It’s a beautiful Friday morning in the Pacific Northwest. You get to work a little early for a meeting with a co-worker on the East Coast, which means you should get off relatively early, too. You might have an opportunity to take advantage of the late-spring sun after you get to leave the beige office building where you have decided to work, in order to earn enough money to survive late-stage capitalism.
Your work day gets off to a pleasing start, despite tripping and eating shit immediately upon walking into the building - your boss is in a good mood and cracks some jokes with you as you walk in, and your favorite new co-worker leapt through the door with bagels for breakfast. The vibes are generally good. You smile, despite the background hum of existential dread buzzing away in your head.
You shoot the shit with your coworkers, answer some emails, close a loop, circle back and before you know it, it’s already 11! You haven’t gotten much done, but today is still flying by. Things seem…good.
After getting scorched on his first few pitches for back-to-back doubles and an early run, Bryce Miller continued to build on a fantastic first impression. Twitter is abuzz with graphics touting how he’s the first rookie pitcher in 84 years to have a WHIP below .666 through his first three starts, min. 14.1 IP (or something like that).
Through his fourth start, he’s shown that his hot start seems to be the real deal. His fastball continues to claw involuntary vocalizations out of me.
Bryce Miller, 95mph Elevated ⛽️ pic.twitter.com/Db0Hc7wOvf— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 20, 2023
It’s so stupid nasty! A fastball with that much rise can live anywhere near or out of the zone. The high fastball obviously eats batters up as it breaks up to their eyeballs, inducing some swords, and the low fastball looks like it’s going to end up in the dirt before sneaking onto the black at the knees. It’s unfair.
His curveball and slider also looked excellent on the rare occasions we saw them - dude pumped his nonpareil fastball 80% of the time.
José Caballero saved another run from being scored on this insane leaping grab.
I’m fully Caballero-pilled, and look forward to seeing more of him at second base. I got the opportunity to see him play in the AFL in 2019 (he hit a triple), and the improvement he’s shown is quite impressive.
Bryce Elder shut down the Mariners offense with a palette of pitches quite the opposite of a Bryce Miller “all gas no brakes” approach. He painted in, out, up and down with a breaking pitch he threw 45% of the time, a nasty sinker, and a deceptive changeup. All those pitches dip down, but the angle and timing of his different breaks left the Mariners offense floundering (again).
You walk down the street to your favorite lunch spot - a deli with rotating special sandwiches that regularly blow your mind. You check the chalkboard on the sidewalk today, to see one of your favorites - a spicy meatloaf sandwich topped with Calabrian chile aioli and arugula. You take a spot in the back corner, and allow the capsaicin-laden meat to transport you to the southern coast of Italy.
You probably waste too much time on lunch today, but hey, it’s a Friday! The boss is in a good mood, and you’re technically on salary anyways, so, c’est la vie, you think to yourself. You hustle back to your desk, and hurriedly put in some work on a time-sensitive project that you definitely didn’t forget had to be done, but might have, uh, not gotten to, had you not been reminded by the Outlook reminder you set for yourself last week.
You put your nose to the grindstone for an entire 30 minutes before leaning back in your chair, satisfied with the productivity and capital that your labor has produced for your employer. You have sufficiently generated corporate synergy - you have proven the utility of an agile workplace, and you’ve definitely done a deep-dive on some paradigm-shifting, outside-of-the-box thinking. The world is better for your efforts.
It’s now 4:45 pm, and the west-facing windows of your office building are soaking in the beginning of golden-hour rays reflecting off of the bay. Probably about time to head out for the day.
This game flew by. Collectively, the Bryce’s faced only four batters more than the minimum from the first inning through the sixth inning, before the Mariners offense decided it was finally time to clock in for the day.
Julio led things off by showing that he is, perhaps, starting to work his way out of this slow start to the season, with a double scorched off the bat at 105 mph to the opposite field.
Kelenic worked a walk on a wild pitch that advanced Julio to third base, where he scored on this solid piece of hitting by Eugenio.
This tied up the game, but only briefly, as Teo also showed himself working out of a very slow start to the season, lacing a line drive to score Kelenic, putting the Mariners up 2-1.
Surely this was enough work for the day, right?
Right as you stand up to grab your jacket and make for the door to enjoy your allotted 5 non-work waking hours, you hear the worst sound that the human auditory system can possibly process.
“Hey, can you hop on a quick call? It’s about the client,” your boss says, poking their head around the corner. They look worried.
You feel a pit in your soul, a gravity-heavy core greedily sucking everything within it’s radius towards itself. You scream internally. You do not do this out loud. Your boss would not like that.
Yeah, after that, the Mariners gave up a bunch of runs in the seventh and eighth inning, spoiling an otherwise-stellar Bryce Miller outing. The offense showed no signs of life in the eighth and ninth, despite performing a simulacrum of competency.
There are a lot of questions to be asked after this game. Should Miller have been sent out for the 7th, already flirting with his career-high pitch count? Was Gott the right choice for that high-leverage situation, having been used the most recently? Is Sewald hurt, or otherwise unavailable? If not, why did we see Gott, Topa (no z for him today) and Saucedo against the most potent lineup in the major leagues? Will this team stop trying to win every game 2-1?
These are all questions I could dive into and ask. But you know what? It’s a beautiful Friday night in the Pacific Northwest. This game wrapped up a little bit early, despite the last-second slowdown in the 7th and 8th inning. There’s still some golden sunlight outside, and the smell of pesto and prosciutto pasta is currently filling my small house. Just now, what seems to be a gin and lemonade of some sorts has appeared on my dinner table.
I hope that my collective bosses (you, readers) would understand if I tried to dip out just a bit early on this recap and forget that this game happened for the night. I would invite you to do the same. Watching this team has felt like work for the last few days - let’s get an early start to our weekends and reconvene on Monday.
checks calendar, sees there are actually baseball games this weekend that will demand your attention as a Mariners fan