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Mariners Do Pretty Much Nothing, Achieve Fitting Result

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Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

It’s easy to fall into the trap of hyperbole when writing about baseball. There are 162 games in the season, and one game doesn’t usually mean a whole lot. Over the course of the season, as many as ten games or series are referred to as the “make or break” series or the “biggest series of the year.”

That being said, this series against the Angels was pretty much both of those things. With the Mariners slipping further and further away in the Wild Card race following a sweep at the hands of Houston, they could not afford to lose this series. To add to the significance, they were facing the Angels, a team with which they’re fighting for that last Wild Card spot.

And they did win those first two games. Satisfyingly and convincingly. But unfortunately, last night’s runs mean nothing in today’s game, so it didn’t really matter how convincing it was.

Erasmo Ramirez came out of the gates a little shaky, giving up a first inning dinger to Mike Trout, as one does. Can’t really blame him for that one. He did manage to settle down and limit the damage for the next few innings.

Unfortunately, this was one of those games where the M’s channeled their next-door neighbor Seahawks and did pretty much nothing on offense. Angels starter Parker Bridwell is, well, fine. Certainly not a guy who should be shutting down this team.

So the Mariners were gonna have to resort to some unconventional means to score any real runs. We can be done wondering how Ben Gamel got so good - it is clear that he’s been making some sacrifices all year to Ra, Egyptian god of the sun.

After weeks of sacrifices (what was he sacrificing?), Ra grew fickle. He tired of the small, I don’t know, squirrels, or whatever Ben Gamel is spry enough to catch for him. Desperate for a leg up on a roster spot next year, and for a playoff run, Ben made one last big payoff (don’t ask what) to Ra - and Ra answered, as only Ra can.

Mike Zunino followed that up with this totally legit hit.

So Erasmo had a lead that he probably deserved, but that the rest of the Mariners probably didn’t deserve at all.

A 2-1 lead was never gonna be enough, and it wasn’t. Erasmo pitched into the 7th, but a Luis Valbuena dinger chased him out of the game, because fuck us. I guess it’s a credit to the Mariners still being in the playoff hunt that I still have the emotional energy to be mad at Luis Valbuena instead of being dead and uncaring. So yeah, fuck you Luis Valbuena. The only reason I hate you is because your team sucks almost as much as ours.

There’s probably some sort of symbolism between Nick Vincent coming into the game in the eighth and totally blowing it. The one guy who has carried the bullpen on his back, the one guy who has been dependable... and he almost singlehandedly loses one of the most important games of the year. Guess that’s baseball. Single, intentional walk, double, sac fly, wild pitch, and that’s three runs. And despite a Jean Segura dinger that came later, that’s the game.

They’re still in it. Not by much. They have a brutal seven-game road trip against Texas and Houston that starts tomorrow. It’s entirely feasible that by this time next week, they’ll be all but eliminated. But they aren’t. They won the series, and are just three games out with 19 to play. Andrew Albers, Erasmo Ramirez, and Mike Leake all pitched extremely well this series. Felix and Paxton are coming back next week. So... do they suddenly have a real rotation? Will it even matter?

The tired and dreary feeling of this Sunday is a striking juxtaposition against the bright and beautiful day that contained it. Here’s hoping that something amazing happens in Arlington, and then in Houston.

For maybe one of the last times this season that it’ll mean anything: Go M’s.