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Mariners burn sage, smoke the Astros with a game and series win

Astros get mad, Mariners get win.

Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros
High fives all around!
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The practice of smudging — or, burning sage — has been around longer than all of us, our grandparents, our great-grandparents, and even our great-great-great... *four hours later* great-great-great grandparents have been alive. The purpose of smudging is to cleanse a person or a space from negative energy, promote healing, wisdom, and longevity.

While some might brush off this ritual as some bull-honky, smudging has been found to improve cognition and moods, as well as aid in sleep,

After going 10-18 in the month of May after an 11-10 start to the season, the Mariners are looking to June to be the month where they right the ship. With the month starting with a 9-game road trip and a series in Houston (where the M’s have gone a combined 4-26 since 2018), it wasn’t going to be easy.

If you haven’t heard by now, the Mariners turned to an unlikely source to shake out that bad luck at Minute Maid Park.

Not for nothing, but back on May 29 while I was tweeting from the Lookout Landing Twitter account, Mike and I had this lovely exchange.

Yes, Mike, YAAAAS! I’m so here for the balancing of the energies.

Not only was this a fun blurb to read about before the start of the series, but it also seemed to have worked?

MLB: JUN 08 Mariners at Astros
Heave! Ho!
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Light the match

As Mariners fans, we’ve grown accustomed to pairing a great pitching performance with a supportive offense once in a blue moon, as a special treat. It’s almost as if the stars have had to align for both to happen concurrently.

A beautiful thing about Logan Gilbert is the way we’ve seen him grow as a pitcher since he made his MLB debut in May 2021. Take one peek at Mariners Twitter after. a loss and you’ll get a whiff that our fanbase isn’t the most patient bunch — and I get that, we’ve had to wait a longgggg time to feel like we’ve made progress towards being a winning team. Gilbert, on the other hand, has seemed to embrace the process and has shown in 2022 how staying the course can pay off (even with a few bumps here and there). At this point it’s almost like we’ve begun to trust our pitching again and can count on a solid start from this guy week-in and week-out.

Despite not having his best stuff tonight (he only managed to record 3 K’s, walked 3 batters, and gave up 7 hits), Gilbert was able to contain the worst part of the damage within the first 3 innings. Put an inexperienced pitcher into this role and they may have lost their concentration and continued to give up runs. Not Logan, not our guy Logan.

After tonight, Gilbert leads MLB with the most starts with 100+ pitches.

There’s something to be said for working inefficiently, but the way I see it is this: over 100 pitches allows a lot of opportunity for a meltdown and to maintain composure for that long shows mental toughness.

Was this Gilbert’s best start? Not by a country mile. But was this a solid start and did he do his job? Absolutely.

Burn the sage

Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros
Just going for a little jaunt in the park.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Okay, the second part about lining up a solid pitching performance with a supportive offense is uh, the offense part. We know we got the first part out of the way, so how did our 1-9 pitch in?

With determination, that’s how. I mean, they had to. In a story as old as time, the Mariners went down 1-0 after the 1st inning and then wasted a double that left Abraham Toro stranded like a Little Lost Boy in the 2nd.

At the top of the 3rd winning Seattle did what Seattle does best (and I’m not talking about that coffee) — they scored with 2 outs on the board. After Jesse Winker and Julio Rodríguez both worked a walk, JP Crawford strolled to the plate and telepathically told Winker “I got you, bro.” After smacking the ball to left field, the game was all tied up 1-1.

Bottom of the 3rd came and went and the Astros — save for Jose Altuve being tagged out for a second time today at home plate — looked like a formidable team that hey, maybe was going to give our guys a run for their money. But that only lasted for so long before the Mariners pulled ahead.

Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros
Sorry, sir, you do not have permission to score a run here.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Step 1: Beef Boy 2-run home run

Step 2: I see London, I see France...

Step 3: ??? (as in, how is this so adorable???)

Step 4: profit

As it turns out, this was all the Mariners needed to win tonight’s game. But don’t tell that to Adam Frazier who scored JP on a sacrifice fly in the 5th and Winker who scored Taylor Trammell in the 8th.

As I’ve said before, it doesn’t always feel like the Mariners are getting it right. But when the pitching and offense work in harmony to secure a win — giving us a 4th consecutive series victory — it’s not difficult to remember that this is what it looks like when pieces begin to fall into place.

Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros
Ow.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Rid the bad energy

I love baseball with (almost) every cell in my body. There’s even a sticky note on the fridge that says “Ways to make Shay happy: 1. anything and everything Mariners, 2. cats.”

I said almost, didn’t I?

Anyway, even with all this love I hold for this sport I still think it can be pretty ridiculous. Take the unwritten rules, for example.

For those unfamiliar, the unwritten rules are like little agreements about different aspects of the game (not running the score up too high in a blowout or not being too “showy” with your bat flips, for example) that will end with retaliation if broken. More often than not this retaliation comes in the form of hitting another batter of the “offending” team.

Only two days ago Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke about the “bad blood” between Houston and Seattle leading up to and following what Aaron Goldsmith today called a round of “fisticuffs” in Game 1 of this series after (another) Ty France hit-by-pitch.

As you can see in the graphic above the scorebug in the video tweet, the Mariners are up one run on the Astros in the top of the 9th with two outs before Hector Neris beans Ty France in the back due to whatever “bad blood” Baker was talking about.

Bro, (yes, bro), you decided NOW was the best time to avenge your team from someone breaking the silly little unwritten rules? Talk about punching down (until we’re over .500 this is definitely punching down).

No matter, because following that Julio blasted one to right field as a proverbial “I got your back” to his teammate getting beaned.

Which brings us back to tonight’s game.

It wasn’t enough for the Astros to hit Julio with a pitch once in the 6th inning, they also had to hit him again in the 8th. Which, as far as I could tell, was not met with a warning.

Perhaps I’ve burned enough sage in my lifetime (or maybe it’s the Lexapro), but it’s truly of my belief that revenge is best served ice cold in the results. Following Julio’s second HBP Seattle didn’t hit a player or slide tackle them or anything retaliatory like that. But what they did do was take home a game win and a 3rd series win against the Astros this year.

Astros get mad, Mariners get the win.