It's been a strange couple of days here at Lookout Landing. After simply dealing with the fact that the most hyped Mariners team since the Edgar Martinez days is currently mashing an N64 controller with their feet while hoping to beat full-season mode in our hypothetical MLB 2K15, our beloved managing editor jumped ship and left this smoking poop refuse for all of us to deal with, conveniently following Felix Hernandez' worst outing against the dumb-ass Astros and something-something AL West standings who gives a shit drink another beer.
I mean, the reality is that many of us knew Scott was leaving even long before this past week gave us the most worrisome hours of Mariners baseball since Chone Figgins, but even that didn't make any of this any easier. So you would be forgiven for entering today's game against the reigning World Series champions thinking anything other than wait-why-am-I-watching-any-of-this-shit-anyway. Maybe because of things like this, against a former NL MVP:
I mean, wow! This is a fun baseball event!! But let's not get too ahead of ourselves here....
Now there we go! Ha! Look at this fuckin' loser.
Let's quote the Giants' broadcast here, and please know I am not exaggerating one bit and am doing my best to replicate my undergraduate experience as a campus journalist in bringing you the unadulterated, verbatim quote from this broadcast moment, when we look at sad sack Joey here who is a Man clearly trying to Sex the Woman next to him. AND I QUOTE...
...and it's in the first row on a nice catch.
Alright, hand it over, let's go, give it up!
(he puts the ball in the empty baseball glove that ostensibly belongs to the girl sitting next to him, which could be his girlfriend, or maybe a coworker, possibly his sister or maybe just a fucking female human being sitting next to him, annoyed by his full and matching Hillsboro Hops outfit)
IT WILL MAKE YOUR NIGHT A LOT BETTER, HAND IT OVER!!!!
(here they clearly are referring to possible sexual intercourse, with the idea that our hero Joey will be able to achieve The Sex with said woman, were he to woo her with a piece of cork and rubber. I mean, how else do you get in a ladies pants?)
URRR KILLIN MEEEEE
I would give anything, ANYTHING, to be able to tell you that what I just typed, which was
URRR KILLEN MEEEEE"
Was me exaggerating what happened on my television this afternoon, except that's not true. Watch that fucking video and tell me that anything else happened in those four minutes of broadcast time. Dave Sims misjudges fly balls, Rick Rizzs is predictable, and yes, Jon Miller may be the best voice in the game not named Vin Scully, but this clip should remind you that its only a hop and a skip right back to the most sexist garbage and masturbatory nonsense that can ruin this game we all enjoy. ALRIGHT ENOUGH OF THAT.
So, what we had here was a game in which the Seattle Mariners beat the San Fransisco Giants, 2-0. And they almost didn't, too!
We opened the night--Donald Trumping aside--with what I can only describe as one of the best pitching duels I can remember in recent history. Felix matched up with the reigning World Series MVP and underwear model Madison Bum-garner to deliver hella strikeouts and weak grounders to awaiting baseball fans curious to see who would break the barrier first. And for a hot minute, it really looked like something damn special was going to happen for the Giants.
Felix would up giving his first hit up to Buster Posey in the top of the second, and found himself with a number of weak hits by mid-game. All things considered, it was an absolutely wonderful thing to see considering the nonsense that happened in Houston last week, in what I honestly consider to be the second worst game of my twenty-something-year Mariner fandom. If you really want to know what the worst was, just go back a few articles, it's not that hard.
Still, look. "Broken Felix" came out fresh off getting Fight-Clubbed by the fucking Astros to throw eight innings of shutout ball against an--honestly--lights out ballclub. And late into the game, he was able to do this kind of thing:
I hope you realize just how lucky you are:
This is pitcher who increased his ERA by more than a point in a single start last week, and who was able to answer that madness by securing his AL-leading 10th win and five-strikeout performance against the World Series Champion giants by throwing an absolute Felix Fucking Masterpiece against Buster Posey. Just look at this shit!
