Escapism gets a bad rap because well, it’s not the best way to deal with life’s problems at all times, but sometimes you just need to rocket up out of your sphere of consciousness and retreat into a world where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. Recapping back-to-back one-run, frustrating Mariners losses has propelled me into this sphere, so move over, Disney adults, readers of fantasy books the size of doorstops, King Ludwig II, and other lovers of escapism, because today we’re talking about Easton McGee and nothing but Easton McGee.
Okay, for the sake of completion, here’s the bad stuff. You are totally welcome—encouraged, even—to skip these paragraphs and live entirely in a world where Easton McGee is granted a well-deserved first MLB win. That is your prerogative and frankly I think it’s beautiful. If you want to skip ahead without reading any of the bad stuff, just scroll down here until you see a picture of Easton McGee looking like he’s in the middle of a hostage situation that’s about to go sideways. But unfortunately in a non-fantasyland, the Mariners somehow struck out even more times than they did yesterday, an already unfathomable 15 times: a somehow-even-more-unfathomable 19 times, coming just shy of a club record.
To be fair, Kevin Gausman was somehow even more excellent than he usually is, finding a couple extra mph on his pitches against the team that ended Toronto’s playoff hopes last year. But also to be fair: NINETEEN TIMES. Even more frustratingly, the Mariners squandered their two best opportunities for scoring in this game. In the first, Jarred and Eugenio were aboard only to have Cal Raleigh and Teoscar Hernández strike out (Cal’s was a “strikeout” to be fair) to end the inning. To their credit, the Mariners kept the pressure on in the second, but again with two outs; Tom Murphy singled, Sam Haggerty walked, and then with Julio up in a 3-0 count, Murphy got picked off second to end the inning, an inexcusable mistake that cost the team their best scoring opportunity of the day, as Gausman settled in after that, disposing of the Mariners quickly thereafter.
With the Mariners unable to score against Gausman, they again faced the teeth of the Blue Jays’ bullpen, with heroic work by the Mariners’ pitching staff again going squandered as the offense went goose eggs against Zach Pop, Jordan Romano, and old friend Erik Swanson, who earned the win against his former team as he shut the Mariners out even with the gift of the Manfred Runner on base. Trevor Gott was the Mariner pitcher who gave up the run, but we’re not mad at him.
Okay! That’s all the bad stuff I th—oh wait. There was also this.
Julio Rodriguez left with lower back tightness— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) April 29, 2023
Servais said postgame he doesn’t believe it’s serious, but don’t freak out if you don’t see Julio in the lineup tomorrow with an off-day on Monday.
Okay. THAT’S ALL the bad stuff. I just—oh wait there’s this one last thing you should know. With today’s loss, the Mariners are now 3-9 in one-run games. That’s the worst mark in baseball.
OKAY. Everyone who skipped ahead, come back!
Here is Easton McGee! I told you everything I know about him way back in January, but we have some new information about him now. No, not about the fact that he carried a perfect game into the fifth inning or a no-hitter into the seventh inning; I’m talking about the fact that he has a case of RSF not seen since the days of Big Sad Sadface James Paxton.
Easton McGee is through five scoreless in his first ever MLB start, not that you’d be able to tell as he has one of the most severe cases of RSF (Resting Sad Face) we’ve seen since James Paxton’s Mariner days pic.twitter.com/gTimV9YdmG— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) April 29, 2023
The book on McGee was that he was a low-strikeout/high-command weak-contact master who gets a ton of groundballs, and he was about as advertised: just two strikeouts but just one walk, nine groundouts and five flyouts, and he threw 70% of his pitches for strikes, working ahead of batters and getting the aggressive Blue Jays lineup to make a ton of weak contact.
Easton McGee pitches by inning:— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) April 29, 2023
Matt Chapman broke up his no-hitter in the seventh, because of course it was Matt Chapman, with a double, which was the only extra-base hit of this game. Chapman was also the one who cost McGee a perfect game in the fifth, working a walk in one of McGee’s rare three-ball counts. It was a great performance, and a delightful reminder that while this team has been very frustrating to watch offensively, they continue to just uncover fringe arms cast aside by other front offices and help them unlock something new, whether that be in the bullpen or in a spot start like this. Also, suck it, Red Sox Fansided site:
I have had this saved on my desktop titled "save this in case Easton McGee is good" since the off-season, NOW IS MY TIME TO SHINE pic.twitter.com/OrFSz11bch— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) April 29, 2023
You know who else is known for developing stellar pitching? That’s right.
So congratulations to Easton McGee, who in my retconning of this game, won his first ever MLB start (and second ever MLB game). If you need me, I’ll be drinking this piña colada and getting caught in the rain.