Well the Mariners, did not, in fact, lose today's baseball game.
Now, I know, the Bartolo dinger has you questioning which reality you currently inhabit. And it sure doesn't help that the Mariners are currently in first place in the AL West on a date which does not double as the first game of the season. But it's true you guys, it's true! The Mariners did not lose a baseball game in which they faced off against the reigning AL Cy Young award winner who earned 13 strikeouts in an octagonal strikezone before having their closer who throws 90 blow a save in the ninth on the road. No. They are taking this multiverse shit and running with it. Wearing it. Waving that flag of contradictions as if it signified a future state their fight meant to constitute: the state of Seattle Mariners, Not Bad. I just typed that sentence in a single go and now, at this very moment, I think I finally understand just how Schröedinger's Cat works.
In order for this to happen, Nathan Karns had to pitch pretty well™ in order to keep hopes alive through nine. Today Karns lasted six innings and some change, and he only gave up a single run while striking out nine in the process. He did this by hitting 97 with his fastball, and then having his violent curve drop all the way down to 80. That he was able to do that in a lefty zone that looked like this
is also telling you something.
That's how I'm choosing to feel about this strike zone. Now sure, it was no Sean Barber game. Even with a few shenanigans, you've got to at least feel a sense of relief after wins like these rather than seething anger (Besides, it wasn't one of our former 7-win players who got so pissed off at a terrible umpiring crew which included a minor-league callup that he got thrown out only minutes after his team tied the game in the bottom of the ninth). No, it's because getting worked up over bad strike zones is such a tremendous waste of time an energy that I have to beg you, beg you to please think about both your blood pressure and the grand scheme of the cosmos when choosing what to be mad about.
I get it. One blown call can be the difference between a bases-clearing double and an inning-ending strikeout. It's frustrating, it seems entirely preventable, and it makes no sense why we still have to watch C.B. Bucknor just paint a Mona Lisa of ineptitude every other Sunday. But here's the thing: there are always going to be bad umpires and shitty strike zones. Always. You know as well as I do that robot umps arriving to save the day is just as likely as Disney deciding to produce remakes of the Star Wars prequels in the next twenty years. Do you know why? Because things like this get people to talk about baseball. That Carlos Gomez video went up online minutes after it happened, and the MLB is salivating--digital marketing strategies aside--just salivating over the thought of Astros fans getting worked up, talking about it on social media, and then rallying behind their team to watch what Gomez does in tomorrow afternoon's game. It's never going to change. You're still going to get rained on walking from your car to the office, freezer pizza is going to burn the roof of your mouth every once in a while, and someday all your biological functions will gradually deteriorate and break apart and then you'll turn into a mote of dust as the millennia pass on without you. Between now and then you're going to be dissapointed by Laz Diaz at least three more times. So don't get too worked up about it.
Holy shit, okay, whew, back to the Mariners. So uh, how about this?
Seager roped this to open up scoring in the second, and then Cano followed him with a blast of his own in the third. Meanwhile, Karns was navigating a mutating strikezone to keep the Astros off the board when suddenly there were runners on first and third with only a single out in the sixth. Kyle Mooney character Colby Rasmus plopped a double into right to score one, and suddenly the Astros were threatening with only a single out. But Servais decided to leave Karns in here, and he escaped the jam with a set of timely strikeouts to Preston Tucker and the aforementioned Carlos Gomez (they were all legit, this time). It would be the only Astros run until the ninth.
Meanwhile, the Mariners were doing everything they could to try and snag another run for insurance. Kyle hit a triple which missed George Springer's glove by about 1/10th of a centimeter, and then he stood on third as the Mariners left him stranded ninety feet away from 3. So by the time Steve Cishek was hanging a sinker over the plate to give the Astros 2, then...well...3 was such a lovely dream, wasn't it?
Cishek was able to escape the inning without further damage, and while the universe we are used to inhabiting would tell us to shut off the TV and submerge our heads in our toilet bowls, you have to remember that we have slid into an alternate universe filled with magical happenings that evade all the known structures of metaphysics previously available to our particular discursive mechanisms. See, it turns out that in this new universe, the Mariners currently employ the league leader in homers and RBIs, and also, nobody wears sleeveless uniforms and the year starts with a "20!"
This put the M's up a run, and Cishek continued to do his thing to guarantee at least a series split against the club which currently sits at the bottom of the AL West. Speaking of alternate universes...
no wait, no yeah, that one sounds about right across the board.