“Thank you for coming” scrolled across the perimeter of Safeco Field as fans retreated from their seats. It was early enough in the afternoon that some of the bright June day could still be salvaged, despite a grim 7-1 loss to the AL West-leading Houston Astros, which capped off a dismal sweep at home.
Dallas Keuchel controlled the zone throughout the game, going 7 1⁄3 innings and allowing 4 hits and just one earned run off an RBI double from Robinson Canó to score Jean Segura from first. Save for Robbie’s double, and singles from Leonys Martin and Mitch Haniger, the once-vaunted Mariners offense was silenced by Keuchel and the Astros’ steadfast bullpen. Meanwhile, the Houston offense chewed poor Drew Smyly up and only spit him out after he gave up five runs in as many innings. Tony Zych held them scoreless through an inning and a third, but then Scrabble came in and promptly gave up a two run blast to Josh Reddick. Evan Scribner closed it out and kept it scoreless, but all his efforts were for naught as the Mariners continued their fall, extending their losing streak to six.
This puts the Mariners at 2-8 in games against Houston this season. The two teams have nine more match-ups set for 2017 and, with the Rangers just two games back of the division, if the M’s can’t pull it together in these final series against Houston their path to the playoffs already looks nonexistent.
That’s the recap I very much do not want to write this season, but is looking ever-likely with a nearly infallible Astros lineup and a stable of pitchers who could make life difficult for opposing offenses. As with every other prediction about what could go right/wrong much of Houston’s success depends on their good players being good and also staying healthy. If they fall off like they did last year, it will likely be because their good players were bad and/or injured. Not the analysis you’re looking for? Tough cookies, this is all a crapshoot anyway. All projections and predictions are infinitely flawed and we are naught but dust mites scattered along the edge of the eternal bookcase of life.
The real question now is just how many times the Mariners will fall victim to a game like this; if everything goes right for the Astros they’ll haunt the M’s throughout the season and likely play spoiler to another year of dashed postseason hopes. If everything goes wrong? Say it with me now: LAAAASTROS