We talk a lot about the Trop and our opinions on domes and catwalks in the baseball world. My secret opinion that no one (except you, dear reader) is allowed to know is that I think it’s cool and fun. When Julio doinked that homer off the catwalk yesterday? That was awesome and funny. Unfortunely, nothing today was anywhere near as cool.
For starters, I haven’t seen a Miller get hit that hard since I went shooting with my alcoholic uncle. He only got shelaked for 5 Hard Hit Balls™ according to Savant, and he did get 7 strikeouts in 5 innings, but it just did not matter. His nine hits were very well hit. His unluckiest base hit was a Jose Siri single in the third with a .360 xBA. His pitches, much like what we should all do after watching this game, were touching grass.
And it started right away. Yandy Diaz continued his torrid stretch by singling out of the gate, and moved to second when Brandon Lowe walked on an uncompetitive sequence by Bryce. That’s when Harold Ramirez shot an 0-1 sinker into the gap to score both runners. Then he scored when the other Lowe brother yanked a double of his own down the line to put the Rays on top 3-0. He wouldn’t even be the last baserunner since Miller hit Luke Raley to put runners on first and second. He did get out of hit once J.P. turned a sick double play, though.
The second was easier for Miller (only two baserunners, neither scored), but the third was worse. Josh Lowe led off with a double, and moved to third on Jose Siri’s second single of the game. Luke Raley, who was not plunked this time, followed it up by shooting a ball just barely past Ty for yet another double and yet more runs. We’re going into Gameday 3D now because I need to show you how close this was.
I know this play was while it was a 3-0 ballgame, but the Mariners did go on to score 3 runs (we’ll get there). If Ty makes this stop, I think it dramatically changes the nature of the game. After this hit, Miller buckled down to strike out the side, and then he faced the minimum in the next two innings. If Ty reacts just a fraction of a second quicker, maybe the Mariners win this game. Baseball’s just like that.
So yeah, the Mariners scored three runs. Two of em came in the 4th where Teo and Mike Ford singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Ty then sconked a ball at 107.9 mph, but unfortunately he hit it right at Siri in center. But then the shockingly capable Josh Rojas picked him up by hitting a nice line drive single to score Teo and move Ford to scoring position. Which is a good place to be when Sam Haggerty is at the plate, since our swaggy ham was able to single Ford home with a line drive of his own. Mike may actually be beating the Ty France 2 allegations with the speed he got on this one.
Josh and Sam get two back. pic.twitter.com/RclvCDf6qB— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 10, 2023
The M’s managed to pick up another run in the top of the fifth when Eugenio hit a sac fly to score Julio. At this point in the game it felt like the Mariners were finally starting to pick at the lead and dig their way back into the ballgame. And then the Rays pulled Zach Eflin, and their excellent bullpen shut the door. Tampa scored a garbage run in the 6th to pad the lead to three, but it wouldn’t matter anyway. The Mariners couldn’t get anything going in the end, with Haggerty, Crawford, and Julio all being struck out to end the game in the ninth.
At least the road trip is finally over, right? This game was interesting in that it was incredibly uninteresting. This road trip, it’s felt like the Mariners have been playing un-Mariners ball. Not meaning that they aren’t winning, losing is a very Mariner thing to do after all, but they’re losing normally. Starting pitching is getting jumped on early, the the other team is capitalizing. Maybe that’s the kind of ball you want in September. Maybe it’s time for the M’s to grow up and be a serious ballclub that just plays normal baseball.
I disagree, of course. Odd baseball is crucial to the Mariner identity, as much as northwest green and cloudy skies. When the Mariners try to be normal and serious they fail. It’s like putting a dog in a tuxedo and sending him to the ball. He’s just gonna knock over all the fine china at the dinner table. But hey, they’re coming back to down, and if there’s any team to get weird against, it’s Anaheim.
See you tomorrow.