No single person was able or willing to recap this game, which perhaps ended up being best for everyone’s mental health. In lieu of a single recap, here is a three-person recap straight live from T-Mobile Field.
Innings 1-3: Grant
When we acquired Mallex Smith, as a fast, slap-hitting outfielder, I assumed he was coming equipped with stellar defense. I figured he must have the speed to run down hits in the gap and throw out anybody trying to take an extra base.
Thirty games in, I’m ready to admit defeat. Perhaps it’s that his glove is the wrong size, and today he certainly didn’t get any help from his pitcher. But when he dropped a line drive hit in his near vicinity in the second inning, eventually leading to a three-run Rougned Odor moonshot that wouldn’t have come about had Mallex made that grab, it was the last straw.
Of course, there were plenty of other painful moments early on. Elvis Andrus sent a bro baseball back to its rightful home in The Pen to put the Rangers up 3-0 just three batters in. A couple doubles down the third base line and a few more singles (plus a third error) swelled the lead to 8-1.
If we’re looking for a bright spot, it would have to be the upper deck Domingo dinger in the first. After all, that was the only hit the Mariners mustered in the first three frames, juxtaposed with six strikeouts.
Oh, and my bobblehead does properly bobble. At least there’s that.
Innings 4-6: Zach
I will defend Mike Leake to the death. He is an average to above-average pitcher, and has been for years. Though the first few innings weren’t what anyone wanted to see from Leake, he was pretty clearly jobbed by some atrocious defense by Tim Beckham and Mallex Smith.
After a bullpen day yesterday, Scott Servais seemed determined to wring everything he could out of his league average pitcher. Thankfully, the karma pendulum swung all the way back for Leake in the fourth.
Rougned Odor blistered a ball at 108 miles per hour directly at the mound. It somehow bounced directly at Dylan Moore, who corralled it for the out. Two batters later, Nomar Mazara blasted a fly ball which Mitch Haniger was able to track all the way to the fence.
It seemed like things might be turning around.
Narrator: Things were not turning around.
The Mariners’ walks and hits over the next two innings were perfectly parenthesized by groundouts, flyouts, and especially strikeouts. Each opportunity was militantly squandered, and the Mariners allowed Mike Minor to effortlessly plow through the mid-game.
Meanwhile, Mike Leake continued to allow hard contact and ended up with a total of nine runs allowed, five of them earned. He was relieved by the newly acquired Mike Wright, who managed to ingratiate himself to his new fans by giving up another run, making the score 10-1.
The summary of these three innings: yikes.
Innings 7-9: John
**extremely Mike Blowers voice** oh boy.
If you were to tell me the Mariners only used three pitchers tonight, I’d be fairly encouraged. Mike Leake probably went deep! Mike Wright and/or Chasen Bradford probably appeared! Maybe Anthony Swarzak had a nice redemptive outing!
1/3, reader. 1/3.
Mike Wright worked around a pair of hits for a scoreless inning, but he will clearly be a work in progress. Chasen Bradford pitched the eighth, predictably allowing a massive dong to Joseph Nicholas Gallo, and the Mariners more blatantly threw in the towel. We got Vogelbach at 1st. We got Dylan Moore on the hill. Most importantly, we got Omar Narváez at 2nd base. Has he played there ever before in his life? Potentially. Has he done so while being paid to play baseball? Absolutely not.
Dylan Moore hopped up there, slang some 71-74 mph meatballs, got shelled for four runs, and got through an inning. He did better than his most recent pitching outing, when he allowed seven unearned runs in a single inning for the Low-A Hickory Crawdads in the 2016 season. Because MLB and MiLB are incompetently run entertainment products, I do not have video to show you of this, as they have scrubbed video prior to 2018 from their accessible database. Today Moore improved on his minor league runs allowed, although not his peripherals, and Narváez even managed to record a forceout!
These heroics did not inspire an offensive resurgence, as Mike Minor concluded his career-high strikeout night at 13 through 7.0 IP, giving the M’s two more chances they’d opt to go 1-2-3 for. There were predictable elements here - Mike Leake against the powerful lefty-heavy Rangers always a dodgy proposition - but it was awful to watch, and the errors and offense exacerbated those frustrations. The resounding clubbing leaves the M’s with a +27 run differential, still 4th in MLB and 3rd in the AL, but a sizable dropoff.
Tomorrow the team goes for a series win, and it will hardly matter at all what happened today, but outside of one swing by Domingo Santana, the players expected to bear a load in the Mariners future did not show up tonight, and it was awful to watch. At least Jarred Kelenic homered twice.