This was not a good game. It was a bad game. In fact, this was my face watching this game:
The Mariners lost 9-3. I should probably get that out of the way first.
Of course, this game started out weird, so maybe expecting more than GRIMACE FACE is setting hopes too high. After it was decided the game last night would be postponed (there’s that passive voice again!), the Mariners didn’t leave for San Francisco until about 10 AM today, which probably screws up their pre-game routines and whatnot. Did the players rehearse their rhymes on the plane? Was mom’s spaghetti invoked? Unclear.
What was clear, immediately: Ljay Newsome didn’t have his trademark pinpoint command. He walked the first batter of the game, which, okay, maybe nerves, but when he was on the plate, he wasn’t fooling anyone with his stuff. His changeup looked, at times, in the words of noted LLjay Stan Connor, “atrocious.” He also wasn’t getting calls at the top of the zone on his fastball, which takes away a huge piece of Ljay’s arsenal—namely, the GOATball, which is his strikeout pitch. Ljay labored through three innings, surrendering five runs on eight hits including two home runs, and overall looked extremely un-Ljay-like. Let’s hope it was just a weird blip and for all of Ljay’s placid, unshakeable exterior, he was actually a little out of sorts. I think Ljay might have fared better tonight in an actual rap battle.
Tim Lopes was chasing after balls in left field all night, all of them perpetually out of his grasp. The acres and acres of green space at Oracle Park are always a challenge for outfielders, and even more so when your outfield is composed of 50-75% infielders. That’s right, Oracle Park saw the Mariners get dropped off at the field by their grandma, and did a pretty devastating rhyme about it. I would have liked them to then get a ride home. Alas, we were in the third inning.
Ljay was relieved by Erik Swanson, who might be the lone person on the team less equipped to win a rap battle than Ljay. I don’t even think rapping is legal in North Dakota. Swanson, who also likes pitching at the top of the zone, was similarly stung by home plate umpire Bill Miller’s stingy strike zone. Oh, I’m sorry, did I say stingy? Only when the Mariners were pitching. Otherwise the zone was as wide as three pairs of Zubaz stitched together.
Home plate umpire Bill Miller isn’t gonna want to put tonight’s game on his highlight reel. pic.twitter.com/vNCktGQJV3— John Trupin (@JohnTrupin) September 17, 2020
Hint: if you go to your rap battle and one of the judges is Bill Miller, turn around and walk right back out. Save your energy, save your time, reclaim it like your name is Maxine Waters.
Swanson, it could be argued, actually fared worse than Ljay; he only recorded one out in 30 pitches and gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk. Again, Swanson hasn’t been pitching, so maybe you can attribute that to rust, but it was hard! to! watch!
Okay, now let’s have a brief break to talk about the only good part of tonight for the Mariners, and that part, as you all expected, is Casey Sadler.
Like the man in the Members Only jacket at the gym who pulls up in tube socks and Rockports and wrecks your shit at a shootaround, Casey Sadler, Mariners staff Oldhead, pulled up to the rap battle and dropped some absolute bars on the Giants. Rookie Joey Bart might have lululemon and Black Cat Air Jordans but Oldhead Casey Sadler has LIFE EXPERIENCE, son.
Joy was thin on the ground in the Mariners game tonight but Casey Sadler handing Joey Bart his entire ass did make me chuckle pic.twitter.com/0pCpfF5uwf— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) September 17, 2020
(Yes, Oldhead Age in baseball is 30 years old. Hey, they’re releasing a “historic” American Girl doll from the 80s, I’m actually typing this from the grave after poofing into dust.)
The more astute among you will notice that I have not said anything about the Mariners offense. Well,
No I did not use that shot already, if you look carefully, Tim Lopes is making a different agonized face up there. Let us all be grateful for a moment for Tim Lopes and his wonderfully expressive face.
The offense flailed against Drew Soggy Smyly, who I will never not be mad at, and his dastardly curveball. Smyly struck out eight in just 3.2 innings, en route to the Mariners striking out 17 times tonight. Gross! And while the SFers did get some help from the home plate ump, the Mariners also didn’t do a good job of capitalizing on mistakes by a pitching staff that walked eight (three of those walks went to Kyle Seager alone) and hit two more, including a very scary HBP of Dylan Moore, when Sam Coonrod, a sunburn masquerading as a baseball player, hit him with 99 square on the helmet. Dylan collapsed in a frightening heap, and then, because he is Dylan BamBam F%#@ing Moore, got up and strolled down to first base. See these dimples? They are made of STEEL.
Moore was later removed from the game, but in his postgame interview Servais said that he never lost consciousness and appears to be fine. Still, if they need a volunteer to keep Dylan Moore up all night in case he has a concussion, I have a very long list of questions I want to ask him. (It starts with, how did you get everyone to pose so perfectly for this photo, including a toddler and a dog, and then the next few questions are all about at what age, exactly, he began to dabble in the Dark Arts.)
It was frustrating to see the Mariners blink out on offense again, fresh on the heels of their smoky sleepwalk through Game 2 of the doubleheader against Oakland. They were able to get some hits here and there, just nothing where they really strung a threat together. The closest they came was in the fourth inning, when Kyle Seager got the party started with a walk (I didn’t say it was a good party, more like an office party), Ty France singled, and then Luis Torrens scorched a double into left field, plating Seager.
The Kyles-France-Torrens part of the lineup is an enjoyable part of the lineup to watch, generally speaking. France’s single earlier in the inning was hit at 108.2 mph, the hardest-hit ball of the game, and he also hit a triple-digit lineout off Coonrod later in the game that, in a just and merciful world, would have landed for a hit. Alas, instead the Mariners did all their scoring in that inning, working some bases-loaded walks to bring the tally up to three, which is the offensive equivalent of showing up to the rap battle with “My name is Kate and I’m here to say/this strike zone was fuzzier than a painting by Monet.”
Anyway, I gotta go because I have to make good time to San Fran so I can fight Sam Coonrod and avenge our slender-waisted son. Hopefully it will go better than tonight’s failed rap battle. Maybe Casey will feel bad for everyone and get them Happy Meals on the way back to the hotel.