Every major American sport’s preseason sucks. At best, the actual players play for maybe half of the game. At worst, the on-field product vaguely resembles what eighteen adults think the sport is supposed to look like.
At first, it’s okay, because it’s novel. Yay, baseball is back! Wow, Kyle is so skinny! Wilickers, Julio Rodriguez is getting hits off of Major League pitching!
It doesn’t last long. After a couple of weeks, even if someone doesn’t get hurt (which sometime did), this off-brand substitute for baseball stops scratching the itch. The young guys all get sent down, the veterans play even less as they get into game shape, and what’s left is a bastardized amalgamation of pasted-together Major League Baseball players, some of whom are fun, but most of whom aren’t.
Today’s game, which was already looking to be firmly in the “not-that-fun” zone, was made to be even less interesting with the pre-game announcement that Wade LeBlanc would be held out of starting due to the rain.
With rain in the forecast the Mariners have opted to start Shawn Armstrong and follow with the scheduled relievers so they can get their work. LeBlanc will most likely throw in a B or sim game tomorrow.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) March 12, 2019
Late Spring Training, and this snoozer in particular, are/were in fact approximately as unfun as going to the dentist. For that reason, here is every Mariner that started today compared to a dental care product.
Jake Fraley led off tonight and went 0-for-2. One of his outs was a two-out, bases loaded, rally killer, but to Fraley’s credit it was a fly out hit well over three hundred feet. Jake Fraley could be good in the future, but as he plays outfield, I really hope that the Mariners won’t need him. For that reason, Jake Fraley is a mouth guard. I am going to hold out hope that I won’t need one until my teeth/outfielders have ground each other into nubs.
Tim Beckham hit second, and also went 0-for-2 and got hit by a pitch. He used to be good, and I used to think Listerine Cool Mint PocketPaks were good. Unlike Listerine Cool Mint PocketPaks, Tim Beckham did not act as an excuse for hygiene during my high school dating life, but he was about as equally effective while playing shortstop for the Orioles.
Jay Bruce went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Jay Bruce is denture adhesive. I keep forgetting that he exists, and I hope for him never to be a significant part of my life, and the only people that think he’s good are old.
Ryon Healy was 1-for-3 and scored the team’s only run. I still am glad he’s on the team, even as evidence mounts that he is Not Good. As all of his remaining supporters continue to defect, I remain confident I will be among the last Ryon Healy Defenders. I will truly enjoy his presence, even for all of his flaws. Ryon Healy is the Brush Buddies Singing Toothbrush LMFAO Sexy and I Know It Plays 2 Music Songs.
Daniel Vogelbach had three plate appearances and reached base all three times. He would dramatically increase our quality of life, if only we actually used him. We know we should. It just remains to be seen if everyone else realizes it. Daniel Vogelbach is dental floss. Classic, Reach Waxed Mint Dental Floss. Nothing flashy, but it deserves an honest chance in everyone’s life.
José Lobatón started at catcher. He went 1-for-2 and drove in the only Mariner run tonight. I honestly learned today that he’s on the roster, and I don’t imagine that he’ll be on the roster for long. Another thing that I learned existed today is the gloved toothbrush. I think this is for dogs, but I’m not sure, which has nothing to do with José Lobatón, but I am equally unsure of his purpose.
Hitting seventh was Tim Lopes. Lopes went 1-for-3, and helped to kill the team’s only real offensive chance in the second inning by hitting into a double play. He is young, and probably not good, but you never know. We’re pretty sure he’s not good, but I am open to the idea of him being good. It makes sense then, that his official nickname on Fangraphs* is Tim “Activated Charcoal Tooth Whitening Powder” Lopes.
*This is not true
The wily, 45-year-old Ichiro hit eighth. He held his own at the plate, walking once and flying out once. He’ll never be what he once was, but he’s done so much for us that I’m willing to just let him keep going until he literally dies on the field, if that’s what he wants. I feel similarly about the Sonicare tooth brush I’ve had since 2013. A venerable toothbrush whose success is undeniable, but whose image would terrify you about as much as this, so I will omit it.
