Well these dang Mariners went and won a baseball game.
Actually, no, that's not quite right. The Marineros won a baseball game, and the very sad thing is that after an incredibly disappointing 2015 season that saw a baseball team ruin a bunch of prognosticators predictions towards a freaking joke of a year, they couldn't actually just plaster another letter on their jersey to pretend that they didn't own a .483 record on their way to the playoffs. And you'd be mistaken for confusing that after watching this here highlight:
It was at once a neat thing, and then quite rapidly, just another thing that happened. That's because by the time that the Mariners defeated the Rockies with a final score of 7 to 2, four home runs were hit by Seattle players--first this Cano blast, then dingers from Jesus Montero, Franklin Gutierrez, and finally, Nelson Cruz for his career-high 41st home run of the season.
It's really the fucking worst when a year gets so bad that a four dinger night is just a drop in the bucket. I mean, don't get me wrong. It's really sweet that the Mariners won this here baseball game. Not only that, but these four dingers came from just about the best four places they possibly could have come from, if we're trying to further a narrative or produce some sort of growing momentum towards the playoffs.
The first was from the possibly aging quarter-of-a-billion-dollar free agent who overcame a medical malady to prove he's still got gas left in the tank. The next came from a child who only grew up on the most recent calendar page, spending long nights in alcohol rehab while quickly learning why he was so foolish to give it all up to laziness. Then the guy who can't even walk. And Ted Williams.
It's really rich, too, considering that it would have been a hell of a night in May but it's September and it doesn't really matter, except it does, in the end. And still, you've got to feel good about the fact that the Mariners will be building from this foundation next year. I've typed that sentence hundreds of times on this website and here we are again.
The best news? Elias was great, continuing his rejuvenation after a bizarre trip down in Tacoma that saw him lasting only an inning after throwing a hissy fit, apparently, I wasn't there. Tonight it was five innings and some change, with only a single damned hit given up. He struck out eight in such time, which is kind of nuts considering he only faced 20 batters all night. He collapsed pretty quickly in the sixth after running into trouble, losing command and walking back-to-back batters, but he also struck out the side in the third inning, which included this here...uh...I don't know what to call it so let's just look at it.
So yeah, this is a strikeout to one Brandon Barnes, owner of a dismal 69 wRC+ (nice) but a respectable .260 average, looking at four offspeed pitches from a southpaw hurler in only the third inning. That's right, Elias was already throwing junk only forty minutes into the game, not even touching ninety or even the strike zone, and it worked, it worked damned well. This is kind of the thing that Elias proved he was great at during his unexpected rise last season, and you have to wonder what he felt like opening the year in Tacoma while J.A. Happ and whatshisface shat the bed to send the M's season into mediocrity last May. Maybe he'd say an I Told You So, but he's here now, so what are you gonna do?
Anyway, yeah, it was really a great night, and one that should remind you that while the Mariners have given us a terrible season, they really aren't in the dire straits that everyone wants to make them out to be. I mean, for crying out loud, they have good young pitching and for the first time in a decade, great bats. That it didn't work out this year is just an aberration (and also, perhaps, indicative of a leadership organization doing all the wrong things), but the fact that tonight's 7-2 victory just kind of farted itself out should make you realize things are going to be fine.
I mean, even if we take these four dingers away we have a night filled with hits, with John Hicks as the only starter not to reach base tonight (and who earned an RBI with a...you guessed it...RBI sacrifice bunt). The bullpen followed Elias up with a few great innings, and the Mariners now stand to enter Sunday on a roll for what feels like the first time in a long, long time. I don't know if that's true or not, but here we are, nonetheless.
There are going to be a lot of words about the future of this franchise this winter, and we'll probably be analyzing player B vs player A, determining who should stay and who should go. All of that needs to happen, and will. But when that's happening please don't forget that baseball is so random and confusing that you can field a garbage team that ran a man's job into the ground with a hurricane of ineptitude, and then watch as they handily win a baseball game like they are the murderer's row Yankees. This team is seriously closer than we think, and it would do us well to remember that.
More tomorrow, but you're probably not going to be watching that because of something called a "football" or so. Just remember at that point that you'll be choosing to forgo three hours of Stefen Romero on your television, and you'll never have that opportunity again. I'm not sure how you are supposed to react to that, but whatever it is you're feeling right now, just, uh, run with it, I guess.