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Mariners lose 8-4: The effort of defeat

A team with the upside of the Mariners doesn't lose easily. It takes work.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Once adulthood loses its novelty a lot of reality sets in. Life past 30 has a way of reducing and spreading out the waypoints of excitement that serve to re-fuel the soul. After life's obvious milestones: marriage, kids, buying a house, finishing a graduate degree, getting a job, etc. the world opens up for you in a way that can make you want to run away and hide from it.

There's a loss of romanticism that can make even the things you know you're lucky to do, and you are grateful for, seem like arduous tasks. This is how you lose an edge. It's how you get soft. It's how time starts to beat you. That's not an excuse. That's living.

Every single Mariner, just like every single major league baseball player, is living a fantasy every single day. The thing about daily fantasy living is when it's every day it's just life, not a fantasy. The Mariners are men at work. Men doing a job that at times I would imagine there are days a lot of them would rather not do. Tonight, more of them lacked their best than the Diamondbacks, a team they should be better than. It got them beat and beat well, 8-4. They deserved it, as they have so many of their losses this year.

In the top of the very 1st inning you could see that tonight was going to be a night without the A game. With 2 outs A.J. Pollock took off for 2nd. Mike Zunino got the desirable high and outside pitch and fired to Brad Miller who positioned himself well in front of the bag, received the ball too far in front of his body, and casually waived his arm at Pollock. Safe.

Brad Tag

Pollock score on David Peralta's single shortly thereafter. 1-0.

It was just the latest in a string of misplays, foibles, comical stepping on rakes and other general failures from Miller over the past weeks. While he did manage an RBI double later in the game his play is well below what he's capable of, in every way.

In the bottom of the 3rd with a chance to tie or take the lead Nelson Cruz managed to work a 3-1 count against Zachary Godley. He swung at this:

Cruz bad

and the inning was over.

In the top of the 5th it was Hisashi Iwakuma, who has struggled with home runs all year, facing Ezequiel Carrera Ender Inciarte. With a 2-1 count Mike Zunino called for a fastball low and away and that is not where the ball was thrown, and although it was hit away, it was not hit low. 3-1 Arizona.

Kuma Bad

Flash forward to the 6th inning. I could screen grab more of Iwakuma missing location and allowing hit after hit after hit but instead we're gonna focus on Seth Smith, who received a single to RF by Chris Owings. With a chance to throw out a runner from trying to score from 2nd. He got in position with good technique, body moving toward home:

Smith throw 1

And then threw the ball to, well, y'know wherever, man:

Smith throw 2

Yes it took many, many players playing well below their best to lose to an okay-ish Arizona team with a not particularly impressive rookie pitcher making his second start. In the 8th the game got its signature moment from Mark Trumbo:


Look you all there are more things I could recap here and there are more words and this recap is short but it's Tuesday and frankly they don't deserve it. Not tonight. This is the kind of game that spawns Players Only Meetings (tm). This was one of the first time the Mariners have been bad AND listless. They lost 8-4 in a game where they had a more talented roster and a better starting pitcher. It wasn't random and it wasn't unjust. They played bad. I hope they feel bad.

Some very quick bulletpoints of various levels of positivity:

  • Andrew wrote today about Mike Zunino's recent hot streak and lo and behold Mike appears to be a loyal reader because on the very first pitch he saw he did a very naughty thing to a baseball.

    It was Zunino's 10th home run and the third time in as many nights that he's hit a ball hard enough to get out of the majority of major league ballparks. It would be extremely wrong to say Mike Zunino is "back", both because he's never been "there" and also because it's 30 PA we're talking about and hoooooo boy did he ever strike out like a doofus twice later in the game. But, it's something. You wanna be sad? Listen to Dashboard. That's what I'm doing. Otherwise, watch that dinger.
  • A few days ago I tweeted out the my lasting positive memory of the 2015 Seattle Mariner will be Nelson Cruz' one man quest for revenge against the baseball for the many wrongs it had done to him throughout his life. Tonight, another notch in the belt. Nelson Cruz as a Seattle Mariner was a joke meme two years before he ever wore the uniform. But no one's laughing this year. Well except me. I giggle everytime he hits a home run. Which is often. What a year for Cruz.
  • As a baseball website in the year 2015 that didn't just get its BBWAA HOF voting privileges revoked we talk a lot about pitch framing around here. This is partially because pitch framing is one of the most recent "holy shit" moments that sabermeterics has given us and also because our starting catcher is literally one of the worst players in baseball without accounting for it. 

    Tonight Diamondback catcher Oscar Hernandez gave us one of the worst frame jobs I can recall seeing. First, the relevant tweet:

    Now please enjoy this gif of baseball showing the above with people and baseballs and motion:

    Nice Frame

    The Mariners played like they didn't give a crap and they lost badly. But, for at least a moment, one of their opponents couldn't help but pick up what they were putting down. I don't know why but it makes me laugh. That's as good a place as any to leave the night. What a dumb game.