Fridays are a social construct. The only reason for the day’s inherent joy is because of the traditional workweek’s five-day structure, ending each Friday and bringing the fleeting freedom of a two-day respite from capitalistic monotony. For those of us on the rigid Monday-Friday schedule, the mere specter of Friday’s arrival is a motivating factor for leaving bed on the weekday’s other four installments. Then, when Friday does show its beautiful face, you’re met by the dreaded mental back-and-forth of wanting to use that freedom to actually accomplish things—socially, mentally, financially, what have you—or wanting to become a human buoy floating aimlessly through the weekend, waiting for a wave of excitement to push you along.
For the first three innings of the Mariners’ Friday night game in Cleveland, both teams seemed perfectly content to spend their weekend doing the latter. Seattle initially went along with the charade of production: a walk, a double, a single, but none of it amounted to any runs. This was the Mariners’ cursory happy hour with their co-workers, knowing full well that they’re just biding their time until they can go home. Perfunctory pleasantries, is all that is.
Then, in the fourth inning, the Mariners actually made some moves. Jay Bruce—acting like someone who just received a Friday evening text from their crush—shook off his 9-5 cobwebs, cranked his favorite song, and let loose.
Seeing the M’s jumpstart their weekend with such gusto inspired Cleveland to do the same. One half inning after the Mariners got their night rolling, the home team tied the game with some energy of their own. Leonys Martín checked Instagram, saw that his old flame was having a good time, and wanted to show them that he too, was having a good time. Martín’s double to lead off the fourth was Cleveland’s first hit, and it led to their first run when he scored on a Carlos Santana double play. This sent the American League teams into the fifth inning with an even score line, unsure of what do next with their night.
The thing about Fridays is that they can make people act recklessly. Too many drinks, too many poorly-thought out plans, too much idle time, etc. Whatever your weakness is, Friday will find it. On this particular Friday, Tim Beckham assumed the role of way too confident person. We’ve all met this person. Their choosing a karaoke song way out of their wheelhouse, hitting on someone way out of their league, and spending money way beyond their price range. Beckham nearly hit a ball over the center field wall, but when it stayed in, he tried to turn his easy double into a nearly impossible triple.
Unsurprisingly, he was thrown out, leading to a popular refrain for someone sprinting wildly through a downtown park on a foggy Friday night.
Where in the world are you going, Tim Beckham?— Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB) May 4, 2019
Through all of this, Yusei Kikuchi showed exemplary responsibility. In zipping through Cleveland’s top-heavy lineup, Kikuchi tested the upper limits of the radar gun, worked both sides of the plate, and showed incredible command. He was the friend who pays for the shared appetizer, befriends the waiter so you may dine and leave efficiently, and makes sure you get home safely. If not for one ill-advised shot (who among us HASN’T done this?), Kikuchi would have had the platonic Friday. Chill but exciting, new and different but not overwhelming, and, most importantly, a reminder of what controlled fun feels like. In seven innings, the crafty lefty struck out 10, throwing 60 of his 93 pitches for strikes. Outside of the fourth inning, Kikuchi did not allow a single runner to reach second base.
His homies, meanwhile, were not so reliable. Ryon Healy mysteriously disappeared when no one was looking. Official word is that he experienced “groin tightness”, which is now going to be my cover up line when I’m low key puking in the bathroom.
Healy was replaced by Dylan Moore. As one is prone to do, Moore felt the need to catch up after joining the party late. In his first at-bat, he fared admirably against a pitcher who was already deep in their bag. Ultimately, Moore was called out on a 3-2 pitch clearly off the plate.
Like a customer arguing with the bartender, Moore gave the umpire a small piece of his mind before realizing it was futile and probably still giving him a generous tip.
The night soldiered on to the ninth inning. The Mariners talked amongst themselves about banding together to do something incredible, maybe starting their own business or selling all their belongings and moving to Auckland, but instead just sat there and ordered another round. Their opponents, on the other hand, actually put their plan into action.
With the difficult part of Cleveland’s order set to walk things off in the ninth inning, Scott Servais called his boy Anthony Swarzak. Here’s what that phone call looked like.
Instead of being the charming and helpful parts of Mike Damone, the Mariner reliever was just all of the sleazy parts. While he did technically bring the wallet, he also stole $5 out of it. A walk to Frankie Lindor, followed by two outs and another walk, set the stage for Tyler Naquin to either drive everyone home or fail miserably and keep this weird night going for some reason. Naquin assessed the scene and decided nobody involved needed to keep doing this.
Let’s see if the Mariners can make better choices on Saturday.