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The Mariners’ steering wheel flies off in 14–9 loss

Did the game really end if everybody stopped watching?

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the thing: If you’re reading this recap tonight, you’re probably not looking for a blow-by-blow account of exactly how the wheels came off the wagon tonight.

Do you really want to remember just how great you felt when Eugenio Suárez hit a just-over-the-wall dinger in the first inning to get the M’s out to a 2–0 lead? Or when seven out of eight hitters reached base in the second inning, en route to chasing Cubs starter Hayden Wesneski? You were flying high then, up seven-zip, leaving work as the sun shined and without a care in the world.

No, you’re here to wallow in the pain. Perhaps you’re here for a laugh, too, even if it’s dark comedy. So let’s lean into it. Enjoy, this miserable 14–9 loss in the form of I Think You Should Leave quotes.

“A good steering wheel that doesn’t fly off when you’re driving” Award: Chris Flexen

All Ruben Rabasa wanted was to drive his car without the steering wheel flying off as he’s driving. Others are out here suggesting outlandish features — voice-activated lights, extra cupholders, excellent options in the 8th and 9th innings — but you need to be able to drive the car before you get to all those add-ons. What good is a lights-out reliever if your starting pitcher can’t get you to those late-game scenarios?

Chris Flexen, tonight, just did not have it. In 2.1 IP, he allowed 10 hits and walked a pair of batters, recording just a single strikeout. The worst moment was when Nelson Velázquez hit his seventh career homer, a grand slam, and gave the Cubs an 8–7 lead they would never relinquish.


Unfortunately, I fear that Kolten Wong has become the filthy table that Patti Harrison picked up in the sketch. It was supposed to arrive in great condition; after all, tables are her livelihood. Instead...what the hell did Eddie Munster do to this table? Did Kolten Wong go to a mud puddle and lose his ability to field (line drive that hit off his glove in the 5th) and hit (his 0–5 night plunged his season-long wRC+ to 27)? I know it’s early, but I’m officially worried.

“Gimme dat! Gimme dat! I’m jokin’!” Award: Cal Raleigh

I’m pretty sure Cal said this directly to the ump when he took this pitch, and somehow, home plate umpire Adrian Johnson took him seriously.

We’re all trying to find the guy who did this!” Award: Also Chris Flexen

Sorry, Chris...but a WPA of -0.55 means you get a couple different awards tonight.

“No, it does both. I was here yesterday and it actually goes both ways” Award: Tommy La Stella

I was rather rude to Tommy in the game thread, and I don’t mean to keep harping on this. But Tommy La Stella is not a good starting lineup option in 2023. He doesn’t go both ways, as evidenced by the fact that he currently doesn’t play in the field. And so far, he doesn’t even go one way, since his wRC+ is down to a microscopic –18 on the season. Yep, you read that right.

“His foot wasn’t stuck at all! He was just fakin’ it!” Award: Jarred Kelenic

Yes, yes, it’s early. But have we considered that Jarred Kelenic’s struggles last year may have been intentional, and that he was just faking it? Tonight felt like his Turbo Team audition, and I think he aced it. In the fourth inning, he took a middle-outside pitch and laced it to left-center at a scorching 107.2 MPH off the bat; in the seventh, he hit another ball at 107.2 MPH, missing a dinger by quite literally a foot. The underlying numbers are encouraging, the results are encouraging, everything is encouraging right now with JK.

It’s the adult tour, so we can say whatever the HELL we want!” Award: Everybody broadcasting this game tonight

I think apathy sunk in tonight, real quick. And as a result, I’m not sure if anybody was really watching in late innings. It’s always a delight to hear Dave Sims and Rick Rizzs banter about, but I’ll be honest, I don’t think I remember a single thing said by the commentators after the third inning.

He took his hat off and held his head in his hands. You could tell he was crying.” Award: Me

Watching this game was brutal. The Mariners, in Wrigley Field? That’s supposed to feel exciting and a little different than normal. Instead, it was painful to watch a lead slip away so suddenly, and to see the motions of the next few innings play out.

“I don’t want to be around anymore.” Award: Some reliever in the Mariners’ bullpen

This was the Mariners’ fifth game in five days, and with extra inning affairs on Sunday and Monday, they desperately needed Flexen to go deep into tonight’s contest. Instead, he couldn’t make it out of the third. I imagine they’ll call up somebody tomorrow, and someone like José Rodríguez (who pitched three innings tonight) could be on his way back to Tacoma.

“I don’t know if you’re allowed to do that” AND “One person can’t just eat all the fully loaded ones” Award: The Cubs

I’d really like to get a waiter to go up to the Cubs tomorrow and be real with them. C’mon guys, you’re not supposed to be a contender this year. I know it, you know it, we’re all on the same page here. Can’t you cool? We really don’t want to skip lunch and it sorta feels like our turn to get some fully loaded nachos. I know that restaurants don’t really have rules about who can eat what but....come on!


That’s all I got. The new season for I Think You Should Leave comes out at the end of May. Perhaps, by then, the Mariners will have turned things around and we’ll be laughing about this together. Or perhaps season 3 will inspire a recap in June. Either way, my current mood: