Kate didn’t approve my plan to just upload an mp3 of a giant fart noise as the recap. But she also says to write the recap that the game deserves, so I don’t know what to tell her. This game was a middle-middle sinker to Marcus Semien, a hanging slider to Corey Seager, a lifeless four-seamer to Adolis Garcia, and a belt-high fastball to Leody Taveras. And just like that, Bryan Woo had given up four home runs in less than four innings. He was pulled with the score at 6-2, and though the Mariners ended up scoring more than six, the die was cast.
The Mariners offense wasn’t helpless, though they certainly could have made more out of their chances against a clearly-still-hurt Nathan Eovaldi. Thier big moments were solo shots: Teo hit one off the second deck, and J.P. continued his surge with his 17th tater of the year, which also secured today’s Sun Hat Award. J.P. has so much more power this year that he’s hitting dingers even when he doesn’t put his best swing on it. I mean, look at this.
Seattle also made some hay when Eovaldi loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth. Jarred Kelenic was due up, though, so of course the Rangers brought in a lefty to face him, and all Jarred could muster was an RBI fielder’s choice. But Geno hit a sac fly, and then a pinch-hitting Sam Haggerty hit one down the left field line. Rookie Evan Carter bobbled the ball, which allowed Kelenic to score, and the Mariners ended their half of the sixth within striking distance, the score 7-5.
The thing is, though, that the Rangers’ offense is relentless. Evan Carter got two of those runs right back in the next half with his second homer of the series to make it 9-5. With their sixth homer of the day, the Rangers had managed to score nine times by just the sixth inning.
The Mariners were pretty relentless themselves, hanging another three on the board in the top of the seventh. Yet with the score at 9-8, we began a painful series of events in which the Mariners made it just close enough for you to believe they might pull this off. In each of the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, they brought the winning run to the plate. That’s a familiar story at this point, though. It ended the same way it has so many times in 2023, with the team unable to push it over the finish line. If the Mariners were in a different situation or if they’d managed to win, you would have called this one a thriller.
But they’re not, and they didn’t. The magic that the team commanded for so much of 2021 and 2022 continues to elude them. For two years, they constantly won games late; this year, they’re leaving the winning run on base or at the plate over and over and over again, including all three games this series.
To be sure, it’s hard to be entirely doom and gloom when the Royals swept the Astros this weekend. Despite getting swept themselves, the Mariners remain just half a game behind Houston, so they have a huge opportunity in front of them as they face their rivals over the next three days. It’ll be a tall task: Lest we forget, somehow, Palpatine returned. But it’s the Mariners for the taking.
At the end of the day, though, I’m still pretty gloomy because Seattle did just get swept by Texas. Fart noise.