What do you think the Mariners are going to talk about on their plane ride back to Seattle tonight? The TV shows they’re watching? What the weather will be like for this upcoming seven-game homestand? Why furniture is so expensive? How the name Peggy is somehow short for Margaret? And how do airplanes even work, man?
If they’re not openly talking about it, several players are at least thinking about the fact that they’ll have two new teammates when they touch down. With news breaking today that prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert will make their MLB debuts on Thursday, today’s Mariner game felt a bit like a Christmas Eve where all the presents are in plain sight, just hidden behind thin layers of wrapping paper. If you already have the presents, why can’t we just play with them now?
You can’t just play with them now, the Mariners’ parents answered, because of arbitrary dates. You have to wait until the super two deadline passes, a penny-pinching front office’s version of Christmas Day. Luckily for the Mariners – a team that could have used Kelenic and Gilbert yesterday, the day before, and the day before that – their baseball parents will act like everything is well and good and they fixed the family as soon as tomorrow morning rolls around. I can already here Jerry Dipoto talking about how “fired up” and/or “ecstatic” he is to finally call up good players to a roster that needed them a month ago.
Watching the Mariners get sent down in order for the first four innings, windmilling at arm-side changeups from a lefthanded pitcher, was all too familiar. Exactly one week ago, they were doing the same thing against John Means, this one just happened to be a fun remix. It was a space we’ve occupied before, just with slight variations, creating a feeling sort of like sitting in the backseat of your own car. While Justin Dunn did his best to spackle holes in the levee, it inevitably burst in the fourth inning. Dunn’s number one hater, the menacing base on balls, stole his lunch money again. Walks to Justin Turner and Max Muncy led off the inning, and both players would later score on a Matt Beaty double.
Dunn was somewhat curiously pulled after that. He threw just 72 pitches over 3.1 innings, and his manager’s quick hook put even more stress on an already-taxed bullpen. The one who was most rested, a Will Vest that we hadn’t seen in four days, made things three times worse. While he was able to get out of the fourth inning without allowing any of Dunn’s leftover runners to score, and even retired Mookie Betts and Corey Seager to begin the fifth, the Dodgers then made like Josh Nichols on his way to work and took out the vest*.
*I am a professional writer
And then, like, I got bored. Didn’t want to watch anymore. But I must, as we have millions of readers that are counting on me. Sure, the game was on in the background, and I listened to Aaron Goldsmith explain the concept of food to Mike Blowers, but I was not paying any attention, babes. Instead, I stared into the middle distance, talked to my friends about the inspiring career arc of juggalos, and wondered what the MLB record for most weakly-hit groundballs is. The 2021 Mariners have gotta be carving out a VIP section in that club pretty soon.
Speaking of which, y’all should really see the MLB.com home page right now.
IT’S A JARRED KELENIC EXCLUSIVE PARTY!
GIRLS GET IN FREE, GUYS $5 AT THE DOOR
CHEESE CURDS AND SELF CONFIDENCE WILL BE SERVED
PRESENTED BY JK PRODUCTIONS
It is pretty stunning to see Major League Baseball roll out the red carpet for anyone like that, especially someone who’s yet to play a single game, let alone a SEATTLE MARINER. Given the illustrious history of the team, there is no possible way that this picture could be saved for eternal dunking on the Mariner franchise. Nope, nu-uh, no way that will happen.
Tomorrow’s game will be demonstrably more exciting by the time the lineup card is written. It is very fitting that Kelenic and Gilbert arrive just as the team dips below .500, which will both give them a true to the blue Mariner experience, but also better exemplify how bad this team is. Kelenic can obviously use just one of the nine lineup spots, and Gilbert will probably only pitch one out of six games, but oh my god do we need some fresh blood in here. Right now, each game feels more like a conveyor belt to the ninth inning than an actual competitive affair, as the Mariners are mostly going through the motions, in need of a jolt in the worse possible way. If that seems harsh, consider that the M’s have been outscored 90-66 since winning 12 of their first 19 games, and it somehow feels like it should be uglier than that.
Oh yeah, the Mariners lost 7-1 tonight. I was genuinely shocked when they got their first hit. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your lives, Jarred and Logan! The summers here are gorgeous.