Trumbo's fly find a glove. Maybe I don't know enough words. Maybe the proper words don't exist. There are just so many positive elements. About the Mariners' present, about the Mariners' future, and about the Mariners beating the Angels again. So many good feelings that I can't sort through and get on a virtual notepad.
Felix was dominant. Absolutely dominant. It was a pleasure to watch him pitch, albeit simultaneously torturous figuring for so long that he'd still get dinged with the loss. Carp was a hero. For the second time in the series, Carp drove in the winning run in the eighth inning off a lefty reliever. The Angels lost in heartbreaking fashion. Haha, Angels. Sure, the non-Carp Mariners managed all of four hits, but who cares? The Mariners still earned the big positive. The Mariners still won the kind of game that, even on August 31st in a last-place season, you're glad that you watched.
Here's this. Watch it over and over, and over again. Baseball can be magic.