About 72 long hours ago, the Mariners had sole possession of the second wild card spot with their ace ready to toe the rubber. It was good to be a Mariners fan.
But that’s no fun! Come on people! Theodore Roosevelt said “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.” That dude has his face carved on the side of a mountain, so you sure ought to listen to him.
Our boy Teddy has a point. You’ve got to struggle a little bit to truly enjoy success. How boring would it be to be a Dodgers fan, watching your team win over 70% of the games they play in? Yawn. Give me some diversity for crying out loud. A plus-208 run differential?
We do it right up here in Seattle, constantly yo-yoing between hot and cold streaks, but always within arms distance of .500. Cold streaks are answered by hot streaks, then momentum is thwarted by a brick wall. Mr. Roosevelt says you need to experience pain and suffering to enjoy victory? Mariners fans know that like that back of their hands.
So, the Mariners did a Mariners thing and welcomed some adversity by switching spots in this wild card race with the Angels. This was most clearly a conscious decision by the team, so that the rest of their season can be a testament to their grit.
The Mariners actually struck first on a Nelson Cruz sacrifice fly that plated Yonder Alonso in the first inning. The Mariners could have had more that inning, but Andrelton Simmons used some Eagle Powers to rob Jean Segura of a lead-off single.
Meanwhile, Ariel Miranda was struggling a bit with his command, walking six batters in four and two-thirds innings of work.
The Angel’s first run came on a third-inning homer from C.J. Cron, which fortunately came with the bases empty. Most of their damage, however, didn’t come until the fifth inning.
A leadoff walk followed by a single put runners on the corners with no outs for the Angels. A C.J. Cron punch out, however, tallied the first out of the frame.
Andrelton Simmons gave the Angels a lead the following plate appearance with a sacrifice fly. With two outs and a runner on first, the Mariners were nearly out of the jam with only one run allowed; however, a four pitch walk to Jefre Marte kept the Angels alive and marked the end of Miranda’s night in favor of James Pazos, who proceeded to walk the next hitter, though he didn’t miss by much on any of his pitches:
Regardless, the next at bat was a Martin Maldonado two-run single, putting the Angels on top 4-1.
The Mariners posed a threat in the ninth inning, at one point having the tying run on first with one out; however is was too little too late. A fly out and line out finalized the Angels’ four-game sweep of the Mariners.
It’s easy to ping-pong between emotional highs and lows of a baseball season, especially after a series like this one.
You may even want to clothe yourself in the frustration of this loss, but in the words Ignacio from Nacho Libre “beneath the clothes you find the man, and beneath the man you find his nucleus.” I am confident that deep within our nuclei, we believe this team can surprise us.
Four of the Mariners’ next five series are against teams they are battling with for a wild card spot. Even after dropping a game under .500, there is plenty of meaningful baseball to be played. Grab some popcorn (or in this case, some toast).
Now, all you have to do is clear these last four days from your memory. Take your mind off baseball and enjoy the rest of this Sunday.