Seattle – The end of the M’s season came with whimper as they only picked up seven hits over the course of 18 innings on Saturday evening. Houston advanced to the ALCS on the back of a Jeremy Peña solo shot to center.
There’s a lot to be said for the fact that this was an elimination game, and will be said. But ultimately, we waited 21 years to experience postseason baseball in Seattle…so course it became the longest postseason game to go without a run; and tied for the longest post season game ever.
It’s a damn shame that this run has to end against Houston. It was the one team in the bracket that Seattle struggled with all season; and they’ve done it with an incredibly pitching staff that the M’s lineup just has no clue how to hit.
Until it did in game one. Game two on Thursday and game three on Saturday.
This game was a brutal reintroduction to playoff baseball for a city that’s been starved for it. The crowd was bonkers from first pitch and ready to go at a moments notice. But the offense was unable to generate consistent traffic for score when the few opportunities sprang up. Without dingers, this Mariners’ roster can’t score a bunch of runs and there were no dingers to be had.
It’s the end of a road for a talented club that has a lot more postseason runs in its future. A club that was powered by the future face of baseball in Julio Rodríguez (the 21-year-old had the M’s first extra base hit of the evening). And saw George Kirby’s emergence as a potential ace.
Speaking of Kirby, he was absolutely filthy with okay against the Astros. The rookie pitched seven scoreless innings and wracked up five strikeouts as he sprinkled six hits harmlessly throughout those innings. But the best part of his start was the lack of walks with an increase in velocity. He was just as amped as the crowd was.
Lance McCullers was also on his game on the other side. It was a large ask for Seattle to score many runs off of him and it was not a shock when he blanked them through six. Houston is the first team to earn a first round bye to sweep in this newly expanded postseason — LA is facing elimination in the next game against the Padres, while Atlanta was eliminated by the Phillies today.
Robbie Ray, Paul Sewald, and Andrés Muñoz all got their redemption appearances in a win-or-die game. But it wasn’t enough.
In the end, this club just wasn’t there yet offensively. There were big strides by Cal Raleigh and Rodríguez; but a worryingly slow second half for Ty France, that follows him into the playoffs, loomed large at the top of the lineup.
Enjoy the memories, I know I will.
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