This game always promised to be a high-scoring one. Erik Swanson and Michael Pineda entered the evening with a combined ERA of over 10.00. The Mariners were fresh off of a two-game sweep of the A’s in which they did not look lost. The Twins were fresh off of scoring eight runs against the Angels.
That the first two innings were scoreless, then, was something of a surprise. Each starter did a fine job of working the edges of the zone. It was an encouraging sign for Swanson, if not for the Mariner offense.
As Erik Swanson walked onto the mound to begin the fourth, maybe he looked around. He saw the paltry crowd and gloomy weather. The Terrace Park, Ohio native glanced into the crowd and saw uninterested faces. Maybe he was transported back to his tee-ball days. Suddenly he was seeing brown Ohio lawns and re-heated chili dogs. He was seeing old folks in the front rows trying to make it seem like they were having a good time.
He snapped back to reality, and he knew what he had to do.
After the fourth such tee shot, Swanson snapped back into reality. As he looked around he began to feel a sense of creeping horror as the consequences of his actions became apparent.
The score was 8-1, yes, but things were much graver than that. It appeared Swanson had transported T-Mobile Park into some bizarre 90’s-Ohio-themed pseudo-hell. Beefy white men were teeing off on clearly inferior opponents. The sky had turned an odd shade of orange. The worst part, though, was the cheese. There was so much cheese everywhere.
“What did I do to deserve this?” cried one poor man as he was showered in botulism-ridden cow curry. “I’ve never even been to Ohio!”
Such is the danger of notalgia, Erik Swanson learned tonight. Scott Servais walked out to retrieve Swanson in the fourth inning, but the damage had been done. Swanson had entertained his Midwestern nightmare, and we were all along for the ride.
In true Midwest fashion, however, the Twins had quickly overindulged and were left bloated and impotent from their offense outburst. Belts bursting, they managed just two runs against the four relievers the Mariners used to mop up the game.
Also in true Midwest fashion, the Twins felt kind of bad for beating up on the Mariners so badly. They did their best to apologize by giving up solo dingers to Ryon Healy and J.P. Crawford, as well as an extremely large dinger to our extremely large son.
By the time the dust settled, we were back to reality. Our cheese-covered Orpheus, sent to retrieve us from the underworld, had failed. But Vogelbach, our Hercules, rescued us. Though the Mariners still lost, they were saved from a far worse fate: remaining in the Midwest.