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Mariners’ bats rule, gloves drool, drop nightcap 7-6

that’s a sour taste

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to sweep a doubleheader. It’s hard to sweep a doubleheader even when both games are seven innings in regulation. It’s hard to sweep a doubleheader against even the Baltimore Orioles. It’s hard to sweep a doubleheader after the extra inning chaos that was Game 1.

I keep repeating these thoughts, but they provide no comfort.

Things even got off to a great start, too! After a thrilling, eight-inning extra-innings win (yeah it’s still weird baseball mode here) in Game 1, Nick Margevicius began his first start of the year with a bang, allowing just a single to Anthony Santander and a double to Ryan Mountcastle through his first two frames. While he’s always leaned pretty heavily on his fastball, he kicked that up a notch tonight - 51 out of 67 of his total offerings were four-seamers, including nine in a row to end the second inning. Its average velocity tonight was just 90 MPH, but it had some oomph early on, touching as high as 93, and Marge used it to wiggle out of a minor jam by getting both Ramón Urías and Chance Sisco on strikes.

Invigorated after a gritty inning, the bats came alive the next frame. After two innings of being held to just a José Marmolejos double in the second by Dean Kremer, Sam Haggerty got the party started from the bottom of the order by smacking a 1-1 changeup back up the middle. He baited Kremer by getting inching further and further towards second between seemingly every pitch, rattling him enough to leave a 2-2 fastball that caught just a bit too much of the outer part of the plate against Mitch Haniger, who roped a double into right field. A four pitch walk to Ty France later, Kyle Seager once again chipped in a run.

Now, one run here would have been okay. Honest! Marmo, though, had other plans, and he knew it.

Since the dust of the doubleheader has cleared, José Marmolejos had a four-digit OPS. He has the highest ISO on the team at .421, the team’s best wRC+ at 177, and the ball is leaving his bat at an average velocity of 94.1 miles per hour. It’s 21 plate appearances, but he has exceeded even my expectations of him. Plus, look at all of the joy in this picture!

Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles Game 2 Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

I so badly wish the header photo was this instead of jubilant Orioles. In some alternate universe, it is. Unfortunately, that isn’t what happened in this one.

Anyone who watched the bottom of the third can tell you what happened. Freddy Galvis, who is somehow still a productive Major League player, led off the inning with a base hit into left field that Haggerty likely could have made a play on - though with a 4-0 lead, I understand being conservative in the field. He moved to second on a wild pitch, but Margevicius was able to strike out the red-hot Cedric Mullins with a perfectly placed fastball, and got DJ Stewart to hit a routine ground ball to second four pitches later.

Whoops! I imagine Ty France got a stern talking to from Perry Hill after this error, and Santander followed by wearing a spiked curveball in a 2-1 count to load the bases. To Margevicius’s credit, he dug in against a dangerous power bat in Trey Mancini, and got him on strikes with just three pitches, an elevated fastball at 92 bringing him down.

Unfortunately, that luck didn’t hold against Maikel Franco, who cheated on an inside fastball to bring home some runs.

Aaaaaaagh. That cleats up flying slide from Santander was not cool, but Luis Torrens needed to hold onto the ball there, even if the tag was applied while it was secured. What should have been the end of the inning and a 4-2 score instead extended, and naturally, Mountcastle tied the game with a base hit less than two minutes later. Marge got out of the third, but after allowing Sisco and Galvis to reach to kick off the fourth, his night was done. I have a hard time calling tonight a poor outing given how badly his defense let him down (four unearned runs!), and he got plenty of swinging strikes from his fastball, but I have a hard time believing the two-pitch mix will work against a non-Orioles offense - it was a lineup full of righties, yeah, but he only showed his slider three times tonight. Regardless, he’ll get another few shots before Logan Gilbert comes up.

Will Vest came on in relief, and promptly let both inherited runners score on a Mullins double and a Santander sacrifice fly. It had been a long time (read: since the James Paxton news) since I had felt so deflated so quickly. Old friend Wade LeBlanc and vague acquaintance Adam Plutko held the Mariners to just one hit and one walk from the fourth to the sixth, and it looked like they would turned away with a whimper to close out the game.

Not so! They just had to tease us a little bit. J.P. Crawford finished up a nice day at the plate by greeting Plutko with a single up the middle in the seventh, and then Sam Haggerty joined Ken Griffey, Jr. as the only Mariners to accomplish this.

That’s right, this is a factual tweet.

That was all they’d accomplish, though, and they tantalized even further thanks to Casey Sadler grabbing two quick outs in the bottom of the seventh. Double extras on a doubleheader, though? Even the most chaotic of baseball gods would object. Sadler walked Franco, and let a fairly routine tapper from Ryan McKenna get away from him to put a runner in scoring position...

Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but it wouldn’t have mattered, as Urías’s base hit on 2-2 would have been more than enough to drive home the winning run regardless. Blech. For as fun as the first game was, this nightcap was equally crushing. I’m sad for Margevicius, who had a promising and intriguing outing marred by shoddy defense. I’m sad for José Marmolejos and Sam Haggerty; bench bat heroics are few and far between, and both of their performances deserve to be remembered in a fonder context than this one. I’m even sad for Casey Sadler, who likely would not have even been put in that situation had Rafael Montero not melted down in Game 1, forcing Scott Servais to go to Kendall Graveman in extras.

Still, 6-5 is much better than what I was expecting after the first game of that White Sox series. There were good things to take from today, too; four home runs across two games in one day is nothing to sneeze at, and it seems like the offense has woken up a little bit overall. Tomorrow they’ll get the chance to feast on the corpse of Matt Harvey, and hopefully there’s enough meat on there to stave off what could be another wobbly outing from Justin Dunn. In any case, let’s all hope it can wipe out the sour taste this game left in our collective mouths.