You all deserve a quality, thoughtful recap tonight. Every baseball game is amazing, even the truly crappy ones. They have happened and they require that someone comment on them. Tonight that is I.
And here we are. Hello. Thank you for reading this. How are you? It feels like a long time since our Opening Day Bacchanalia does it not? The Mariners lost in the same way it feels like they've lost all year so far. They scraped out an early lead against a good starting pitcher, saw their starting pitcher struggle with command and have to be taken out before six. The bullpen, which has been taxed of every doodad and doohickey they possess like a peasant in Nottingham, bravely tried to protect the lead but in vain.
The Astros 8th felt like a cold summation of the season thus far: leadoff error on a bad hop, a double play ball turned single thanks to poor luck, another seeing eye ground ball and then the inevitable cascade of line drives and runs and boom, anther victory gone in cold, arreptitious fashion.
It is simply going to have to change at some point, will it not? We tell ourselves that BABIP will regress, that luck will equalize and this team that was supposed to be and feels so different in so many ways than the other Mariner teams of this decade will begin to prove its quality.
The time is far from run out. There is not need to panic. There's every reason to be pissed but panic? Nah. The 2014 Mariners were 7-13 last April before Kyle Seager hit a walk off that served as the launching point for a great year. But it has to change and change soon. Whatever you think about randomness, regression and the fickleness of relief pitchers the team feels like a much better one than its record indicates.
We are far from the spiral to welstchmerz. It's on them to prove it and us to give them the chance to do so.
- I made this comparison on Twitter and it holds up so I think I'll make it here. When watching Taijuan Walker I get the mental image of a teen driving a 600 hp supercar. "Ohohoho that was thrilling but what if I turn off the traction control, hold the steering wheel with only my teeth and floor it around this hairpin?"
Tonight for the first time in 2015 the raw horsepower of the engine that lives in that shoulder showed through. Walker's stuff was dominant and the Astros were largely incapable of doing anything with it. Through 5 1/3 IP Walker struck out 8 Houston batters but, as with any large, powerful engine his MPG was laughable, thanks to 4 BB a HBP and about 82 full counts.
It is so very easy to imagine the fully finished product of Taijuan Walker and the amazing things he could do. But until he's able to consistently locate his pitches he, for now, remains an abbozzo of himself.
- CB Bucknor, a man with a very high profile job for which he has almost never demonstrated the slightest inclination, talent, enthusiasm or competency, was tonight's home plate umpire. He spent the evening doing his standard free-form jazz oddyssey all over the strike zone. But in the 5th with George Springer batting Bucknor managed the special trick of failing to count to four:
- Mike Zunino on the evening: 1-3, a sac fly and ZERO strikeouts. Whatever you think about Zunino there is almost no chance he is as bad an offensive player as he has been thus far. Here's to hoping tonight provides a launch toward...something, anything than what he has been.