For the last several innings of this game, I was gearing up to write a monologue about hope. I was going to reference the usual suspects—Alexander Pope, Emily Dickinson, the Lord of the Rings. I was about to purchase my one-way ticket to metaphor-land and wax poetic about the Mariners clinging by a fingernail to a playoff spot against all odds, about refusing to say die, about embracing the power of belief even when things are darkest.
Then I remembered that success in this sport is almost cruelly ephemeral. Cleveland has won 17 straight. The Dodgers have now lost 9. The apocalypse could happen tomorrow, and Safeco Field could simply collapse in a cloud of snowflake-sized ash. (In fact, if the Mariners winning an important game against a rival this emphatically isn’t an indication that the apocalypse is imminent, I don’t know what is).
Then I remembered that it’s freaking Saturday.
Life is short. It’s important just to have fun. Because from béisbol to bobbleheads, tonight was an absolute blast.
It all began with the Pride of Saskatchewan, Andrew Albers. The M’s newfound eh-ce (yeah, I know, but it’s the best I got) was exceptional this evening, requiring exactly 100 pitches to make it 6 scoreless innings, allowing only 4 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4. He used Rich Hill-esque junk to work hitters low and away while finding success elevating his surprisingly deceptive (albeit 88 mph-ish) fastball:
Here’s one more, his final pitch of the game:
Dan Altavilla and Shae Simmons were by no means perfect in relief, but buckled down when it mattered, keeping the Angels off the board in the 7th and 8th. Casey Lawrence surrendered a garbage time run in the 9th (with such luminaries as Gordon Beckham, Mike Marjama, and Jacob Hannemann in the field) but seemingly for the first time all season, it couldn’t have mattered less.
First off, there was the man of the hour, Robinson Canó. With 40,000 of his bobbleheaded likenesses nodding along in approval from every corner of the stadium, Canó proceeded to tally a pair of RBIs on three hits—including his 30th and 31st doubles of the year, marking his 13th consecutive season with at least 30 doubles.
Stan Musial is the only other player in MLB history to have achieved this feat.
There was Mitch Haniger, (Mike Harbinger? Mack Hungderbler?), who’s finally starting to look like the bona fide Rookie of the Year candidate we saw in April. Entering the game 15 of his last 33, good for a wRC+ of 222, Haniger tacked on another three hits of his own and finished the game just a double shy of the cycle.
Saturday night—just perfect for Mitch-A-Palooza.#GoMariners pic.twitter.com/7aS6d5r8KA— Mariners (@Mariners) September 10, 2017
And then there was Boomstick, who, well, yeah:
Heads up! @ncboomstick23's 114.1 mph, 15-degree laser ties the lowest HR by launch angle in 2017. pic.twitter.com/MjM88EPQ8l— #Statcast (@statcast) September 10, 2017
Cruz’s laser put the finishing touches on a 6-run 4th inning, extending the M’s lead to 8-0. That was all the Mariners would need.
Maybe it was something about those sleek “Marineros” jerseys they wore to celebrate Latin American Béisbol Day. Maybe there was something in those bobbleheads. Maybe there’s something a little more magical in the air.
All I know is that this game was a treat worth celebrating.
After all, it’s Saturday night.
There's your ballgame! Hitting, pitching, defense—Mariners roll to a series win. FINAL: 8-1. Erasmo on the mound going for a sweep tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/Ngx4tr7gpC— Mariners (@Mariners) September 10, 2017