Ah yes. What a troll job, that game. Of all the low points I’ve had with this team this season, that might have been the lowest. Watching that game, it felt like an elephant was standing on my heart. (The elephant was also made of, and expelling, poo.)
Tonight the Mariners made up for that game with a troll job of their own as they demolished the Troutless Angels, 10-0. But, as the helpful graphic ROOT put up before the game informed us, the Los Angeles Angels of Southern California my god why do they have the stupidest name, have actually been playing better while their hassock-necked superstar has been sidelined. NOT THAT YOU WOULD KNOW IT FROM TONIGHT.
The Angels started Parker Bridwell, whose name I just forgot and typed as “Cameron Bridwell,” and I feel like I should still get credit for a correct answer there. Anyway, Parker Bro hadn’t lost a game yet, and has stuff that can zip up into the mid-90s, and the website that is numbers that sound like jeans gave the Angels a slight edge for this game. Do you read the series previews? I hope so, because they are a good way to sound smart with your friends. If you did, you would have seen that Jake and Luke wrote this about our friend PB:
He’s somehow managed to post an ERA more than three runs lower than his FIP in his three starts this year. Of course, that won’t last as he isn’t striking very many out and his home run rate is extremely high.
Well will you look at Kreskin and son over here. Tonight the Mariners did what they could to establish order in Bridwell’s pitching numbers, pounding 11 hits off him for five runs, including two home runs, while striking out just twice over six innings. They didn’t let up on his replacement, Yusmeiro Petit, either, scoring two more runs off him; nor his replacement, Brooks Pounders, getting to him for another three hits and three runs over his 2.1 innings of work.
To be honest, for a while it looked like we were in for another night of our favorite team trolling our hopes and dreams. After Cruz popped out in foul territory in the first to kill a little mini-two-out-rally started by a sharp single off the bat of Robinson Cano, in the second Seager had reached on a solid base hit when Haniger smoked a ball down the third base line at 111 mph only to have it snared with a leaping grab by one of my least favorite players, Yunel Escobar, who then doubled Seager off first. The third inning offered a brief moment of hope when Mike “it’s still June” Zunino reached down and golfed an 80 mph breaking ball into space, followed by Ben Gamel’s second hit of the day, but then Canó was robbed of a surefire double (and probably an RBI) by a leaping Eric Young Jr. Things got worse in the fourth when Mitch Haniger again hit a ball about as hard as a human can, and it again found a glove, and it was again an inning-ending double play squashing any hope of big inning. Memories of the last game played in Angel Stadium of the Los Angeles Angels of Los Angeles were still fresh with some of us. Fresh like a freshly opened bag of old garbage, is what I mean there. Just to clarify.
But here’s where we come to the real story of the night, which was Ariel Freaking Miranda. Despite not having a great feel for his splitter tonight, Miranda’s fastball was excellent, and he was able to command it to every edge of the plate. He had his slider working for him as well and that was all he needed to get through the first inning, throwing a very tidy 13 pitches, 9 for strikes. Miranda was 4-0 coming into tonight against the Angels and he pitched like a man who knows he owns this team. He did need 18 pitches to get through the second after issuing a leadoff walk to Yunel Escobar, who is 5/11 off Miranda, but buckled down after that to get two strikeouts in a row and a harmless flyout to end the inning.
Miranda was even better in the third, needing just ten pitches to retire the bottom of the order and Cameron Maybin, who looked lost against Miranda’s slider all night, getting called out on strikes twice for check swings. In the fourth he gave up a broken bat blooper to the collection of performance tights and sentient phiten necklaces that is Ckole Kckalhoun, but got Albert Pujols to GIDP and a harmless flyout from Escobar for a seven-pitch, six-strike inning that would make even Andrew Moore jealous. From there, he cruised through seven innings, giving up just two hits, two walks, no runs, and striking out four. Miranda didn’t just hold down the fort as the offense slowly sputtered to life; he was dominant, changing speeds, changing hitters’ eye levels, and sequencing his pitches to keep hitters off-balance.
Once the offense started up, though, the game quickly turned into a satisfying troll job with the Mariners the victors this time. The Mariners hung a crooked number on the scoreboard in the fifth after a pair of doubles from Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura, and then a three-run home run from Robinson Cano. It would be Canó again in the seventh, with a two-run shot scoring Ben Gamel, who was literally never not on base in this game. Big Game Gamel would come back in the eighth with a two-run RBI single. Then, just for funsies, Kyle Seager, who was also always on base in this game unless he was being doubled off by bad BABIP luck, decided to add a little parting shot of his own to make it 10-0 Mariners.
But by far and away, the best part of this game was the absolute troll job it was on the Angels, as personified in this Mariners fan who caught a foul ball in the stands, getting in Kdkcdle Calkgaskd’s way, which totally TICKED him OFF, okay, that’s just like, RESPECT THE GAME, you know, and he had some things to say about that, and it was delightful, and then someone on Twitter sent me this screengrab, bless your heart.
He's showing the ball to Calhoun. Savage. pic.twitter.com/dnMz6Pv4Kp— Tyler Welch (@ty_welch) July 1, 2017
I will update this with a gif whenever MLB.tv decides that I’m out of the blackout area, or someone else decides it’s worth showing, but if you missed it, just know that it was wonderful. But the Mariners weren’t done trolling yet. At the very end of the game, Max Povse was working on bringing things home and preserving the shutout, and you know, bless his heart, he was better. I still think he belongs in AAA working out some mechanical things, but you know, he was better. Anyway, this game wound up ending in a way eerily similar to Diaz’s jam from last year when Kyle Seager bailed him out with that amazing snare. No disrespect to Kyle, but Taylor Motter’s play here to preserve the shutout might have been even more impressive:
Tomorrow will probably be a karmic kick in the gut but oh for tonight, for tonight it was wonderful. Catch you all next time.