For no particular reason that has nothing to do with the Mariners’ schedule, I’ve had the Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone musical 1776 bouncing around in my head the past couple of days. The 1969 Broadway musical is about the Continental Congress in the month of June 1776. It centers around the Declaration Committee, the congressmen who drafted the Declaration of Independence, but mostly John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.
Set almost entirely in the Pennsylvania State House, Philadelphia itself is a character in the story. All of the congressmen, except Franklin, of course, complain about missing their families and being far from home. In the second song in the play, John Adams, after storming out of congress, complains about being stuck with a group that does nothing but “piddle, twiddle, and resolve in foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy Philadelphia.”
Piddling and twiddling is a good way to describe the Mariners lineup in today’s morning game. After the back-and-forth nature of last night’s contest and the discomfort of sleeping in an unfamiliar city, the hitters were seemingly unprepared to deal with the Philly ace of... checking my notes it seems like it was Matt Strahm, the most average of all pitchers.
A Mariners lineup looking very solid at the start of the game but only putting together 3 hits across a full nine innings is nothing new or even remarkable, but the surprising thing about today is where the hits came from. Not from leadoff man Julio, or the flaming-hot Jarred, or even Ty or Eugenio. Instead, Tom Murphy roped a double and a single, and Tommy La Stella, opening day DH, snuck in a soft line drive for a single. Murphy was even close to another hit (.810 xBA) but ended up lining out. 3 hits were resolved, but nothing was solved.
If we want to look for Mariners highlights today, then we have to look towards today’s pitching, which was totally handled by George Kirby, who threw 8 complete innings (on just 89 pitches) for the first time in his major league career. He played the (worlds smallest) violin for the Philadelphia hitters today, getting 7 strikeouts and giving up just one “walk” (his second of the year). He did give up the one run on a Nick Castellanos/Kody Clemens run-and-hit that worked out perfectly for the Phillies.
This is normally the space where I would put a compilation of George’s strikeouts to give you something nice to look at, but the cool, cool, considerate men over at MLB have decided not to post the clips.
So where do we go from here? Well, we’re still waiting for the egg of Julio’s brilliance to hatch for this year, and we’re still looking sharp towards getting back to a .500 record. This month of April has so far been frustrating, despite ultimately being fine. Jarred, J.P., Julio, and Eugenio are all on pace for at least 5 fWAR, with Ty and Teoscar not far behind. The team is not bad, but they’re not playing together.
Of course, just like the signer’s of the Declaration, they need to be united in their purpose. If not they will lose separately as often as they lose together.
But I don’t see that happening. To return to 1776, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I see fireworks. I see the pageant and pomp and parade. I fully expect this team to get it together and go on a streak.
Of course, that will make these losses even more frustrating, as the M’s later have to fight tooth and nail for every win. April games count just as much as September games, and these one-run losses are beginning to stack up. Are these Mariners somehow fundamentally different than they were in 2021 and 2022, or, just like those teams are they yet-again setting us up with a tough early season to make the ending more dramatic. Only time will tell.