On one hand, you really have to give it to them. I mean, they could have gone out there and plopped a hit down each inning, maybe gotten thrown out on the basepaths or had a late-game threat squashed by a misplayed dribbler up through the third base side. You know, the head-back-to-the-dugout-with-dirt-stains bit that induces post-game quotes like "a game of inches" and "stuff was good, but they saw a few pitches" and the like.
No, instead, we have a team that is going to deny you a messy, hard-fought battle in favor of a fucking Rembrandt of ineptitude. Ask and ye shall receive.
Today the Seattle Mariners came off a 9-inning rout of the Cleveland Indians to face a pitcher with a BB/9 on the year of 3.46, a BABIP of .266, and a propensity for command that looks like your drunk uncle Tom trying to point at you while refuting the injustice of the American tax system, and what did they do? Rolled over for a two-hit shutout.
Yes, today a team with a starting lineup composed of six, almost seven 100+ career wRC+ hitters faced a thirty-something pitcher who can only hit about 86 from the right side while averaging nearly four walks every nine innings, and pretty soon they just started throwing their bats at the balls with the hope that maybe they could make one go over there, in the corner, where a fielder hadn't shifted to yet.
And it certainly didn't help that CB Bucknor was behind the plate. After going quietly in the top of the first, J.A. Happ came out and promptly walked Mike Aviles with five pitches before escaping with a man on third. He was able to keep the damage in check, but by the end of the inning, Happ was sitting at 29 pitches. And after the second? Sixty-six.
This is where I'd show you the zone CB Bucknor called. And instead of saying I'm not going to do that I am, because dammit look at this shit:
But the problem is that just as we all know that CB Bucknor can do whatever he wants to without fear of reprimand, the reality is that J.A. Happ was certainly not on his best behavior today. His absurdly high pitch count could have been better handled with a few correct calls here and there, but Cleveland's hitters were fouling balls off left and right all afternoon, making Happ pay for slightly spotty command in the dungeon of hell that is Progressive Field. If you want to blame the zone, please feel free to do so--just make sure you do it after you look at Brandon Moss' double in the second, which is a singular metaphor for everything you need to know about this here stupid baseball game we had today:
Helloooooooooooo Taijuan Walker.
The Mariners did their part in remaining competitive by staying off the bases until Logan Morrison was beaned in the leg in the top of the fourth. And what's so frustrating about all this is that they were actually making Marcum work--Cano, for instance, took seven pitches to strike out in the first, while Seth Smith did the same in the second. But for some godforsaken reason, it was the same damned offense that haunts your dreams showing up today in this, possibly only the second worst park for Mariners baseball in the past sixteen years in which you cannot escape. After LogDog tromped on over to first in the fourth, he was hastily abandoned on consecutive fly-outs off the bats of Austin Jackson and Robinson Cano, and then died standing on third after a few wild pitches preceded a boring ground out from Kyle Seager, Ranger Killer not playing the Texas Rangers this afternoon.
Two hits on the day--the first coming off the bat of new Mariner Mark Trumbo in the fifth and the second in an encouraging double from Robinson Cano, of whom I'm actually starting to actively consider theories such as the following:
Robinson Cano has been abducted by aliens and replaced with a malfunctioning cyborg named Robertson Canoe.— Productive Outs (@ProductiveOuts) June 11, 2015
The good news is that Rodney had a solid inning of work, managing a double play after walking Brandon Moss and then striking out Zach Walters on a changeup that still seems to have the bite that it needs to have if he wants to be an effective
closer reliever major league pitcher. But other than that, this steaming pile of rotting jello gave us swings and misses, obnoxious drumming ready to break your television speakers and your sense of good taste, and a terrible strike zone without one single Lloyd hat-toss or jersey fling off the chest of a Veteran Presence ready to make his disdain known.
If you missed it, then trust me when I say you missed nothing.
If you didn't miss it, I'm sorry.
And if you were Dustin Ackley, running back to catch what looked like the sixth run of the third inning after Tom readily handed Happ all the earned freebies in the world, I wouldn't have blamed you for channeling your inner Sartre as you stared there, into that tiny orb of cowhide and cork, possibly catching your own reflection in its sleek monochrome surface as you gazed into your own eyes and then began,
Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself
that he is alone,
abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities,
with no other aim than the one he sets himself,
with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
And there you have it. A Rembrandt. Prose from the pen of a French existentialist. The Goddamn Seattle Mariners. It's going to get better, it really, really will. But we would be foolish to avoid the fact that when they finally do something worth watching, it will come at the expense of years of Dustin Ackleys staring into baseballs in an attempt to summon the gods towards the questions we cannot ever know the answers to.
And when that happens, we can goms our way into the sunset. But until then, well, at least we don't have Rubén Amaro running the show. I mean, haha.