I was fully prepared for a loss. It's not that I thought the Mariners couldn't win; it's just that the losing sets in and you lower your expectations accordingly. It's a safety feature that the manufacturer thankfully included on our stupid bodies. But teams win all the time in baseball, bad teams, good teams, bad teams playing good teams, the Astros sweeping the Mariners. Eventually they were going to win a game.
What messed me up wasn't that I was prepared for a loss, it's that I was prepared to be optimistic about the loss. Every idea I had was about finding silver linings and bright spots in another numb loss. The dark clouds that have formed over this team the last month have killed almost all interest for many fans and us sad fuckers that remained were just that: sad, depressed, pessimistic sacks of human flesh being held upright by the manufacturers safety restraint. So I wanted to be optimistic.
And then the Mariners had to go and ruin everything. And it was pretty fantastic. I hereby give you permission to nuke all my future ideas and replace them with performances like this. It wasn't the most dominant performance they've had recently, but it sure felt like it. Who needs to look for silver linings when:
- James Paxton (24) chucks 6 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball to go along with 5 strikeouts. And also somehow walks while trying to lay down a sac bunt, which may signal a skill in psychological operations that we were previously unaware of.
- Danny Farquhar (26) blows through the bottom of the 9th so fast I don't even have time to put on my celebration pants.
- Abraham Almonte (24) goes 2-2 after subbing in and looks more and more like he might just be major league contributor.
- Dustin Ackley (25) walks. Hmm, that was not the intriguing hook I thought it would be. No this is exciting, trust me, walking is good. Yes, of course I mean it's healthy and good for your body to walk and get physical exercise, and yes Ackley probably walks all over the place at home and surely he has to walk to get into his staring room. But more than that, walks are good in baseball. Walks are good for Ackley, he's been doing this more lately, and this is only the most recent example. This is the skill he was supposed to have and he did it twice more tonight. Hmm, still not convinced, I see you need something that revs your engine a little more. He had a hit too, he wasn't just lazily staring at baseballs, he was Active Ackley. Well Ackley ran twice too, which is to say he had 2 runs. Ok, fine, I give up, you win, stay unexcited about the performance of Mr. Ackley.
So hey, bright spots, GET EXCITED! This was a pretty great all around performance at a time when we are way past the doldrums of the season. I don't think this ship even has sails anymore let alone wind to push it. But you know what, you fucking know what, we're trapped out here and we've got a shitload of rum so we might as well try and have a good time until Death shows up on September 30th to claim this season and all of our bloated corpses with it.
- It wasn't all good news as Brad Miller left the game after a sacrifice bunt. Soon after it was reported that it was a mild hamstring strain and he is listed as day-to-day. I don't want to speculate too much, but I think the report is saying that he is not in fact deceased as one person somewhere may have thought.
- Speaking of speculation, I would never say that James Paxton is going to be in the rotation next year. He may not even be with the Mariners in two months. But these last two starts sure have been nice and hey what do you know, the Mariners need starting pitching going into next season. He is probably the worst piece of spaghetti ever, but hey, throw him on the wall, give him a chance to stick.
- Kendrys Morales had quite a decent game too. He wasn't included in the bright spots only because of his age and contract situation. And you know, narratives. But he notched his 22nd dinger and had another hit and I wouldn't be sad to see him hang around another season, or three.
- Franklin Gutierrez is in a similar but also not so similar situation as Kendrys (In regards: this Game, and: the Future). He provided all the offense the Ms would need with a two run double and did not hurt himself which is a miracle, and also a cliché to mention it's miraculousness. He also K'd three times and has an uncertain future. And he's not so young anymore. I'm sorry Guti. That's a lot of hits to take in consecutive statements. To be reminded of the fragility of life and blah blah blah, stuff about being sad and decay.