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The glory of the two-run strikeout

Baseball, much like poetry, is unpredictable. Sometimes, it can be as beautiful as a Keats, as simple as a Silverstein, and as stupid and ridiculous as your mom’s corgi trying to learn Latin. Today, baseball was really stupid, as the Mariners lost to the Rangers, 5-1.

Baseball was especially stupid on Tuesday, when the Mariners were informed that Robinson Cano, the face of the team, and clubhouse leader, would be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s PED policy. Things then got more dumb when Nelson Cruz left the game after being hit on the foot with a pitch. But Tuesday was redeemed with a Mariners walkoff victory, courtesy of Guillermo Heredia.

On Wednesday, mere hours after the conclusion of Tuesday night’s game, both bleary-eyed teams reassembled to play another. Bartolo “Big Sexy” Colon pitched for Texas, against Christian Bergman, fresh off a minor league call up.

Bergman was spectacular, throwing seven innings of scoreless ball, allowing only two hits, and striking out five. Unfortunately, Colon matched him frame by frame, and the Mariners offense provided little support for their fresh-faced AAA call-up. Colon went 7 ⅔ , allowing four hits, no walks, and no runs.  In the top of the eighth inning, Bergman’s day was done, and lefty James Pazos was brought in. Pazos allowed an RBI double to Delino DeShields before being pulled for Nick Vincent. And then, in the ninth, everything fell apart. Marc “Why” Rzcepczynski began the inning on the mound for the M’s. And surprisingly, he did ok. He allowed a couple of baserunners, but had two outs, and looked ready to end the inning. Then a fielding error by Ryon Healy at first base loaded the bases. With two outs, and two strikes on Ronald Guzman, Scrabble threw a pitch that Guzman swung at and missed for strike three. But the ball got by Mariners catcher David Freitas, and the runner scored from third. Freitas then threw to first to try to get the runner, but in the meantime, Isiah Kiner-Falefa scored from second base. Somehow, someway, in amazing and spectacular fashion, the Mariners allowed a two-run strikeout.

The Rangers scored two more times in the inning, to go up 5-0. They sealed the win in the ninth, though Kyle Seager’s solo home run got the Mariners their only run of the ball game. And thus ended the Mariners two game series with the Rangers.

It seems very Mariners to finally get an ok outing from their most struggling reliever, and still manage to grab defeat out of the jaws of victory. The Mariners do have a very good offense, but it is going to be tough going without Robinson Cano for half the season. And with Nelson Cruz out for several games, it was inevitable that the hitting was going to struggle. Without two of their best hitters in the lineup, the depth is much less, and the margin for error on the already weak pitching staff is slim to none. Hold on to your hats for the next few weeks. It’s about to get real interesting.

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MLB

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