Many recappers begin writing in the sixth inning or so, once it becomes apparent whether the game will be a treasured memory or a nightmarish cut-rate version of a beloved childhood symbol.
I am not generally this kind of writer. Even in the worst games I have recapped—this one certainly stands out, although I admit to writing part of it in the rain delay; this one still stands as my personal low—I hang in there until the end, and only start typing once Angie and Brad and crew pop up on the screen. I also eat the whole cookie before I read the fortune, never skip ahead to see how a book ends, and make myself get all the way through a box of cereal before getting a new one. I’m not sure why—it’s probably superstitious, borne from too many readings of Macbeth: I’m afraid to mess around with the natural order of things. Time is a thing that must be respected.
But today I started wanting to type this recap in inning number six, and am actually starting here, in inning number seven, after the Mariners again stranded the few baserunners they’ve been able to get on base today. This game felt a little like a punt from the get-go, with Yovani Gallardo going up against Sonny Gray, a tired bullpen, no Canó and no Zunino.
“Excuse me.” - Carlos Ruiz.
*This is where an image of Carlos Ruiz hitting a HR would be, if I had an image of that thing. So instead, here is another picture of an older person enjoying some success:
Chooch would have the only two hits off Sonny Gray today well actually Kate Taylor Mott-I SAID WHAT I SAID. Let Chooch have this. You go sit in the corner, “La Pesadilla” (no one calls you that.)
So the game was tied, for a while. Other than Chooch, though, the Mariners just couldn’t solve Sonny Gray today. He went seven innings and struck out 9. NINE! That is so many batters! I don’t think the Mariners starting pitchers strike out nine batters an entire time through the rotation. Gray’s only wobble came when he hit Cruz and Seager, back-to-back, and the Mariners still couldn’t do anything with it.
Meanwhile, Yovani Gallardo was...not bad. Which is a shame, to have him put up a not-terrible outing and have the Mariners not be able to help him out. He did walk five batters while striking out just four, which is, uh, not ideal. But the zone was pretty small at the top, where Gallardo likes to pitch. The only time he looked extremely Yovani was on this AB vs. Chase “Create-a-Player” Headley:
He got pretty squeezed on pitch two, although see earlier note about high strike. But pitches three and four just aren’t competitive enough with a runner on and two outs. The next batter was Jacoby Ellsbury and Gallardo left a changeup belt-high and inside and the short porch did the rest. That would give the Yankees a 4-1 advantage, and then Casey Lawrence gave up a two-run single over his 2.1 innings of relief, because see earlier paragraph about punting.
The Mariners would attempt to make things a little more interesting, when Chasen Shreve, who is somehow a baseball player and not a bluegrass artist appearing at a Bahama Breeze, gave up a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Danny Valencia in the eighth. Cruz then reached on a throwing error. Kyle Seager and Guillermo Heredia would add RBI singles to put the Mariners within three. Pinch-hitter Robinson Canó then stepped to the plate with one on and two outs and...grounded out weakly. So I guess we’ve found the one thing Canó doesn’t look cool doing, and it’s pinch-hitting.
The blueprint for beating the Yankees is pretty simple: do work against their starters before you get into that scary bullpen, and keep their offensive threats neutralized. The Mariners achieved half of that today; only Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury had multiple hits off Mariners pitching. Judge, Sanchez, and Gregorious were all held hitless, and Judge had three of the Mariners’ six strikeouts. The offense, however, looked anemic for the second day in a row. The Mariners have been skating over their last few games on luck and timely hits, doing just enough to keep them in the W column. Today, they didn’t do enough early, and by the time they actually began to mount an offensive threat, much like Macbeth, they found themselves out of time.