Feel free to listen to the song (which I believe is part of No Man’s Sky, if you are a video game inclined individual) that began playing through my head in the 9th inning as you enjoy this brief recap.
If this game were to be divided into time enjoyed and time not enjoyed, it could be counted a great success. Ketel Marte looked like an excellent baseball player for 9 innings. Ariel Miranda went 5.2 innings and looked mostly like a reasonable back end starter. The starting outfield of Nori Aoki, Leonys Martin, and Seth Smith combined to go 6-12. Matt Garza made this face
after his bones were replaced with Yoplait for a few seconds during a professional baseball game. Many good times were had.
The good times seemed enough to alleviate the decision to use Steve Cishek for just three pitches, and producing only two baserunners in 5.1 innings against Jhan Mariñez, Carlos Torres, and Tyler Thornburg, after doing an excellent job of getting Garza out quickly. They seemed like enough when, after a season of excellence, Tom Wilhelmsen came in and immediately allowed a home run to Keon Broxton, whose wRC+ of 106 is overshadowed by his .396 BABIP. They still seemed like enough when, after recording a strike out, a hard hit fly ball by Hernan Pérez hit off the heel of the glove of a sprinting Leonys Martín and became a double.
Sitting in the upper deck of right field, it looked like Shawn O’Malley had saved our Sunday. Chris Carter had stuck his goliath arms out and redirected a Tom Wilhelmsen two-strike fastball into right-center field and O’Malley flew into the wall with all the passion of a man believing he would make the play and all the grace of a man more comfortable playing in the infield. For a moment, Carter paused, and the entire stadium paused, as O’Malley slumped to the ground, glove closed tightly, and Schrodinger’s home run ball left us all adrift.
I want to return to that moment right now, because there is still a chance this game doesn’t slip away there, as Shawn lies there with Leonys hurrying to his side uncertainly. It could all be different.
Then we return, Leonys’ hustle turns to concern, and he begins gesturing frantically to the dugout for a trainer to join him. The ball is nowhere to be seen, but the inside of Shawn’s glove is, and no white sphere of joy accompanies it. Vidal Nuño entered and was ineffective. Nori Aoki lost a ball in the clouds for about the 140th time. Chris Iannetta inconsequentially but frustratingly let Manny Piña walk back to second base while hung out to dry. The Mariners popped out three times for their three outs in the bottom of the 9th.
This is not likely to be a turning point in the Mariners season. Shawn O’Malley being unable to make an incredible play saving a home run is no more reasonable a focal point on a team than the Mariners, winners of 12 of their last 15 home games and owners of the best record in the MLB in August, being deemed failures for a loss to a bad Brewers team.
The Mariners have 39 games left, which is plenty of time for them to rise up, collapse, or be about the same. In a majority of their games they have been a solid team. In many they have not. This afternoon, they were both. Hopefully tomorrow they will have one more solid inning in them, like they have more often than not this year.