After the excitement of last night and the thrilling comeback win, tonight the Mariners offense engaged in a sophomore slump not seen since the Killers released Sam’s Town on an unsuspecting public.
Okay, that’s not exactly fair. Sam’s Town at least features “When You Were Young,” a certified banger that recaptured some of the early glory of the Vegas band’s breakthrough debut album Hot Fuss. It’s no “Mr. Brightside” or “Somebody Told Me” but it’s a fine track in its own right, full of the soaring orchestral excitement and driving guitar riffs that made Hot Fuss some Grade-A road trip music. It also has “Read My Mind,” which don’t tell anyone, is my favorite Killers song and one of my favorite songs period. The Mariners offense today produced no such hits; instead, the offense struck out a grand total of seven times, took no walks, and didn’t have an extra-base hit against a wizardly Zack Greinke.
Armed with a fastball cranked all the way up to 91, Greinke singlehandedly held the Mariners off the board for eight innings, needing just 91 pitches to do so. The Mariners had a chance to get to Greinke in the fifth, when José Marmolejos and Evan White led off the inning with back-to-back base hits; unfortunately, Dylan Moore than lined out, and J.P. Crawford, despite hitting the ball very hard! at 103.6 mph, aimed the ball right at Wizard Greinke the Grey, who smartly let the ball fall harmlessly out of his glove like the topmost scoop on a child’s ice cream cone before spinning around and initiating the double play. I’d embed it but it honestly hurts me to watch. You can see it here if you have the stomach for it.
It sucks, too, because Chris Flexen deserved better. Flex gave up a lot of contact—10 hits, including the three hardest-hit balls of the game, the hardest being Washington native Taylor Jones’s RBI single at 110 EV—but worked himself out of trouble admirably, mixing all four of his pitches effectively to keep the Astros lineup wrong-footed. Greinke will get all the attention in this game for his eight innings and only needing 92 pitches to get there, but Flexen pitched six plus on 86 pitches with a similar strike to ball ratio and probably could have gone deeper if the Mariners offense had scored him...well, any runs.
Flexen— Scott Hylton (@auditorscott) April 18, 2021
It truly makes one think.
In other good news: the bullpen! Yes that’s as weird for me to type as it is for you to read. But Casey Sadler came in and tidied up after Flexen allowed a leadoff single to the aquiline-nosed Jason Castro in the seventh. Will Vest worked the eighth and walked Carlos Correa but also collected two strikeouts, including freezing Michael Brantley on a called strike three to open the inning, which I would have totally included as a gif if I hadn’t been so checked out of this game by this point. Keynan Middleton also worked a scoreless ninth, with two strikeouts of his own, and also easily setting the curve for the velocity leaderboard in this game:
Also peep those swing-and-misses! That’s pretty good to come in slightly ahead of the Astros’ closer and almost match the game’s starter in just one inning. Keynan was pretty fired up about it too, bringing that energy we love to see even in a sleepy 1-0 loss:
one man hype squad Keynan Middleton pic.twitter.com/WB4rYv5p8B— Lydia Cruz (@TheLydiaCruz) April 18, 2021
Tomorrow is the rubber match of the series, starting at 1 PM PT. I’m gonna turn this thing around, can you read my mind? Please read my mind, Mariners. The mid-2000s music references will continue until the offense improves.