Action is exciting. It’s marketable. It gets the blood pumping. Above all, it’s memorable. We all vividly remember key, exciting moments in Mariners history. I mean, I just have to say “The Double” and you all know exactly what I’m talking about.
I would argue, however, that there is tremendous virtue in the quiet and contemplative. In our busy, overworked, and overconnected modern lives, we rely on quiet nights to recharge. My personal favorite Star Trek episodes are the courtroom dramas and morality plays, episodes where there isn’t much action. Before bed I spend 30 minutes reading a book and drinking tea. Maybe I’m just boring, but I find tremendous joy in quiet personal time.
Which is why I enjoyed tonight’s boring game. Despite the FOX Sports hosts desperately trying to make this game exciting, it just wasn’t. It was, however, a perfect example of solid, fundamental baseball, and a thorough dismantling of a team leading their division.
I think as Mariners fans, we’re still getting used to the idea that this team and beat up on good teams. We did not have to wait long to be reminded, however, as Ty launched this one high over the massive wall in left field to give the M’s an early 1-0 lead.
That lead, of course, never went away thanks to the shutout, but to make a game really quiet we need some insurance runs. It looked like we were all set for another laugher when, in the second, the M’s loaded the bases with just one out, and Ty coming to the plate. He popped out on the first pitch, though. Haniger was able to make it up by walking on four pitches and forcing Cal home. Eugenio followed that up with a 99 mph liner that was unfortunately gobbled up by Jose Ramirez.
We had to wait all the way until the fifth inning for the Mariners to score again, when three straight walks loaded the bases for Cal Raleigh, who continued his good form by smoking a ball into right that was hit so hard that Jesse had to hold up at third to see if it would drop or not.
The next batter, J.P. looked at four straight balls to make the count 3-1 (*cough* robo umps pls *cough), fouled off a couple more, and then took ball four, making the score 4-0, and tagging Guardians pitcher Xzavion Curry for his second bases loaded walk of the night.
That was that for the M’s offense, save an Adam Frazier single in the 7th that he undid by getting caught stealing at 2nd. Four runs in a game is good, but leaving 10 runners stranded is not. Lobsters have been frequently caught in the Mariners’ nets. Going forward, as the team looks to make a big push for the wild card, they’re going to have to keep the pressure on and cash in on bases loaded situations for more than a single run.
So what about pitching? Well, going into this one I was slightly apprehensive of Robbie “fastball” Ray facing off against the swing-happy Guardians, but I am happy to report that my concerns were mostly unwarranted. Robbie wasn’t really able to get whiffs, especially on his slider, but he was able to throw strikes, for better and for worse.
He walked 0 Cleveland hitters over his 6 innings of work, but he did give up 6 base hits. Much like the bar across the street from campus, all were desperate singles. Robbie was able to trust the highly-touted defense playing behind him and it all worked out. He got himself into trouble in the bottom of the 5th inning, but, crucially, unlike the Robbie Ray of April and May, he was able to work himself out of it, capping it off with a swinging strikeout of Tyler Freeman.
The bullpen, as always, was nails, although in a couple aspects they put my “this game wasn’t exciting” thesis in risk. The first way was this awesome play by Matt Brash that I could watch forever.
This play is a thing of beauty pic.twitter.com/6PUu6Nl9uA— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 4, 2022
Matt threw the ball more accurately in this play than he does on the mound. The second way the game got a little exciting was in the 9th, when Paul Sewald let the Guardians begin to flirt with a comeback. With two outs and two on, the FOX broadcasters began to suggest that Cleveland could bring this one back, as 4 runs is only a grand slam away. Thankfully, Myles Straw hit one softly in the air, and Mitch was there to haul it in and end the game. Not that exciting after all.
Of special note tonight is the Mariners defense. Since the pitching tonight only combined for four strikeouts, the M’s had to rely on their defense. That defense is one of the best in baseball, though, so they were totally fine. Defense is arguably the most important aspect of the game, so seeing the team perform excellently there is a good sign.
As the wild, rabies infected animal of college football gets started this week, I think games like this are a perfect reminder of why we like baseball. Crucial homers and plays at the plate are fun, but our sport is generally more methodical, more mechanical than that. Less drinking game, more board game. Less battle royale, more management game.
Sometimes, when we’re tired after a long week of work or school, a cozy Mariners win is the best thing in the world.