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Mariners lose to Astros, ambulance driving postseason hopes stops for coffee

Mariners violate Littlewood’s Law, perform according to expectations

Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros
/Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye” playing/
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Littlewood’s Law, or the law of truly large numbers, suggests that because people experience such a great number of events over their waking lives, both remarkable and unremarkable, by the law of truly large numbers, they should expect to have an event with a one-in-a-million chance occur in their lives at about the rate of one per month. If you watch enough baseball, you’ll see several of these moments stacked up over the month. Kiermaier’s amazing catch, Cleveland coming back in the bottom of the ninth to keep the winning streak alive, Rhys Hoskins belting dinger after dinger; all of these things exist beyond the curtain of the probable, the quotidian, our dull waking lives.

Today Mariners nation pulled their sleepy heads out of bed to watch the Mariners decline to capture their own little part of Littlewood’s Law, instead losing to the Astros in unsurprising fashion. Miracle jar: empty.

The game began about as you’d expect a game pitched by Dallas Keuchel facing Erasmo Ramirez to go. Keuchel was perfect until the third inning, when Carlos Ruiz blooped a single into shallow left field. But then, nothing happened.

Meanwhile, Erasmo got beaten up pretty badly in the second inning, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks. Frustratingly, the Astros did all their scoring there on two outs; the rally started when Ramirez tried to sneak a 91 mph fastball past rookie Derek Fisher at the bottom of the zone, and the very strong and fast Fisher looped it into left field for an RBI double.

A 4-0 lead is usually all Keuchel needs to cruise, but his command wobbled some in the fifth. After Kyle Seager flew out, Danny Valencia worked a walk and then [checks notes incredulously] Guillermo Heredia hit a line drive into right field. Carlos Ruiz then followed with an Extremely Professional At-Bat to work a six-pitch walk. The bases loaded with just one out! Who do you want coming up in this situation?

Seattle Mariners v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


But hey, Keuchel was sweating, I mean like visibly sweating. All he’d really need to do is get into one deep enough to score the runner from third, turn the lineup over and let Segura have at it. And who knows, it’s baseball, Littlewood’s Law is in play. It’s been ages since we had a good Motter Pop. Maybe, maybe, maybe...

maybe not

The Astros would go on to add two more in the next inning off Ramirez. Shae Simmons came in to clean up and got Bregman to GIDP (it did score a run, but that was charged to Ramirez) and then a quick flyout to stop the bleeding. At this point in the season, we need to be looking for bright spots for next year, and Simmons is definitely one: his fastball hit 97, he showed great command of the zone, he threw all three of his pitches for strikes, and the two Astros hitters he faced looked befuddled.

The Mariners finally got on the board when Jean Segura finished surveying Minute Maid Park and decided the Crawford Boxes were a good place to try to hit home runs. Mitch Haniger then followed up with a single, because he is a joy, but then Canó, Cruz, and Seager all struck out. In succession. Guys. Don’t do that, guys.

Houston would add another run off Nick Vincent to make it 7-1, and things felt bleak bleak bleak headed into the 8th. Frances Martes, the firethrower with command issues who was the Astros’ top pitching prospect and is now working out of the bullpen snerk snerk, came on, and pinch-hitter Jacob Hahnemann greeted him with his first-ever MLB hit, an infield single. Hahnemann is a cool story: a BYU grad, he took two years out of his baseball career to do his mission, so he’s a little older than your typical rookie. He’s the second BYU grad I know of in the organization, with the other one being Double-A Arkansas’ Adam Law, who also took time off from baseball to serve a mission in Zimbabwe. Perhaps this is a new market efficiency Dipoto is attempting to cull from. Anyway, Segura followed that up with a single of his own, and then Mitch Haniger, who is perfect, worked a walk. Canó and Cruz then hit back-to-back singles to bring the Mariners within three, and then Seager made it clear Tony Sipp is not your ideal LOOGY with a single to bring the Mariners within two. That’s as close as the Mariners would get, unfortunately, as Joe Musgrove—who the Mariners lit up not that long ago—came in and shut things down.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Astros got another run off Ryan Garton to make it 8-5, making the task a little harder for the top of the order in the ninth. Hahnemann grounded out, Segura popped out, and with just one out left for a miracle, Mitch Haniger again came through:

One out. Two runs. Canó due up, and Cruz and Seager after. Maybe? Miracles happen, they happen every day. Maybe today? Canó jumped out to a 3-1 count. Maybe?


Tomorrow Andrew Moore takes the mound against Verlander as the Mariners try to avoid a sweep. The odds for that one don’t look good either, but who knows. Maybe Littlewood’s Law will be on our side for that one.