Sunday’s game always has such a big impact on my mood for the week, and yesterday’s was yucky. Adding insult to injury was two of the first games with late starts going four hours. So I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty wrecked today. But one of the things that’s useful about these week-in-review pieces is that they force you to consider bigger chunks. And looking back at this week, we got two thrilling victories against the red-assed Astros to take the first series in Houston since 2018 and added to it with a Dylan Moore walk-off in a game where the Mariners came back late twice. The highs have rarely been higher.
Record for the week:
Seattle didn’t have the lead often this week, but they pulled it together in time often enough to go .500 on the week.
That feels right for a .500 week.
Player of the week:
By WAR, WPA, and wRC+, the best player this week was J.P. Crawford, who went 9 for 28 with two doubles, more walks than strikeouts, and two stolen bases. Cal Raleigh also warrants a mention, as he’s been the main character this week, riding his first stretch where he’s looked like he belongs in the bigs. And yet, the Player of the Week was LL-favorite Penn Murfee, who covered four innings with five strikeouts, just one walk, one hit, and zero runs allowed. Scott’s been shy about using Murfee in high-leverage spots, but if he keeps this up, it’s only a matter of time.
Play of the week:
There are a lot of options in a week like this. We could go with Dylan Moore’s walk-off hit from Saturday (or J.P. Crawford’s execution of the Gatorade bath during the post-game interview, wherein he sent the cooler into orbit). We also had a star-worthy sliding catch from Julio on Tuesday. Or maybe you want to pick any of the five times Seattle caught José Altuve on the basepaths like a nincompoop. But I think the play of the week was this catch from Jesse Winker.
Now that’s less impressive than some of those other plays, but the reason it’s the play of the week is that this felt like the week where the mood lifted across the fan base. Yesterday notwithstanding, the fun is back, and this play encapsulates that more than any other this week.
At-bat of the week:
Could it be anything else?
Julio’s opposite-field home run immediately following the benches-clearing incident was the highest Mariners high I’ve felt all year. This inspired an entire About Last Night from Eric, which I’m just going to quote from:
I mean, truly the best possible outcome given the situation. The Astros threw at France, who is currently in 5th place in hits in the AL, the benches cleared and angry, awkward vibes were abundant. The environment was hostile. Who steps in to immediately make the Astros pay for their arrogance? None other than the Mariners’ top prospect and budding star center fielder, Julio Rodríguez. Some of the most instant gratification we can experience as baseball fans. That’s rising to meet the moment in a way we are not used to seeing that often, as Mariners fans.
This home run was so spectacular, so perfectly timed, so vibrant that I’m giving Julio a special, off-recap Sun Hat Award for it.
Nemesis of the week:
The obvious candidate is Héctor Neris, Jason Castro, or anyone else involved in Monday’s beanball, but I’m disinclined to give this to anyone who’s committed actual sins. Maybe Isabelle disagrees, but as I read it, this is meant to highlight more light-hearted transgressions or exceptional play from an opponent. In that spirit, this is going to Seattle-born Bobby Dalbec, who had two late inning homers in the Boston series. These hits combined for 61% of added win probability for Boston.
Favorite Mariners content:
I don’t have a clip of Angie Mentink talking with Mike Cameron after Saturday’s walk-off, but trust me, it was terrific. Here at Lookout Landing, Kate met the moment with exactly the recap that Monday’s game needed and followed it up with an ode to Dylan Moore’s defense the following day. Now, Kate’s a modest leader, so I’m sure she’d demur, but during the ninth inning on Monday, the rest of the staff were all talking about how glad we were that she was on the recap for that game. Shay’s recap from Wednesday was also just right, riffing on Mike Cameron’s successful sage burning.
Favorite thing I ate while watching/listening to a game:
The best thing about moving close to a Trader Joe’s is that I’ve had a chance to re-discover everything in their frozen-foods aisle. During Sunday’s day game, I checked out their Hold the Cone ice cream treats. Let me tell you, these things are perfect. There’s a layer of chocolate between the cone and the ice cream, adding both texture and flavor. And as someone who’s not great at knowing how much ice cream to scoop, I appreciate that one cone is exactly the right amount. All this with just seven grams of sugar, which is frankly hard to believe. If anyone’s got the hookup with Trader Joe Corporate, please tell them I am eager and able to do #sponcon.
Bold prediction for next week:
Covering for Isabelle last week, Kate cheated and gave a prediction for the entire homestand rather than for the week, so it’s too soon to say how that turned out. But she also predicted that things would not go well in Houston, which was a double-whammy in that it was neither a bold prediction nor correct!
My bold prediction for this week is that Ken Giles joins the team and faces the minimum in each appearance.
The long homestand continues. First the Twins come to town for three, bouyed by Byron Buxton’s return from the IL. They’ll be followed by the Angels, who the Mariners somehow haven’t played yet, for an absurd five-game series. On the upcoming-games segments of the broadcasts, Dave Sims has spent a couple weeks hyping the importance of that series. And he’s not wrong. Fortunately, the Mariners might be catching Anaheim at the perfect time, as their 14-game losing streak brought them crashing back to earth. A sizeable contingent of the Lookout Landing staff will be in the left-field bleachers for the double header on Saturday to celebrate Jacob Parr’s birthday. Come say hello!
This week in Mariners history:
With the gut punch of Canó’s suspension still aching and the Ohtani bitterness still fresh in our mouths, the Mariners swept the Angels from June 11-13 in 2018. It brought the team’s playoff odds up to 73.4%, one of just 36 days that FanGraphs has had the Mariners playoff odds higher than 70% in the entire history of the website. Mitch Haniger walking off the final game in the rain as the roof closed was the emotional apex of the year, maybe the decade. I could watch this clip forever.