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Mariners Become a Tale of Two Teams, Lose to Rays 7-4

When does the Muppet version come out?

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

To borrow words from Charles Dickens, a gentleman that more than likely never set foot inside of Tampa, Florida and in fact probably said at least once in his lifetime, “What is a Florida?”:

It was the best of times,

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh (29) is congratulated by Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez (44) after he hit a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night’s game between the visiting Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays had the makings of a great matchup. The Mariners were coming off of a satisfying 1-0 victory from the night before and they were sending their All-Star pitcher, George Kirby, to the mound following a rough outing in his home state of New York.

Despite having been knocked around in his previous start, Kirby has shown before that he has the ability to rebound following a setback. This year alone he’s twice turned a loss around for a 10 strikeout performance.

Not to mention that Julio is still swinging a hot bat, Teoscar Hernández can’t seem to say and the Home Run Trident is getting more use than a serve fork at the local Old Country Buffet.

it was the worst of times,

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby (68) talks with pitching coach Pete Woodworth (32) and catcher Cal Raleigh (29) against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Tropicana Field.
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

George Kirby is a good pitcher, a great pitcher, even. For (St.) Pete’s sake this man is so BB-adverse that he would probably write “actually hates long walks on the beach” on a dating profile if given the opportunity.

But no man is perfect, not even George Kirby.

After delivering one well-placed 4-seam fastball to begin the home half’s 1st inning, Kirby sent four straight pitches outside the zone to Tampa’s leadoff hitter Yandy Díaz. He got his groove back with the next batter, Brandon Lowe, delivering his first strikeout of the game.

And then he hits Tampa’s best hitter, Harold Ramirez.

Followed by issuing a walk to Randy Arozarena to load the bases.

For context, George Kirby has only given up two walks in a game twice this year. Once on July 1st against the same Rays and again on July 31st against the Boston Red Sox.

To give up two walks twice in the same inning? Unheard of for Kirby.

it was the age of wisdom,

Leaving this Slack message from this moment without comment.

it was the age of foolishness,

Here’s where things go from “what could go wrong” to “damn, that’s what could go wrong.”

A video couldn’t be found for the unfortunate moment, but Shannon Drayer does a great job at summing it up. Playing in his first game at Tropicana Blunderdome, new guy Dominic Canzone loses the ball on a routine fly out and allows a run to score and leaves the bases still loaded.

Before Kirby and the Mariners could get out of the inning of hell, one more run would score courtesy of a sac fly by Josh Lowe before Taylor Walls struck out to end the frame.

it was the epoch of belief,

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suarez (28)] celebrates after he hit a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning at Tropicana Field.
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners bats? They’re hot. Surface-of-the-sun hot. Fresh-and-ready hot. Smokeshow hot.

This team – this beautiful team – has a knack for lifting the spirits of their fellow teammates in the currency of HR (home runs) and Eugenio Suárez decided to take the second pitch his saw 424ft to the center field bank. With Tampa’s lead cut in half, suddenly Kirby’s first inning discretions didn’t seem so scandalous. After a double by Canzone and another double by Dylan Moore to tie the score, those discretions were practically dealt with Sopranos-style.

Over the next few innings, Kirby settled down and found his groove. He only allowed 2 hits between the 2nd and 6th innings and streamlined his pitch count to get him deeper into the game.

Couple it with two more dingers by Cal Raleigh and Julio in the 3rd and the 5th to give Seattle a 4-2 lead and you’ve got yourself a great comeback story in the making.

it was the epoch of incredulity,

Before the great comeback story could be written, it was over.

Despite a dominant performance through the 5 innings after his horror of a 1st inning, Kirby only need a few pitches in the 7th inning to erase the lead and effectively soil his second outing of the road trip.

Following a game leveling home run by Rene Pinto, Scott Servais had seen enough and brought Isaiah Campbell’s arm (and Isaiah Campbell) in from the bullpen to limit the damage.

George Kirby may have fended off Harold Ramirez, but Campbell wasn’t so lucky. Ramirez launched a 2-run shot to a lucky fan and the home team pulled ahead to make it 6-4. Campbell limits the damage of the 7th inning to (just) 4 runs and turns the ball over to New Guy Dominic #2 for Tampa’s 8th inning.

This Dominic, Leone, made the job of the Mariners offense just a little more difficult.


7-4, Tampa wins.

Like this recap’s featured excerpt, the Mariners season is not over.

It has the opportunity to ultimately be the season of light.

Or if the trend of this September continues, the season of darkness.

Perhaps, if things go well, we’ll enter next February considering it the Spring of Hope.

Hopefully, though, that doesn’t mean we’ll experience a winter of despair.