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Lessons from the 2019 Mariners

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who, btw, lost again today

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the 1st, with the leadoff runner on first base and no outs, Kyle Seager turned an effortless double play. After years of Kyle Seager at third base, it can be easy to forget that clean plays and quick, accurate throws are not automatic, but the first couple months of the season have reminded us that they are indeed not. It’s good to have these reminders sometimes, to keep us from growing complacent with the good things we do have. Let us appreciate the 2019 Mariners for that.

Seager’s play was quickly followed by a solo home run off the bat of Matt Chapman to put the A’s up 1-0. It’s fortunate that we have these reminders sometimes, that though times may be good, those good times are not guaranteed. Let us appreciate the 2019 Mariners for that.

The Mariners got their first base runner in the 3rd inning when Chapman’s sit-down non-catch of a bloop into shallow left field allowed Jay Bruce a stand-up double to lead off the inning. Bruce advanced to third on a groundout from Shed Long, and scored on Mitch Haniger’s two-out single. With all the new faces we’ve seen this year, having Haniger and Seager in the same lineup is comforting - the familiarity feels safe. But growth does not come from hiding behind the familiar, and it’s good to be reminded of that. Let us appreciate the 2019 Mariners for that.

A couple of back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases for the A’s with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd, but the Mariners managed to get out of that mess giving up only one run, which really seems like a victory on its own sometimes when examined outside of what the word “victory” really means. It’s good to have these reminders, that there are small victories in the absence of actual victories. Let us appreciate the 2019 Mariners for that.

Domingo Santana would tie the game again in the 4th with a two-out solo shot.

Seager followed by lining a single into center field for his first hit of the season.

However, he would have to wait to get his first run of the year, as Bruce struck out to end the inning. What Santana giveth in the top of the inning he taketh away in the bottom, committing his 9th error of the season to allow Ramon Laureano to score. Then, with one out and runners at 2nd and 3rd, Kikuchi gave up a two-run double to Chad Pinder, and it was 5-2.

It was clear Kikuchi didn’t have his best stuff today. He allowed baserunners in each inning he pitched, and was pulled in the 4th inning after throwing 74 pitches and giving up 10 hits. The Mariners’ commitment to not wearing Kikuchi out was probably a factor, but he struggled today. It’s good to remember that even the most consistent among us will have their bad days. Let us appreciate the 2019 Mariners for this reminder.

With two outs in the top of the 5th Haniger hit a solo home run to bring the score to 5-3.

The Mariners came no closer this inning to eliminating Oakland’s lead, but it’s good to remember that each small step does take us part of the distance we must go. Let’s appreciate the 2019 Mariners for that reminder.

Austin Adams, a recent bullpen acquisition after being DFA’d by the Nationals, came on in relief of Kikuchi and retired all five batters he faced in the 4th and 5th and looked good doing it. Anthony Bass, signed earlier in the week after being released by the Reds, retired all six batters he faced to get the Mariners through the 6th and 7th. It’s good to remember that, as the saying goes, you might find cool stuff in your neighbor’s trash. Let’s appreciate the 2019 Mariners for this reminder.

The Mariners threatened in the top of the 8th, with Shed Long hitting a leadoff double, but Haniger would ground out, Vogelbach would strike out, and Encarnacion would strike out too.

The A’s tacked on another run in the bottom of the 8th against Brandon Brennan. It’s good to have these reminders to remain realistic - that though the bullpen had a few good innings there will still be ups and downs, but if we just hope for a few for ups and a few less downs we’re likely to see them. Let’s appreciate the 2019 Mariners for this reminder.

With one out in the top of the 9th, Santana hit another solo home run.

Seager followed with a double, and after Bruce fouled out to left, Seager scored off a double from J.P. Crawford that was just barely not a home run.

And with two outs, rookie Shed Long came to the plate as the go-ahead run, a moment he had no-doubt imagined countless times. Long doesn’t know how much time he has on this particular stint with the big league team, and he understands the importance of making the most of these moments in establishing his young career. And still, Long flew out to right field, ending the rally and the game. It’s good to have these reminders, that things don’t always happen the way we want them to, when we want them to. But if we’re lucky, we get to try again the next day. And the next day. And the next. Because there are 108 more of these games left this year. We are nowhere near the end of this season. Literally two thirds of the season to go. Let us appreciate the 2019 Mariners for this reminder.