Maybe orange is the Mariners’ kryptonite color—it would explain their continual poor performances against the Astros, and also against the San Francisco Giants, not exactly the titans of the NL West, and yet a team the 2020 Mariners cannot seem to beat. And here I was thinking orange and blue are complementary colors. Apparently that means only one may succeed at once. Last week I suggested the Mariners imagine Mike Minor was still wearing his Texas jersey as the struggled to get anything going against Mike Minor, Oakland Athletic, so maybe a similar trick would work with the Astros. If not that, I know where to get a vat of bleach and some people who won’t ask any pesky questions.
Today looked like the Mariners’ best chance at a win against their orange-clad foes all season. Nick Margevicius was on the mound and he hung in there for five strong innings before running into a spot of trouble in the sixth, giving up back-to-back singles to open the inning to Luis Alexander Basabe (his first MLB hit!) and Wilmer Flores. Marge would later take some damage on his ERA when Joey Gerber came on in relief and walked the first batter he faced, then surrendered an RBI single to Evan Longoria scoring Basabe. A sacrifice fly from Brandon Crawford trimmed the Mariners’ lead down to one run.
Oh yes, because the Mariners had a lead at one point in this game. Tyler Anderson, whose delivery was invented in a lab specifically to piss off staff writer Tim, set the Mariners down in order in the first, but had a rough second inning that started off with him hitting Kyle Seager. Kyle Seager is tired of getting walked, and the Mariners are tired of getting hit, and this spilled over into some jawing, and also Kyle Seager waltzing into second base and just being like “hey bro, you OWE me this.”
ah my freeeeeends you zhall have to be queeeker than zat to catch ze wily Kyle Seager pic.twitter.com/gj0Xg7XWMZ— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) September 17, 2020
Ty France followed up with a single hit at 102 mph EV, because Ty France only hits the ball one speed and that is hard. Tim Lopes went down and got a curveball located at his shoetops and served it into center field, and Phillip Ervin punched a fastball at the top of the zone into right field, and hey, just a minute here to appreciate the Mariners running the bases with competence? J.P. Crawford then got a fastball up in the zone of his own that he sent oppo, scoring Lopes and Ervin and extending the Mariners’ lead to 4-1. And if you want, you can stop reading right now, because nothing else in this game is good.
Okay, actually I lied. One more fun thing happened, and it was Tyler Anderson getting ejected because he was super mad about a non-call on Kyle Lewis in the third inning. The zone has been...questionable, on both sides (although seemingly more on the Mariners’ end, so quit yer whining, TAnd) for this whole series, and the pitch literally right before that was one that KLew could have easily walked on, but maybe Anderson was still feeling sensitive after getting chewed out by the Mariners’ bench the previous inning. Unfortunately, despite that gifted runner to start the inning, Seager then got unlucky, lining into a double play off new pitcher Wandy Peralta at 98 mph. And that would be all the offense the Mariners could muster on the day.
It’s a shame, because as mentioned, Nicky Marge was mostly fine. He got six groundball outs and struck out three, although he wasn’t quite as sharp as usual with his command, missing his spots a few times—Marge walked three batters, which is very un-Margey, and only threw 45 of his 76 pitches for strikes (including a wild pitch!) which would be, like, great for Yohan Ramirez, but isn’t so great for Margevicius, whose less-loud arsenal depends on pinpoint command. Marge also ran into some rough luck—like the fastball he threw Daren Ruf (how many consonants are supposed to be in your name there, buddy, because it feels like not enough) at the bottom-inside corner of the zone that Ruf was able to drop the barrel on and get to the one tiny sliver of Oracle Park where balls go out.
The usual death knell sounded by summoning of the Mariners bullpen was this time rung by a surprising member—Kendall Graveman, who has been one of the better relievers in the pen. Things started out poorly in the seventh when Mauricio Dubón, who has snatched the title of Mariners Pest away from David Fletcher, got an infield single. The Grave Man struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Belt on a high changeup (at 90 mph!) and then got Pest 2 Donovan Solano to fly out, but then lost his command, walking literal baby Basabe and then throwing Wilmer Flores 96 in the middle of the plate, which Flores promptly deposited somewhere in the ever-growing recesses of Oracle Park, scoring two and giving the Giants a 5-4 lead.
Seriously, every time the Giants were up to bat the outfield at Oracle Park looked like this:
And every time the Mariners were up the outfield looked like this:
Anyway, Anthony Misiewicz came in to relieve Graveman. Quarantine has gone on forever and Anthony Misiewicz has pitched every single day of it. Misiewicz immediately surrendered an RBI single to Alex Dickerson, although then he had the decency to pick him off first, putting the inning out of its misery. Damage done, however, and it’s difficult to see how a team that’s lately been swinging tube socks filled with dry macaroni can come back from a one-run deficit, let alone two.
Spoiler alert: they did not!
There is plenty of consternation to be spread around here and certainly the bullpen deserves a lot of it, but it is very frustrating to watch the offense continue to sputter and die like a lawnmower that’s been around since the Carter administration. An idea I would like to suggest to the team, free of charge, from me to you, is, maybe the offense could score in more than one inning? I feel like that would be helpful. The Giants hit 8 home runs in this series. The Mariners hit zero. The Mariners struck out 12 times today, which, added to the 17 times they struck out yesterday, means they struck out almost 30 times in the two-game series. That is more than an entire game’s worth of just striking out. For contrast, the Blue Jays struck out eight times against the Yankees in NYY’s 13-2 stomping the other day. That’s how many strikeouts Drew Smyly had against the Mariners in three innings. I could go on, but it’s too depressing. Off to eat yet another iteration of chicken and rice and start Netflix over again from the beginning. Misiewicz better not show up in any of the shows or I’m calling a priest to exorcise my computer. I’ll do it right after I acquire that industrial-sized vat of bleach, extra No-Orange Flavor.