Mistakes are inevitable. If we’re really lucky, they’re not catastrophic. Part of how we reconcile mistakes, big or small, is by rationalizing them as learning opportunities. It’s something I struggle with in lessons often, tying to find that balance between giving students the freedom to safely make some mistakes - because the lessons learned from mistakes tend to have a far greater impact than me hollering the same platitudes over and over - while also keeping them safe in proximity of a 1,200 pound animal.
But sometimes the mistakes we make have no tidy learning points. Or, at least, they fail to teach us anything new. Those are the toughest ones to swallow, the mistakes we already knew to avoid but simply could not.
This series against the Royals falls into that type of mistake. We’ve watched the Mariners fall flat on their faces at so many high-stakes opportunities, but are powerless to stop it. The M’s themselves, while certainly not powerless, seem uniquely flabbergasted by the prospect of playing past September and thus inclined towards these get-wrong disaster theories a la Lollablueza and Deadgar Weekend (fear not, John Trupin is workshopping a catchy nom de gloom for this series as we speak).
In an effort to scavenge meaning in this wasteland time warp of failure, though, I’ve assembled a few lessons from today for posterity’s sake. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.
Lesson #1: Do not throw a single strike to Salvador Pérez. I mean it. No more pitches in the zone to Salvy. Just don’t.
With this two-run blast, the Royals backstop has a four-game home run streak, is second in all of baseball for home runs in 2021 (pending a Vladito dinger this evening) and has officially tied Carlton Fisk’s single-season record for homers by a catcher.
Lesson #2: If you’re Jarred Kelenic, don’t swing at the high fastballs. (Conversely, spoiler to other teams: Throw Jarred high fastballs.)
Lesson #3: That late-inning extra run allowed will always, always come back to bite you.
They still lost by two today, but back-to-back doubles from Luis Torrens and Mitch Haniger in the ninth would have carried more weight had they pushed them to a one-run game.
Lesson #4: More isn’t always better when it comes to number of catchers in a lineup.
The M’s ran out all three of their catchers in the starting lineup tonight. Sure, Kansas City starter Daniel Lynch is a lefty, but at this point I’d honestly rather watch Kyle Seager in a lefty-lefty matchup than Tom Murphy in, well, any situation.
Lesson #5: Aces get all the love, but the quiet competency of a Tyler Anderson-esque starter who can carry his team through six or seven innings and keep the game within reach is a magnificent gift.
Lesson #6: The RISP Goblin comes for us all.
The Mariners get a run on a Luis Torrens double in the ninth, but the Royals hang on for a 4-2 victory.— Corey Brock (@CoreyBrockMLB) August 28, 2021
The Mariners have stranded 34 runners on base in the first three games of this series.