For the third time in three days, the Mariners played a team much better than themselves. For the third time in three days, the Mariners lost convincingly to a team much better than themselves.
Just a few years ago, the Astros were deeper in the dumpster than the Mariners, farm systems notwithstanding. Today, September 17, 2017, the Astros clinched the American League West title against the Mariners.
This game, more than the last two, was always going to be hard for the Mariners to pull out. Andrew Moore, on his best day, is fine. Justin Verlander, on his best day, throws a no-hitter and threatens a perfect game. It was always going to take a healthy dose of luck.
Andrew Moore looked like he might having that best day, starting out the game with four scoreless innings. It was, unfortunately, a bit hollow. The Astros were getting hits off of Moore and making consistently hard contact. Still, that healthy dose of luck was coming through, and paired with this Ben Gamel dinger, it looked for a moment like they might have a shot.
Watch it fly, Ben Gamel. ⚾— Mariners (@Mariners) September 17, 2017
️ | https://t.co/6YgPtDloA5 pic.twitter.com/W8Mo9pJtrt
It all came apart in the fifth inning, as it felt like it was bound to. Andrew Moore gave up a single and a dinger, then another single, and then Scott Servais brought in James Pazos just to give up a dinger of his own. 4-1. Verlander dealing. Felt like game over.
And it was. The remainder of the game was an exercise in seeing whether Verlander could hit double-digit strikeouts (he did), whether the Astros would play their “one free scoreless inning” card with Chris Devinski (they did), and whether there would be one more heart-wrenching moment of seeing your idols fall (there was), and which idol that would be (Nelson Cruz).
As the overcast skies that had been threatening to break for days finally cracked and rain began to fall, the Mariners’ playoff odds dipped to around 1%. The collective attention of many fans was diverted to the Seahawks or the Huskies, and those remaining try now to fight off the annual existential crisis, looking for positives.
Rain always feels to me like it ought to be cleansing, like it should wash away all that ails you. All this rain has been doing for me is getting me wet. Feels symbolic, but this team has left me without the emotional energy to find the symbolism.