Have you heard? Death comes for us all. But before we are shuffled off this mortal coil, a more everyday rendition is that time slips away from us all. It’s a useful thing to keep in mind - time is precious! Bearing that in mind, of course, we needn’t spend our daytime hours stressing mortality, especially not with baseball. If we are fortunate, life is full of time spent inefficiently - we have had the luxury of numerous opportunities. But today the Mariners were careless with their time and did not pick a moment.
Marco Gonzales gave his team the opportunity they’ve so rarely had this year, going seven full innings with minimal incident. Though a poor flip from Edwin Encarnación led to a first inning run, the Rangers would be held there for what should’ve surely been long enough. His lone earned run came late, as Hunter Pence uncorked his limbs into a perfect swing, knocking a sixth inning fastball through heavy winds and over the left field fence.
But the Mariners couldn’t be bothered. Watching listlessly as Jesse Chavez and Adrian Sampson worked the edges of a generous strike zone, the M’s scattered runners through six of their nine frames at the plate but did little to capitalize. Mallex Smith and Dylan Moore bore the brunt of it on a day with no shortage of poor PAs. A trio of strikeouts and a GiDP are as bad as it gets for Moore, who was admittedly a victim of a few questionable strikes and an unfortunate hit-and-run. Smith looked bamboozled in both his plate appearances, casting a two-strike swing reminiscent of a student offering a hopeless answer to a teacher who caught them in the midst of a daydream.
Seattle made precious little noise, receiving no reward when they might’ve indeed earned it and being encouraged on nonsense. Shed Long followed his first career hit yesterday with a two-out ground-rule double that might’ve left the yard on a day where the wind blew any other direction. He would be stranded there, but also turned an undeniably slick double play, glove-flipping a chopper to J.P. Crawford, who also had a strong day at the ballpark.
Crawford was responsible for the only RBI of the day for Seattle, driving in Jay Bruce on a sharp single up the middle after Uncle Jay looped a pop-up out of the reach of Shin-Soo Choo and hustled in to second. The M’s tried to shake out of their stupor late, putting two runners on in both the 8th and 9th, but a trio of strikeouts ended both threats. Shed Long was the final out, though he’d led off the 8th with a pitch crushed 100.7 mph off the bat that flew 378 feet with a .700 xBA (Statcast’s new hit probability indicator, telling us 7/10 times that’s a base hit, thanks) only to be tracked down nicely by Danny Santana.
A 2-1 loss in a non-competitive season to seal a sweep is an uninspiring affair in any circumstance, but the M’s were dealt a further blow as Omar Narváez took a foul ball off the knee mid-game. He’d stay in to finish the inning but was replaced by Tom Murphy. The reports are a mere knee contusion, which makes him day-to-day. It’d be a shame to see Narv miss much time or see lasting ill effects, as for all his exasperating defensive limitations he’s legitimately been a top-5 catcher in baseball with his offensive contributions, and seems to be growing a shade more comfortable as a receiver. Hopefully a speedy recovery aided by an off-day tomorrow is in the works for Narváez and the Mariners bats.