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This dumb team

My begrudging, joyful refrain after every win

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This was going to be the title, whether they won or not, but I’ll be honest and bare some uncharacteristic hubris: I wasn’t worried when Wade LeBlanc gave up two solo shots to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. When Jean Segura singled in the bottom of the first, it wasn’t a question of if the Mariners would tie it up quickly, it was simply a matter of who would be the one to tie it. Nelson Cruz, as he has done so many times in these last two and a half years, decided he would be the one to even the scales and walloped his 14th home run of the season into the garden in center field.

And once this team was back on equal footing with the Angels it was hard to believe they wouldn’t come up with a way to pull this off. The fourth inning was The Chosen One, as Cruz led the inning off with his 15th home run of 2018. Not wanting to be left out of the prove-the-haters-wrong fun, human burner account Ryon Healy sent a line drive over the wall in left center field, bringing in Kyle Seager, who had singled previously. Andrew Heaney entered the game having given up just four home runs in 60 innings pitched, but when you face one of the three teams in baseball that has at least five players with at least 10 home runs things are bound to happen.

Wade LeBlanc, the face of improbability himself, powered through five innings, giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits and striking out 5, including a bases loaded swinging K of Justin Upton that fired up our mild-mannered miracle man.

The bullpen carried on their March of Competence, collectively allowing only one run in four innings of work - a Mike Trout solo shot for his ahahahahahahaha 21st of the year. Chasen Bradford extended his scoreless innings streak to 9.2, James Pazos caused Steinbrenner’s heart to flutter, and Edwin Díaz continued to rain (much more controlled) fire upon all who face him.

I’m not a generally confident person. Pair that with an overwhelming unluckiness that is the stuff of family lore, and you’ve got a baseball fan who won’t truly relax until the team is lined up for high fives. But the confidence of this team appears to have spread and infiltrated even my reluctant mind. It’s an odd thing, to feel confident in your favorite baseball team. Perhaps that’s what winning more games than any other MLB team, save the Boston Red Sox, will do to you?