The thing about Mondays is Friday feels so far away, like impossibly far; Friday is one of those logic problems where the distance keeps halving and you get closer but never quite there. Friday I’m in love, but Monday I’m in a windowless room competing with Sisyphus for Employee of the Millennium.
It feels like that when the Mariners are mired in a losing stretch, too, a problem that deepened tonight as they dropped their fourth straight game of the young season, this time to the detestable Angels. It stinks because tonight felt like a winnable game, with promising starter George Kirby on the hill to make his season debut. But the Angels clearly spent the off-season plotting how to get by the Mariners in the AL West, and they looked ready for Kirby tonight—or at least as ready as one can be against a talent like Kirby. Kirby still collected a tremendous amount of swings and misses tonight—14, second among all starters in baseball today!—but the Angels were able to get bats on balls against him when it mattered most, led by former Mariner propsect Luis Rengifo, who loves nothing more than showing Jerry Dipoto the error of his ways in flipping him to the Rays for a pair of players who would never make significant contributions to the Mariners organization. Kind of like when your ex-coworker who got a way better job stops by the offense “just to say hi.” Ugh, go away, Matthew, we know, you’re thriving, it’s gross. Leave us to eat our sad ham sandwiches in the dimly lit breakroom in peace.
The worst part of Mondays is how they all feel the same, but just slightly different enough to where you can’t totally sleepwalk through them. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Mariners took an early 1-0 lead after Julio led off with a walk and a steal and then scored on an Eugenio Suárez double. That lead was immediately given back in the top of the second when Jake Lamb (et tu, Jake Lamb?) led off with a double, later to be plated by an aggressive, first-pitch-swinging Rengifo, who pounced on a Kirby curveball for an RBI single. Mondays! They’re the worst.
Groundhog Day-style, the cycle would repeat: the Mariners again went ahead 2-1, when Julio reached on an error by new Angels third baseman Gio Urshela that was so sloppy I thought Perry Hill might come out of the dugout to give him an impromptu lesson. He’d then score from first on a deep Ty France double—and then Ty France stole a base! Finally, the vibes were good. Except the rally stalled out there, because both Teoscar Hernández and Eugenio Suárez struck out. It’s so frustrating to watch this offense—full of good bits and bobs—continually fail to put together sustained rallies, instead nickel-and-diming runs, only for the pitching staff to immediately give them back in this uber-souped-up-offensive environment.
That’s exactly what happened, too, as Rengifo once again got to Kirby in the top of the fourth, scoring—once again, who else—Jake Lamb. Pro tip: have a good hidey-hole at work you can crawl into for a moment’s respite when you just need to scream silently into your sweater for a few minutes. Supply closets are good for this. The Angels leapt ahead on an Ohtani homer, scoring Trout, who had walked. It doesn’t feel good to have a game go to 4-2 and feel like welp that’s probably it for the day, but given how anemic this offense has looked over the first week of the season, that is basically how it feels.
The Mariners did scratch back a run to keep it close, this time with J.P. Crawford and Eugenio Suárez teaming up for a pair of doubles. But again, the Mariner pitching staff faltered—something we are not used to seeing—with Matt Festa surrendering a backbreaking home run to Taylor Ward, and then another garbage-time run that...honestly I quit taking notes by this point and really feel like quiet-quitting this game. It was some combination of Brandon Drury and Hunter Renfroe, aka the depth the Angels signed to prop up their big stars. I’m sure things will get turned around, but the contrast between the Angels’ role-players and the Mariners’ role-players is currently pretty stark. Meanwhile, the Angels’ bullpen was...good? And lockdown? The Mariners are now 1-4 and the Angels are almost the exact opposite, improving to 3-1 after tonight. I hate it here. Sartre said hell is other people, but I really think he meant the Los Angeles Angels.
I am being informed that I am contractually obligated to provide a highlight to you, so here: enjoy Ty France’s first-ever MLB steal, his first since he was in Triple-A in 2019. You know that one coworker you always look forward to seeing, who somehow seems to bob above the waves of workplace existential despair like a brightly-colored beach ball, who brings leftover cake from their kids’ birthday party for the breakroom? Ty France is that coworker.