I had a really fun ‘lil recap theme set for tonight’s game. Fun by my estimation anyway. You all could have been the judges of that, but instead the Mariners thought they’d have some fun of their own by shuffling to the end of the tightrope and taking one final, playful leap to reach the other side. Instead, with just inches to go, their foot slipped while jumping and rather than propelling themselves to safety, they went flailing off the side and splashed into the Tequila Sunrise-colored waters below.
They kept it tantalizingly close all night. Logan Gilbert looked better than he has in recent outings, striking out five and giving up two runs in a short-leash, 4.1 innings of work. And though the bullpen held it together for the next four plus innings, thanks to scoreless appearances from Anthony Misiewicz, Drew Steckenrider and Diego Castillo, the back-to-back days of heavy relief work at the tail end of a relief-heavy season seemed to take their toll on Paul Sewald (two-run home run to Alex Bregman in the ninth) and Yohan Ramirez (Carlos Correa ground-rule double in the 10th). Sewald, who seems likely to top his single-season career-high innings count this year, didn’t have full control of his slider tonight, and faced a team that’s been actively working to solve their “Paul Sewald problem.”
The offense, as they have for much of this season, did the absolute bare minimum to help their pitching compatriots. Kyle Seager homered for the 34th time this year, J.P. Crawford and Luis Torrens drove in a run each, and the bottom third of the lineup tottered off to check out that shiny thing in the corner. The blowout loss last night stunk, but tonight - particularly when they had an opportunity to gain real ground in the Wild Card race - felt far worse.
Some how, some way, we’re nearing the end of the 2021 season. I know that soon I’ll be yearning for Mariners baseball again, so I’m trying to appreciate each game that we have, but shoulda-coulda-woulda disappointments like tonight make it difficult. Beyond their record and the playoff standings, I personally had really hoped for a good one tonight. It’s been a tough stretch and some nights you just really need that W, ya know?
But on the bright side, tomorrow is another day. So I’ll leave you with the words of Mr. Slinger and the great Kevin Henkes: “Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better.”