Life is full of expectations. Many are societally enforced - we are expected to respond when someone speaks to us or sends us a message, we are expected to not act violently with others, at least without any initial recourse, and we are expected to grow from children who have some or all of our needs supported or met by others into adults who, pending ability, can care for ourselves and eventually others. There are other, more in-depth expectations as well that some may face, with endless variations of complexity and minutiae. Sometimes meeting expectations can be satisfying, or even a celebration that signifies the progression of one’s abilities as a human being. But sometimes, y’all, sometimes chores are chores.
Today’s chore for the Seattle Mariners was completing a three-game sweep, what would hopefully be their second of the season having throttled the last-place Colorado Rockies back in April. There are ways that games like this can be satisfactory, like seeing a slumping club break out of their malaise. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Instead, Seattle slogged through against a 34-year-old journeyman and an Oakland Athletics bullpen constructed of whatever the forgotten fourth pig brother built their home out of, the one so flimsy the wolf blew his house down and ate him for breakfast before the rest of the story even began. I’m going to guess QFC paper bag handles. Seattle let QFC paper bag handles hold them back from scoring for 5.2 innings today in relief of starter Drew Rucinski.
I am of course painting with a brush too broad. Taylor Trammell, for the second time on this road trip, came up with precisely the type of thunderous contact that defined the 2022 Mariners and has thus far lain largely dormant.
Trammell’s two-run shot was a splendid strike, a breath of fresh air in a stagnant series where Seattle spent most of their innings in regulation attempting to improve the future arbitration cases of their opponents. Fortunately, they needed little more, as they continued preventing runs with aplomb. George Kirby’s start was not dominant, and in fact heavily highlighted the way the sophomore righty is continuing to work a more contact-dependent profile in 2023. It was not, in all honesty, the most impressive performance by the contact-maven, but it was an exceedingly responsible, safe outing that rested the pen and challenged an abysmal A’s lineup to punish his pitches. They did not, and Kirby wormed his way through 7.0 innings with just three runs even as he only punched a single strikeout ticket.
As the M’s fell back behind 3-2, it did not feel dramatically threatening, but it was exasperating to see Seattle struggle to dominate an Oakland club that is now 6-26 and has yielded 10+ runs in 12 games already. Just clean the bathroom! Apply for a new job! Let the terrible pitchers walk you!
Oh. Good. Good job, that will work. And, credit to the much-maligned Kolten Wong on his two-hit day with a couple nice defensive plays, good job Kolten.
No, Julio Rodríguez and Ty France didn’t break free of their slumps, nor Eugenio Suárez or Cal Raleigh set the world on fire, though Teoscar Hernandez did both double and walk(!). But some days you don’t get to starting a new routine of going for a walk every day, or calling an old friend to catch up, or taking some time to focus on a hobby you love. Some days you do what’s expected of you, and beat the Oakland Athletics of your life three times in a row. And because you’ve done that, joy-lite as it may have been, you are now staring down a Friday you can actually try to enjoy in full.