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The Seattle Mariners, and The Horrible Houston Happening

Or, The Seattle Mariners and A Series of Unfortunate Road Games

MLB: MAY 04 Mariners at Astros
Surprisingly, this image is actually from one of the few bright spots in the game
Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you are interested in baseball games with happy endings, then you would be better off somewhere else. In today’s game, not only was there no happy ending, there was no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. It is my solemn duty to bring to light the sorry story of the Brash start, as it happened mere hours ago. But you in the fandom have no such obligation, and I would advise all our readers to turn away immediately and read or watch something more pleasant instead.

This game recap will be dreadful, melancholy and calamitous, a word here which means “dreadful and melancholy and not nearly enough offense”. That is because not very many happy things happen in the lives of the Seattle Mariners, and by extension, their fans.

Matt Brash is an, at times, brilliant pitcher. Filthy and resourceful, he has pleasant breaking movement, but he is also extremely unlucky. Most everything that happened to him was rife with misfortune, misery and despair. His dreadful affair was one that lasted only a mere three innings, and was perilously plagued by four walks, and four runs allowed on only six hits. The three strikeouts he induced did very little to turn around the sorry state of things. I’m sorry to tell you this... but that’s how his game went.

A series of unfortunate pitch selection
Baseball Savant

The Seattle Mariners play their home games in a stadium nestled in the south of downtown of a beautiful city overlooking a shimmering body of water, and one day their schedule rather unfortunately asked them to take their team with a rickety offense on the road to Houston. “Rickety” is a word here which means “unsteady” or “likely to collapse at any moment.”

Interestingly, given the definition of the word “equality”, things being equal does not equate to them being fair. Fairness is of course more subjective than objective, but in my opinion even though Matt Brash and Justin Verlander were equal in their strikeouts with three apiece, it would be unfair to say they were equal in any way other than that. Of the mere five hits that Verlander surrendered over 6.2 innings, only one time did a runner advance to scoring position. Whether this was due merely to Verlander’s resilience and talent, or solely to the Mariners’ recent ineptitude at producing runs, or some horrendously serendipitous combination of both, cannot be known with certainty.

What is known is that the Mariners only produced two runs in today’s affair when Eugenio Suárez absolutely crushed the baseball Verlander delivered to him in the third at bat at the top of the 7th inning. In this case, “crushed” means “buried under the weight of the lack of any other runs being scored in this game.” It was a brief moment of fortune that J.P. Crawford had himself singled and was on base in order to supplement a run to this moment, but only so much as if you allow something to be considered fortunate if it ultimately amounts to being meaningless.

It is here that I feel compelled to remind you that this is a tale with no elation to be found, no unexpected twist of fortune, and the few heroes to be found either fell themselves to unfortunate fate, or their heroic efforts were in vain in such a way that you can only pity that they made any effort at all. I give you this warning in this moment because I also feel compelled to tell you of Penn Murfee’s role in today’s game.

Niko Goodrum was left Niko BadLooking at this Murfee pitch

You might be tempted to feel joy at discovering that Murfee faced the minimum amount of batters over two innings today, striking out four of those six. Having seen these matchups myself I can graciously confirm that both the two swinging strikeouts and two called looking were indeed due to aforementioned heroic effort from the young Penn Murfee.

It would be understandable to feel the teasing temptation of hope at seeing a young pitcher so utterly fool a batter like Gurriel, who has experienced the taste of victory on stages of grandeur no Seattle Mariners team has ever known.

You would be within reason to allow yourself to quell any residing uneasiness at seeing rising star Kyle Tucker fall under a rising pitch at the top of the zone.

And you would be within your rights to revel in awe at Murfee having struck out the side by getting Aledmys Díaz to freeze in shock and awe himself at a pitch that perfectly found the bottom of the strike zone.

The moments Murfee was on the mound were indeed heroic, but memory and time are cruel mistresses and soon that effort too is likely to be lost under an ocean of memories and time, many of them likely as unforgiving as the actual ocean is to any individual swept away by it.

I, of course, wish Penn Murfee well on his voyage but forgive me if I find myself unable to bear any optimism of that journey finding a shore that bears any ground for the journey the Seattle Mariners now find themselves on. A journey that thus far led them to achieve only two wins against seven losses on this most recent road trip, ending in a miserable sweeping at the hands of the division rival Houston Astros, and falling in a reflective 2-7 loss today. For all my warnings against optimism, of which I will not recede, I must admit my own ineptitude at predicting the future. While it is especially easy, as a Mariners fan, to expect the worst to happen, I make no claims at any such prescience. Perhaps a return to their home stadium. located on the South end of a beautiful city overlooking shimmering waters. is exactly the change in setting that will also produce a change in fortunes for the beleaguered Seattle Mariners. Perhaps all cannot be lost when there is still so much being found. Only time will tell.