We all endeavor to understand the world around us. I endeavor to understand why the Mariners are not a very good baseball team
a lot some of the time. After back to back shutouts against the Padres, I suppose we were due to be shut out ourselves? Because really, are there baseball teams that win three games in a row? Is that even a thing, really? (Yes) Some turn to alcohol, some to musings, some to experience. Political theorists say: Get ye all three. Let us look to greatness to understand the depth of this mediocrity.
"It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants." Blaise Pascal, Pensées
The odd thing is, Roenis Elias didn't have a terrible day. Or perhaps, the Mariners thing is, he didn't have a terrible day. Mistaking the officiating crew for that of Oakland horrors past, Roenis didn't demonstrate much command early, attempting to establish a strike zone two times the normal size early, and was rebuffed with a Ben Zobrist walk and a double from Josh Phegley that put the A's up 2-0 in the first. Roenis would rally to sit Josh Reddick, (You went, you Clay Bucholtz look alike), but the damage was mostly done. Lately, Roenis' starts have felt like a couple of very good innings punctuated by a few that undo it all and tonight was no different. Even the home run he gave up to Semien wasn't actually that bad a pitch, a 91 mph four seam fast ball, low in the zone. But... anyway. He settled down and managed to stabilize his pitch count, but to no avail. He'd end the night with six innings pitched, three hits, three runs (all earned), one walk and seven strikeouts, including this one:
Nothing about that line seemed insurmountable yesterday. Nothing about that line should be insurmountable. Tonight however...
"And which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
Sonny Gray was scratched earlier this week because of salmonella. Which leads me to ask: did the Mariners' bats also contract salmonella? Can you get salmonella all the way in San Diego from Oakland? Was it maybe sent through the mail? How does science work? Scott Kazmir was perfect through four. The Mariners' offense limply struck out and lined out and grounded out to first and second and just about everywhere the A's were, and none of the places they weren't. I swear the first four innings of this game took approximately fifteen minutes. Still down 2-0 in the fifth, Kyle Seager would elect to not take us on a night ride, or a bike ride, or a ride of any kind. And then Franklin Gutierrez stepped to the plate. Guti has had a rough go of it in limited action; his K rate hovers around 33% and his wRC+ is -14, which seems silly for a statistic that explicitly lists "plus" in its name (It might be as silly as statistically assessing someone with twelve plate appearances, but here we are.). It felt like the perfecto would continue. I wondered if I would really have to recap at all, or if a series of progressively sadder emojis would suffice. And then Guti, on a 1-2 count, ripped a double down the line to Josh Reddick. Fellow Lookout Landinger Matt Ellis would calmly comment, "GUUUUUTTTTIIIIIIIIIII, LIFE TO FLYING THINGS."
For a moment, it seemed possible. And then Mark Trumbo came up to the plate and promptly struck out swinging. I would yell "WHAT ARE YOU SWINGING AT TRUMBUMMER?" and scare a Great Dane hanging out in the tap house where I watched the game. Can Great Danes hit a baseball at least as well as Mark Trumbo? Probably. Oh Mark, the raven tells you that winter (and strike outs) is coming.
Before the night was done, Guti would account for both of the Mariners hits. Both. Two. The 2015 Mariners offense: nasty, brutish, and short, indeed.
"Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings — always darker, emptier, simpler" Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
Tom Wilhelmsen is becoming a problem. How much of a problem?
In his last 12 appearances - counting tonight - Wilhelmsen has allowed at least a run in nine of them.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 3, 2015
This is not good. Wilhelmsen (yet again) had two outs, he (yet again) walked a batter, and then he gave up a Mark Canha triple to score Brett Lawrie, and give the A's a 4-0 lead. Biemel would pitch the ninth. The Mariners declined the necessity to send a pitcher out to the mound in the ninth. It was just simpler that way.
"That's beautiful: the hurrah game! It's our game... America's game... it has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere; it belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly as our Constitution's laws . . ." Walt Whitman
There were a few nice moments in this game. LoMo and freshly re-called Chris Taylor and Seags would have a handful of nice defensive plays.
We got to see America's past time. And this weekend, as we continue our series against the A's, Felix will take the mound on the 4th of July. Beers will be had. Meats will be grilled. And we once again will hope to get going, if only so we might keep going.