I, like many of you, enjoy keeping score while watching a game. It keeps me involved and invested and gives me the feeling of participation. I like that.
Today, with the Mariners against the San Diego Padres, the literal worst team in the National League, I stopped keeping score after the fourth inning. I did not want to participate. Shut it down. Unsubscribe.
Here’s a quick look into what this game felt like:
Despite Mitch Haniger leading off the game with a five-pitch strikeout, the game still started out in promising fashion. Batting second, Jean Segura drilled a 90mph slider up the middle for his career 1,000th hit and soon after stole his 20th base of the season, putting him in scoring position for Robinson Canó. Not wanting to waste Jean’s celebratory hit, Robbie was able to smack a low curveball over into right field for an RBI single.
And the M’s offense pretty much shut down at that point. At least up until the seventh inning, there was only a smattering of hits here and there. Healy scribbled in a basehit in the first inning, Mitch redeemed his strikeout with a ground-rule double in the third and Jean followed that up with a sly little bunt single. After that, Joey Lucchesi kept the M’s offense locked down even after an unfortunate injury delay for him in the fourth.
Now listen, I enjoy myself a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel. Low scoring games with pitchers racking up innings are one of my favorite parts of this game. But this was no such game. Erasmo Ramírez’s command looked shaky from the start with many of his pitches falling outside of the zone and the Padres making contact the pitches that fell inside.
Erasmo’s half of the first inning started with a swinging bunt by Freddy Galvis wherein he beat the shift to get on base. Padres’ rookie Luis Urías then managed to give Erasmo a run for his money with an eight-pitch at bat that ended in a lineout to centerfield. After issuing an eight-pitch walk to Wil Myers, Erasmo allowed Eric Hosmer to single on a first-pitch two-seamer, a single that wound up in center field and effectively scored Galvis to tie the game. Hunter Renfroe then hit a sacrifice fly to score Myers and allow the Padres to grab onto a lead they would not let go.
That all occurred in the first inning. It only got worse from there. After a 1-2-3 shutdown of the M’s offense in the second, Padres’ centerfielder Manuel Margot decided to tack on another run to the scoreboard by launching an Erasmo curve into the stands. In the third, Luis Urías managed to lock in his first big league hit off of Erasmo and after a reasonable strikeout for Wil Myers, Erasmo just could not stop the bleeding. An Eric Hosmer double led into a three-run homerun for Hunter Renfroe and then three consecutive singles led to a sacrifice fly by starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi; the first RBI of his career gave the Padres a 7-1 lead on the M’s.
Roenis Elías came in to relieve Erasmo in the fourth and pitched the rest of the game. He honestly didn’t look half-bad in his outing and his striking out of Austin Hedges in three pitches was one of the three high points for the M’s in this game. Roenis ended up pitching five innings with three strikeouts and two walks and allowed only one earned run. He also gave us this neat little moment.
As much as this game was a bummer, we can all try to keep our hopes up, right? Elías was able to snab his first career hit! Granted, Mitch Haniger followed that with a groundout that left him and Cameron Maybin stranded on base, but still, it’s nice. With Colten Brewer pitching in the eighth and no outs, the M’s managed to get some runs on the board with a Nelson Cruz single and a Kyle Seager double, despite Ryon Healy grounding into a double play, which isn’t too bad, right? Right? Geez, optimism is hard. This game was a stinker, I’ll admit it. These types of games aren’t fun. This isn’t the type of baseball that’ll get the M’s anywhere. You can’t even use the AL team in an NL park excuse at this point because the Padres have the worst record in the National League. This was bad, the M’s lost 8-to-3 but at least it’s over. Time to readjust.
Tomorrow, Wade LeBlanc takes on Frankie Montas in Oakland. The Astros, who are now 8.0 games ahead of the M’s, (fortunately?) beat the A’s today in a much more interesting game than what we witnessed in San Diego. The A’s are now 5.5 games ahead of the M’s.
There are still 29 games left for the Mariners to play this season. I, for one, despite what l said earlier, still want to be hopeful. There’s still a chance for a postseason appearance and I’d rather enjoy each win than wallow in “I told you so’s.” Think of the 2011 Cardinals or the even the Rays of the same year; teams that were seemingly out of contention going into September. Or hey, think of that one team in 1995 that was 7.5 games behind the Angels going into September and refused to lose.
Who were they again?