Rounding out the lineup was Tito Polo. Polo also managed a hit today, going 1-for-2. He is obviously braces, because though I don’t necessarily love him, I recognize that his presence is absolutely necessary for things to align in this cruel, chaotic Earth. Also, this.
I am furious none of you told me new Mariner Tito Polo changed the bands on his braces to Mariners colors, nor about how adorable he is, you have all failed me. pic.twitter.com/Ye0xgi5dIB— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) January 31, 2019
Sadly, because Wade LeBlanc was not able to pitch in the rain, Shawn Armstrong pitched. Shawn Armstrong did not pitch well. He gave up: single, single, double play, RBI double, RBI single, strikeout. He ended up giving up two runs, and it could have been worse. Despite this, he is still good. Admittedly flimsy, but good. Much like the Plackers Twin-Line Dental Flosser 75 Pack.
Following Armstrong was Cory Gearrin. Gearrin pitched a pretty good scoreless inning, allowing one hit while striking out one. He’s... fine. He will be serviceable, I’m sure. He will do his job as Middle Reliever #X just fine, which is what we need him to do. Also doing its job Just Fine is the Biodegradable Eco-Friendly Natural Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush - Pack Of 4. I’m sure Cory Gearrin’s mom thinks he is phenomenal, and I’m sure that weird hippie dude from college thinks the Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush will align your tooth chakras, or whatever. But in the end, Cory Gearrin is an average reliever, and the Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush is an average toothbrush.
Dan Altavilla was in for the third, and gave up two straight solo dingers. We are going to need Dan Altavilla to be really good if the Mariners are going to have a chance this year, but one thing that is undeniable is that the man has great teeth. How could he be anything other than Crest Whitestrips?
Brandon Brennan got to pitch two innings after Altavilla came out. He didn’t give up any runs, and balanced his two walks allowed with two strikeouts. He has been... fine, this spring. Were the Mariners looking to contend this year, I would be stressed about him having to stick on the roster all year. Since the Mariners are not contending this year, I am pretty ambivalent. I am also ambivalent about Crest Toothpaste. It is slightly above replacement level toothpaste in my book, which is about how good Brandon Brennan has looked.
Matt Walker also got to pitch an inning. Boy, there are still a lot of relievers in camp. Matt Walker pitched a “whatever” inning, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out one. He looks to be just-another-reliever, and for this reason is relegated to Colgate Toothpaste. Different than Crest, probably!
Matt Tenuta is another pitcher that pitched. He probably had the best outing of anyone, going two innings and striking out two. He is Rembrant Toothpaste, because all of the relievers are toothpaste which feels right and can you tell that I’m very quickly running out of steam?
Rounding out the pitchers was Darren McCaughan. McCaughan ranked at 35th on Lookout Landing’s prospect rankings this year. He is also a starter, and not a reliever, which means he is not toothpaste. He got kind of shelled tonight, giving up three hits and a run, but whatever. He’s 22 years old (for five more days), and is allowed to get shelled in Spring Training. Baseball America thinks he has the best command of any pitcher in the Mariners organization. Also having a lot of potential is the tongue scraper. Sexy? Absolutely not. Potentially good? Sure! Likely to facilitate good breath? I’m more likely to find out RE: the tongue scraper, but you never know.
BONUS: Dustin Ackley also played today. He relieved Daniel Vogelbach, who had reached base in all three of his plate appearances. The substitution felt extremely violent against fans. I know that I mostly assigned the relievers toothpaste brands, but Dustin Ackley is arguably the most toothpastey toothpaste that has ever toothpasted. Not only that, he’s been bad at it. He can’t even do the toothpaste thing right. He is Tom’s of Maine Natural Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste.
Fluoride? No. Good-tasting? No. Likely to freshen your breath? No. Antibacterial? No. Technically toothpaste? Oh my goodness, yes. Honestly, I like fennel. I like this toothpaste in theory, and I like Dustin Ackley in theory. But this is bad toothpaste, and Dustin Ackley is a bad Major League Baseball Player.
So there’s your game. The Mariners played it, and they played it to the tune of a rainy 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals in mid-March. It was extremely painful to watch, but no more painful than finding weird pictures of mouths on the internet, which is something I also experienced tonight. Thanks, Mariners! Please let the season start soon.