It’s often easy to forget that baseball players are just like us. They eat, they breathe, and they can even make poor decisions (see: Julio annoying his coworker, Jesse, in the 3rd game of the season).
Sure, there’s a lot that separates professional baseball players from us plebes, like, say, a few million dollars worth of separation — but ultimately, they’re just like us.
Sometimes they even move far away for a new job. Like, Toronto-to-Seattle far away.
And just like us, sometimes it takes them a little while to get adjusted to their new job. After all, their mind is processing so many new things all at once which include, but are not limited to:
Having to tell your spouse that you’re moving, having to tell your kids that you’re moving, finding a new home to live in, moving, adjusting to a new home, adjusting to a new city, adjusting to a new office, adjusting to your new coworkers, adjusting to your new managers, adjusting to your new boss, having to find a new favorite bagel place and the process of having to try sooooo many new places before you find the right one.
That’s all to say that when the Mariners signed reigning Cy Young-winner Robbie Ray during this past off-season, he had a lot of ground to cover before he even threw his first pitch in a Seattle uniform.
The almighty THEY say that it takes anywhere between 30-90 days to adjust to a new job. Luckily, baseball is KWEEN when it comes to analytics so we can see just how much of an adjustment is made during that period. Let’s look at the 2021 stats that the Mariners shelled out for:
Here’s how Robbie’s first 70-or-so days went with the Mariners:
As philosopher, Shaggy Rogers, would say, “ZOINKS.”
This doesn’t paint the whole picture, but, it’s clear to see that he changed for the worse like a best friend during summer break before going into high school.
Hello, Robbie, my old friend
Prior to today’s game, I have covered Robbie Ray twice before. One win, one loss (but the start against the Mets felt like a loss) — those being the time when he imploded in New York and the time when he didn’t heed warnings and pitched like he drank the dirty water in Boston.
So going into today I was hoping third time was going to be the charm and OH BABY THIRD TIME WAS DEFINITELY CHARM LET’S GOOOOOOOOOO.
As @MarinersPR twote (it’s a word, screw you spellcheck) during the game today, Robbie Ray has been on absolute dumped-kerosene-on-my-cheating-boyfriends-clothes-and-set-that-bitch-on-fire-à la-a-country-song fire.
Robbie Ray has posted a 0.80 ERA (3 ER, 33.2 IP) with 9 walks and 40 strikeouts over his last 5 starts dating back to June 12.— Mariners PR (@MarinersPR) July 3, 2022
Third time’s the charm
Since I’ve already spent ample time talking about Robbie, I’ll keep this section short and sweet.
The ol’ sport pitched his ass off today, collecting a season-high 12 strikeouts and not allowing a run until his 107th pitch. All while dealing with this:
the non gender specific urge to jump through the TV and clip off this one stubborn cowlick on Robbie Ray pic.twitter.com/wz2dHdZ6Ol— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 3, 2022
If anyone knows of a good barber in the Seattle area, please drop their name in the comment section below.
Girls Julio just wann(st)a have fun
The List: Ichiro (9x), Dustin Ackley, J.P. Crawford
The Honor: Mariners to hit a home run on their first pitch of the game
And after today’s game, nay, after today’s first pitch, Julio can join those notable names (one, who I will not name, is infamously notable).
That’s right, Julio was trotting the bases well before most fans had made it out of the food line and found their seats. It’s in his destiny to not waste any time, he’s a Capricorn, after all.
Our sweet summer prince isn’t completely perfect, though. No, sometimes he makes a mistake. Today he made one, but only by mere inches, when he overshot the bag by a teeeeeeeeensy bit and was called out at 3rd. See below:
While he may not be perfect, he’s perfect to us (heart eye emoji).
Uh, everyone else
If the bats in the Mariners dugout had to suddenly be transported to the Trauma Center at Gray-Sloan Memorial Hospital, Dr. Owen Hunt (in a perfect world it would be Dr. April Kepner) would declare them DOA — dead on arrival.
The offense wasn’t just sleepy today, the offense clearly took way too much melatonin last night and hadn’t been able to shake off the post-sleep grogginess. Two hits by Eugenio Suárez and one hit by Dylan Moore — all singles — were the only specks of light in the lineup. Luckily, that was all we needed.
The story was a little bit different over on the pitching side. After Robbie Ray left in the 7th, Andrés Muñoz and Paul Sewald took over for the remaining 2.1 innings and didn’t disappoint, each having a combined 4 strikeouts and 0 runs of their own.
Them guys over there
Right, it takes two teams to play a game, totally forgot.
In what could’ve been Frankie Montas’ final game as an Athletic became even more plausible after he exited after pitching only one inning. Despite our calls in the Lookout Landing SLLack channel, he was not traded, but rather, got hurt.
In the end, Kate was right. He was pulled for an apparent boo-boo.
Austin Pruitt came in to be a pal and pitch some innings for his dearly departed (not dead, just in the clubhouse) teammate. In 4.1 innings, Pruitt struck out nearly half the batters he faced (6) and only came out after surrendering a run to Seattle.
I’d like to say the A’s had a sleepier lineup, having only 4 hits to the Mariners’ 5, but theirs were more evenly spread out. Ramón Laureano, Sean Murphy, Elvis Andrus, and the guy with the coolest name in baseball Skye Bolt were able to each collect a hit. Unfortunately, for them, that only counted for one (1) run, that being the home run from Andrus that came at the very, very, very end of Robbie Ray’s day.
As Mariners fans we’re used to excellent pitching performances accompanied by an offense in the witness protection program. Good pitching hasn’t often gone together with good batting for hurlers donning the Mariners’ Northwest Green, Sunday Alternates, or any other uniform combo. And today was no exception, but the difference of today’s game is that we had just enough offense to seal a win and it all came from one player — Julio.
Without Julio, the offense we saw today was limited to two (2) hits by Eugenio Suárez and one (1) hit by Dylan Moore. All singles.
We were so close to having another lopsided performance, so-freaking-close.
And yet, we didn’t. And yet, Julio stopped that from happening. This is the difference-maker we’ve been waiting for. This is the player we’ve been waiting with bated breath for. And he’s here. And he’s extraordinary.