when u do the runs and some hits: Danny Espinosa (.097 WPA)
airplane on the brain: Erasmo Ramirez (-.275 WPA)
In the morning the bats were making contact and the gloves were not. Some of the balls dribbled up the middle. Others went extremely far. The Mariners very quickly had 7 runs and the Royals had none, but then they had a few and the Mariners had to get one more in order to walk away from the event unscathed. It was their 57th win of the season, and it took 183 minutes to complete.
The last time the Mariners played a doubleheader—three years ago— I oddly enough wrote the recap and Erasmo pitched and they also split the series and man: that season fuckin’ ruled. But between then and now some other things have gone down. Nelson Cruz, for one, wears the color blue sometimes. Also, the farm system is literally a farm in Nebraska, the Dodgers discovered the universe is a simulation and are using cheat codes, and the Cubs have torn a hole smack dab in the middle of the entire global post-war order set up by the Paris Peace Accords and now everything is miserable in exchange for one single kick-ass baseball game. Of course some other things haven’t changed. Safeco is still the best park in baseball. The Mariners are ontologically conditioned to chase the second wild card spot, and little more. Sometimes, it’s the familiar things which help us keep on keepin’ on.
So yes, once again the Mariners cancelled out a day’s worth of baseball. In 2014 the M’s were one single loss away from the playoffs, and although you can split hairs to decide precisely *which* loss it was that did it, it would fit with the theme of what I’m doing here to say it was THAT LOSS that did it. Well today they had a chance to snag WC2 against the team directly above them in the standings and they did not do that. I’m not saying this will be the one single loss that keeps them out of the playoffs again for the three-hundredth year in a row, but I’m also not not saying that.
Which is really something. Today game one took three hours, and the second roughly the same. That’s a whole lot of baseball to be played in one sitting, and you can’t quite blame everyone involved for being like dude fuck it at the end. Which is, I think, kind of exactly what happened in this game. The zone expanded. Bats seemed to move more. They probably kept serving beer all afternoon, but the players didn’t get any and I bet at least one couldn’t wait to have one and did something about it.
So in a way, you could kind of freak out about Erasmo’s meh outing. He was tagged with five runs and gave up eight hits, and like he used to do in his previous time as a Mariner, threw a lot of strikes. Too many strikes, actually, which has long been Erasmo’s whole thing (I can’t find it, but I recall a tweet from ST in 2014 describing a scene where LLoyd made this exact critique—did I make this up or can anyone help me out here?). That will lead to some swings and also some hits, but on the other hand, when you combine all those things with an hour over the number 5, well, heck to it.
Inning one looked good. There were two absolutely incredible defensive plays from Segura and Guillermo to keep the Royals off the bags, but look, there’s a reason we have FIP. The Mariners actually got out ahead early when Danny Espinosa (!) rocketed a double up the middle to score Leonys, but by the third, Erasmo was starting to struggle. After two quick outs there were suddenly two homers and a few singles, and it was 4-1 Royals. But it was also, eh, whatever. Look: here’s how Erasmo gave up a dinger to Melky Cabrera:
Not a great pitch. But it’s not a horrific pitch by any means—he clearly missed and didn’t miss horribly. It also missed nowhere near a zone Melky is killer in, either:
So you throw that many strikes and stuff like this will just happen. It’s 100% recency bias but I would have felt a whole hell of a lot worse about this had it not been game two of the doubleheader. The M’s did too, I think, because they left Erasmo in for #bullpen reasons, and everyone just kind of seemed to want the whole thing to be over. The Royals added a few more off Cody Martin and soon it was 9-1 and god, I sure hope this doesn’t come to bite us in the ass in a few weeks.
But on the other hand, had this not been a doubleheader, we’d be saying thank god they split the series at best and at least they weren’t swept at worst. This could have been a quick ticket out of the WC race, but they in fact remain only 1.5 back and have two upcoming series against two of the teams directly above them in the running. None of these things are great but they also aren’t disastrous. Which, come to think of it, welcome to the Seattle Mariners, ladies and gentlemen.
Mariners lose 9-1 in a clunker. They fall to 57-56. At some point, they need to get more than two games above .500 if they expect to contend— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 7, 2017