The Mariners 2-1 loss on Friday night to open up their final home stand, in front of a sold out crowd, was emotionally crippling while it hurt their chances at ending this damn playoff drought. While it was likely the M’s would drop one of these three games, to do it on the first one is hard…especially after Marco overcame a 34-pitch third inning to get to the sixth and keep Seattle in the game.
It hurts even worse when you consider the fact that Seattle had the tying run in position with no outs in both the seventh and ninth innings. Designated hitter Luis Torrens struck first when he got a hold of one that sailed past the leaping Juan Lagares into the right field corner — two weeks ago that ball probably finds the seats, thanks marine layer — and the big man rumbled all the way around to third. Abraham Toro promptly followed that up with a walk which forced Angels manager Joe Maddon to go get another pitcher out of the pen. Jose Quijada sat down the next three Mariners batters, including Dylan Moore on a questionable third strike, after several long at bats.
This was a building that was absolutely ready to explode, and the next three batters were unable to put the ball in play. It was absolutely killer, and I started to hear “same old Mariners” around me; how I hoped they’d be able to retire that narrative.
Paul Seawald, Diego Castillo, and Anthony Misiewicz kept the Angels off the score board in the eighth and the ninth inning. Which brought up Kyle Seager in some of his last at bats in a Mariners uniform (barring a potential game 163 then playoffs); he too found space on the right field line as he lined a double into the corner with no outs. It was not to be as the M’s went fairly quietly, with Jared Kelenic hitting a can of corn to right field.
Kelenic’s 1-4 night included the only RBI of the game for the M’s as he hit a lazer into right field that scored Toro from first in the bottom of the second.
Seattle would go 0-7 with runners in scoring position after that at bat.
Ultimately, the M’s are a game back with two to go and now need Washington to win back-to-back games while they find themselves having to win two in a row to force a potential game 163. For the first time in 20 years, Seattle controlled its own fate in the playoffs and the offense ghosted. It felt like a giant gut punch after all the hype that had been built up throughout Thursday and Friday; and you could feel the air deflate from the building as the Angels lined up after the final out.
I have to keep reminding myself that, that’s how baseball works and the Mariners were not going to be able to continue their ridiculous tendency for clutch runs through every game down the stretch; and they used a lot of it in beating the absolute shit out of Oakland just to get to this point. But damnit, that hurt and it hurt a lot for someone who missed the insane sweep at the end of 2014 where the M’s came up just short of a game 163.
And now we find ourselves in the exact same spot in the standings. While the franchise is overall in a healthier direction (lots of free cash, and an insanely deep farm), you can’t help but feel the pain at the end of that one…even if it was totally predictable because baseball is baseball; not because the Mariners are the Mariners.
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