Welp, they did it. The Mariners finally figured out how to beat the Astros. Whether from the satanic death cult ritual that saw them bathing in goat blood before the game, or the fact that they collectively realized that they are, in fact, millionaire baseball players trained to hit offspeed pitches--however it happened, here they are, two games out from the Wild Card with three on the way against one of the teams currently holding it.
In February, nobody would have guessed that a three-game series against the Blue Jays in September would be the franchise's biggest series in the past fifteen years. Then again, in a strange sort of way, the most believable thing you could tell a Mariners fan is that "in September the Mariners will maybe surprise some people and then drop two pathetic games to the Astros, only to be saved by some rookie they picked up after trading a seemingly competent Wade Miley" I honestly, dead-to-rights, think you'd buy it.
I don't know what it is about the Astros. I remember driving up to Seattle for the home opener in 2013, where the Mariners managed to beat the cellar-dwelling, new-look Astros who basically wore ambivalence like a crown. I was so excited that I decided to skip school and work on Thursday and drive up again so I could see Felix so we bought tickets on our phones while sitting in the stands. Then the next day the Astros beat the M's by like 16-whatever and by god, I knew, I just knew what it meant. And here we are.
But alas, today the story was different. It all got started in the second inning with a two-run double off the bat of Kyle Seager, scoring Seth Smith (who had drawn a walk) and Nelson Cruz. Smith really had himself a day, going 2-4 with two home runs, four runs batted in, and the aforementioned walk. Joining him in the Pile of Competency was the M's newly-minted 2017 leadoff-man, Nori Aoki. Aoki, by the way, has a 153 wRC+ since August 1st, which isn't even probably the best time to start counting but what are you gonna do. Playoffs, folks. One day or another.
Most of the damage against former Mariner Doug Fister came in the fourth inning, in which Seth Smith hit his second dinger, scoring Aoki and Martin in the process. I was debating on what to do next, such as finding a pictorial representation of said dinger, maybe some statcast data, I don't know....something of the like. Instead I would like to draw your attention to the greatest tweet I have seen since the candles one. You know which one I'm talking about. No instead, a miracle:
I don't even have anything particularly witty to say about this. You shouldn't. They say that when you go into the Rothko Chapel you cry, inexplicably, just overwhelmed by the enormity of feeling, the oceanic effect. Writing about it can only be an echo of an echo. So instead, just look at that photo again. Print it out, tape it to your cubicle, make it your iPhone background. We're on the cusp of something really wonderful here, and Seth Smith is going to make sure you know it.
Lost in all this was that Ariel Miranda had himself quite the day. Eight strikeouts, two hits. Felix is kind of scary right now, and Taijuan may or may not be a thing, but if you need anything for this upcoming playoff push, its a guy like Miranda putting something together at just the right time. Or you know, they could all fall apart at the Rogers Centre like two years ago, and we can day drink and commiserate about the sports men--them the Seahawks, the rest of us the Mariners, talking past one another as if the booze and despair are the ones truly face to face. Or, something new will happen for once. I'll take the something new. But it's not up to me now, is it?