What I would like to do is open this recap by showing you video of something that didn't matter, at all, one tiny bit, not in the least.
Now, sure. I can hear you now. You feel like this matters, because you've just watched the Mariners lose ten of their past 14 games while looking much like the joke of an offense that used to regularly put out Trayvon Robinsons and Brendan Ryans in the lineup. I get that. I understand that you've been worrying for far too long now, that you're looking for any encouraging sign that you can since your team just ritually sacrificed their best starting pitcher to the gods on the blood-stained altar that is Minute Maid Park last night.
And sure, it's real neat that Logan Morrison hit two home runs today, and that this second one up there came after the Mariners were already up five, despite the fact that they would have only needed two all day to walk away with the win. But this home run you just watched only did two things: one, it made the scoreboard operator have to put a "7" where there was once a "5," and two, it added a number to a certain column in Logan Morrison's season totals. That's it. Nothing else. Nada. Zero. Zip.
What I'm really trying to say is: I don't want to talk about the home run.
Let's back up a bit. Last night, as I mentioned, Felix Hernandez got mercilessly shelled in the first inning after Willie misplayed a few routine grounders. He was pulled from the game after getting only a single out, and ended up charged with eight runs in what, like, eight minutes or so. You know this.
There was a lot of night left after the game had been lost, and while the Mariners continued to go out there and say thank you please may I have another between glove slaps, the bad taste in your mouth started to intensify even after the final pitch was thrown. Sure, they had been underperforming, but maybe that's exactly the thing that was cause for concern. Rumors of Ruggiano's clubhouse role. Inexplicable at-bats from Robinson Cano. Nothing..."physically" wrong with Felix. Fried Chicken and Beer shit:
When things go wrong with the team, everything goes wrong. I dont think it's an exception that everything is going south with the Mariners— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) June 13, 2015
None of us know a single damn thing that happens in that clubhouse, and it would be foolish to try and guess one way or the other. But it seems at least fair to worry that the cause of all these problems could be somewhere beyond the diamond. It certainly wouldn't be the first time in the sport--nor the club's--history.
But then today the Mariners showed up to Minute Maid Park and promptly put runners on the corners after Austin Jackson singled and was sent to third on a Robinson Cano double. Cruz singled in a run, and Seager another moments later. Then, Trumbo looked at a curve in the dirt off the hand of the visibly nervous Collin McHugh, and then kindly deposited the next pitch he saw into centerfield to put two more runners on base.
Houston Pitching coach Brent Strom promptly jogged out to the mound to calm his right-hander down. McHugh wiped his brow, and I'm sure the two of them went over a plan to get Morrison out, seeing as he had already teed off once against the Astros number two guy this season. I'm not sure what the plan was exactly, but it's very possible that since things are going to hell with the Mariners eating themselves from inside out like an ouroboros, that what was discussed was something along these lines:
Current MiLB pitcher who faced SEA in MLB in May: "I was told to throw junk and avoid plate with fastball. Simplest scouting report ever."— Jason A. Churchill (@ProspectInsider) June 13, 2015
But then, this.
The ball went up and up and over quite a bit more, enough to land beyond the right field fence where the Houston players couldn't get it to throw it back in, which meant that it was suddenly 5-0 Mariners. I'm sure it felt nice to Logan Morrison, putting his team across the board after such a disheartening drubbing less than 24 hours before. But once you go up 5-0 in the first, you can start to breathe easy a little bit. And if not then, you certainly can do it after you go up 7-0 in the third.
But see, now we are talking about that second home run hit by Logan Morrison, the second home run in the third inning that I said I didn't want to talk about. That's because what I want to talk about is this:
And holy shit, THIS!
Now, of course, it would be asinine for me to sit here and tell you that Everything Is Fine! in the clubhouse just because Logan Morrison is good enough buddies with Mark Trumbo to slap his helmet in his face and turn the corners of Dustin Ackley's mouth upwards without utilizing a can of WD-40. But each of these images came from one of Logan Morrison's two dingers, and I'm not going to tell you which is which. One happened while the game was still somewhat in question, and the other happened long after anything really mattered anymore.
Which is which doesn't really matter, because the reaction was the same for both. And while that is far from any sort of proof that everybody is on board to play Secret Santa this Christmas, I think it should at least mirror what it felt like for you watching to see the Mariners go up 7-0 on the Astros after a rough month of baseball. You know, emotional reactions, high and low, to various stimuli! I mean, maybe they aren't infighting and drawing straws and casting shade on one another after each 3-0 loss in visiting dugouts and on long, lonely plane rides. Maybe they are just fucking tired of losing--just as tired as you are of watching them do it.
And this, ultimately, is why I said that home run didn't matter way up there. Because what matters more than the ball leaving the fence is the fact that it didn't land in a glove, or bounce up the infield into the shift. What matters more is that Logan Morrison didn't make that face--you know which one--and then stumble back to the dugout to blank stares and piles of chew on the ground peppered with mashed up sunflower seeds. What matters is that something gave in a game already won, and that they were all reminded, at least for a moment, that maybe, just maybe this could all actually work out in the end.
So yes, today the Mariners blew the door off the Houston Astros, ending the day with 8 runs on 13 hits off a pitcher they had yet to beat this season. While they weren't able to knock him out of the first in order to fully reciprocate last night's tragedy, they continued to give him trouble all day to ensure he would only last three innings altogether.
On one hand, it can always be a little worrisome when your struggling team puts up monster numbers against a good pitcher. And to be certain, McHugh was certainly digging his own grave at times this afternoon, walking Mike Zunino and hitting Seth Smith with five consecutive pitches before Jackson tallied the eighth run of the day in the third inning. But more than anything the Mariners were being smart for once, neither too aggressive nor too passive to let what should be one of the best starting nine in all of baseball do what it's capable of.
And this, ultimately, was the most encouraging part of the day. Only Mike Zunino ended the afternoon without a hit, Mike Montgomery got his first win, and even Danny Farquar, returning prince and de-throner of Rickie Weeks, had a solid two innings of work despite walking two with still spotty command. The Mariners will try and win the series tomorrow morning before heading to San Fransisco to take on the Giants, and although they could be headed for a sweep, they could also be trying not to be swept. With six games between them and .500, they could do a lot worse than have four come against a division rival by the end of next week.
And if that isn't enough to get you fired up about taking a series from these got dang morans, then just watch them wish they had anything to call their own besides a green mascot who sometimes takes his pants off: