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A Few Bangs and Then I Whimpered Or the M's Lose Again

The pitching wasn't great, the runners were left on, and our hearts were sent fluttering back down to Earth.

Wellllll, shit.
Wellllll, shit.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

In a way, we've all felt this way before.  However, in a very new way, it's been a long time since any of us felt this way.  We're used to unbalanced squads, to teams that excelled in one aspect but not the other.  This team, so far, has flipped that script in a way that I'm frankly still uncomfortable with.  It used to be that if the Seattle Mariners lucked their way in to a lead, on the random two nights of the week that happened, we held it.  Unless, I don't know, Brandon League ended up pitching the 9th or Hector Noesi was starting.  These days, I'm never settled, never fully sitting back in my chair while I watch the games.  How is the AL West this annoying?

Hisashi Iwakuma started the game, and from that starting point, certainly never seemed sure he could end it.  This was his second batter of the game:

That is a pitch that even I could serve at least 250 feet after a brisk session of BP.  Mistakes in the middle of the plate are still haunting The Bear into his third start.  He would last only 5 1/3 innings while striking out three and allowing four earned runs on five hits.  He was pulled after throwing less than 75 pitches, because as Lloyd noticed along with the rest of us (mainly Mike Blowers), he just wasn't sharp tonight.  The guy, as of right now, is a homerun with a pitching problem.

Luis Valbuena found himself two wonderful meatballs tonight, this one in the 1st, and another to lead off the 8th, and deposited both in to the right field bleachers.  Two solo shots, sure, but this was the sort of game where every little crack in the wall would eventually crumble the building.

Mistakes over the middle of the plate, you say?

Colby Rasmus liked the way he did it right thur, right thur.  And you know I'm mad because I just made a Chingy reference and it's 2015.  Any 5th grader who just learned how to throw a curveball so that his elbow tissue can be gone by his 17th birthday will tell you that you can't float a sinker dead-center and not expect it to earn the batter a nice bag of curly fries from mom after the game.  The worst part is that the only way I could really describe Colby Rasmus' physique is like a stick on stick.  Like if you found two sticks in the woods and made them sit on top of each other and grow a wispy mustache.  That biotic concoction of misplaced facial hair and broken lignin hit a homerun tonight.

Despite his struggles, Iwakuma left in the 6th with what would have been his first win of the season in his hands due to the wonderful and encouraging fight being displayed throughout the Mariners lineup.  The 3-4-5 combo of Cano, Cruz, and Seager checked in with two hits a piece and there seems to be a lot of danger written in the card that Lloyd scribbles together every day.  The pen is mightier, you see.  It's actually not, though if we're talking a real battle with swords and pens.

The bottom of the 5th saw the Mariners, now down 3-2 after the above Rasmus homerun, make up the deficit for the third time, and then some.  After a walk by Cano and him taking 2nd on a wild pickoff attempt, Cruz sharply doubled him home.  3-3.  Kyle Seager would swiftly single in Cruz, after which he would straight steal 2nd base.  4-3 good guys.  Seth Smith would then have what he is now known for, an exceedingly professional at-bat wherein he would push Seager to 3rd while grounding out in the hole to Jose AltuveMike Zunino would then score Kyle on a sac-fly to left.  5-3.  Just like that.  Clean, simple, beautiful baseball.

Not to be lost in the inning, is after the three runs crossed the plate, Logan Morrison had this at-bat, resulting in a single:

That's a thing of pure and clean solar rays.  And it has to be said, he wasn't the only Mariners hitter who was seeing a lot of pitches tonight.  It's a trend we like to see.  Patience.  It's a virtue, some say.

The Astros would, sadly, tie the game back up after that wonderful 5th inning and the Mariners would never score again.  In this game.  Not actually ever.  That would be crazy.  Right?  Right?  Guys?

On the other hand, we have this, now alarmingly prototypical AB from Mikey Z earlier in the 2nd inning to consider:

I'm sure this is how Ponce de Leon felt while looking for the Fountain of Youth.  Confused, alone, and full of incorrect data.  Z had two three-pitch strikeouts tonight, but I won't belabor the point.  The kid is so lost.  The low, bendy things.  His map is unfortunately bias towards them.

For all the good things this offense may be doing, ten strikeouts tonight (3 by Austin Jackson!) still doesn't look good.  As well, the bottom of the 3rd was a clear case of the M's not taking their chances.  With one down, Cano lined a shot to dead-center that bounced, mockingly, back in to play off the top of the yellow line.  Cruz singled him home after a passed ball had moved Cano to 3rd, tying the game at 2-2.  Seager would proceed to double, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with one down.  Seth Smith (still the most aptly named man in the lineup) worked a phenomenal 9-pitch walk to load the bases.  After which Z would strikeout and Morrison would flyout to centerfield.  Inning over, no runs off of juiced bags with one out.  This was essentially the game, even though we didn't know it then.  I kinda knew it then.  Nobody likes a know-it-all.

With Danny Farquhar pitching, the team from Houston would then take the lead in the top of the 8th after the previously mentioned Valbuena solo shot and Jed Lowrie singling home the surely diaper-wearing Evan Gattis after he laced a double to left center.  7-5.  Maybe you shouldn't so gleefully toss around ice-buckets, Danny.  And fanny-packs aren't even cool.  The next six batters would go down in order for the M's.

At some point early on in this game, a graphic popped up displaying the AL West standings, which at the time the Mariners were a single game behind the Astros.  They now sit at 5-8, two games behind those same Astros.  However, David "Dave" Sims reminded us all, "We still have a chance."  It's April.  These are the sage words of a man in a bowler hat.

We live.  We die.  We play ball in-between.