This at-bat comes in the eighth inning with the Mariners already up two--and keep in mind that Felix has seen this lineup three times. He promptly starts out Posey with an offspeed pitch hoping to generate a swing, but it doesn't quite work out. Which is fine, because he can still easily still hit 93 with one of his fastballs which can generate downward movement.
Bam. Strike one, and rightfully so--Posey wasn't expecting anything in the zone there, near 100 pitches with the arm surely tiring. Even if he had swung, he would have been late at 93.
Felix next aims for the changeup in the dirt, which is his absolute bread and butter late in innings--and you have to know that the interleague thing comes into play here--does Mike Trout really fall for this? And yet Posey doesn't either, watching as the ball gathers dirt in the ground to make the count 2-1. The playbook is out. Time to worry.
By this point, Felix has let himself get behind in the count almost to establish that it's late in the game and he's "having trouble" locating his pitches. Except he hasn't--he's simply played his cards with the possibility that Posey would swing at a changeup in the dirt and a fastball that stays in the zone until the last second, knowing full well he can come back from a 2-1 count with ease.
Felix' next pitch touches the corner of the plate, and while Posey fouls it off, it seems fair to say that Felix would have settled for either a pitch two inches in the zone or two inches out--and yet he lands right on the edge. The result--a misplaced foul, is exactly what he had hoped for. Strike two.
By this point, Felix has painted however many corners of the bottom of the zone to show that this is just frankly where he's going to be throwing pitches. And now, ladies and gentlemen, we get to see just why our King is the best fucking pitcher on the planet. That's because he could do a number of things now, with a 2-2 count. A) Freak out and throw in the strike zone so as not to walk someone and blow the lead, B) pray tell and throw a mile out of the zone in the hopes that your hitter is somehow an idiot and will swing willy-nilly, C) I don't know, a fastball down the chute and crossed fingers?
No, instead what we get is perhaps the most under-appreciated part of Felix's game: The King has been racking up strikeouts for longer than we've been watching him, and in recent years has taken a liking to sticking a runner on so as to generate GIDPs like green mushrooms in Mario 3. But the reality as a hitter is that when you face Felix, he owns the bottom of the zone, and then some--so much so that you have no fucking idea how to handle it when he throws either a 93 mph fastball or a 90mph change in the same spot, or an 81 mph curve or an 85 mph slider in the same zip code. Your'e never going to try and rise your swing to catch up to his heat--your peripheral vision is going to watch Mike Zunino grab a dribbler with his right hand as you swing like a fool where you expect any one of his five pitches to end up. This is just one at bat, sure. But what you saw tonight was vintage Felix doing his thing. I hope you enjoyed the shit out of it.
The obnoxious thing is that the Mariners were no-hit into the fifth inning, when Mark Trumbo whacked a dribbler right up to Brandon Crawford, who bobbled it with a faulty read. The Giants escaped the inning, and Mad Bum's perfecto was only breached by what very well could have been ruled an error until Mike Zunino, of all people, knocked in a single into shallow left for the first legitimate single of the game in the sixth inning. And then, seconds later, this:
WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT shit no, I was wrong. It was this:
Yes, what you are looking at is an Austin Jackson triple off the left hand of Madison Bumgarner, which resulted in a single run scored by Mike Zunino, avoiding the tag by like fucking two or one feet or whatever. Then Cano RBI'd in another run a second later, and this is
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SEATTLE MARINERS TONIGHT
Not that Cano would be thrown out a second later dawdling on the base paths. Not that Rodney is still a few days out, and that Furbush and Smith are currently the two closers for the team. Not that the 'Pen has raised their beer prices to six dollars recently and what the hell, man.
Regardless, the Mariners are now six games under .500, and while things could be a whole shit of a lot better, they could be a lot worse. They have treaded water over the past couple of weeks, and now with a weekend series against the Astros (and yes, one more game against the Giants), they look to actually gain some ground in this whole thing for once. I couldn't tell you a single thing that's going to happen in the meantime, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let it get any worse than this.
And until then,
I don't know. But it can't get much worse than it has been, right?