A 12-4 scrubbing by the worst team in baseball isn't the best way to head into September, but it could be worse.
Well the good news is that as recently as four months ago this kind of befuddled mess would have passed for a Typical Night Out for the Mariners.
I want you to go ahead and look at that logo up there in the left hand corner of your screen, a dejected Richie Sexon avatar emblematic of all it means to be a follower of this historically unlucky and pathetic franchise. I mean, just think about that for a second. A sports blog that is designed to drive traffic by enticing readers with optimistic buzz about their sports team actually succeeds at doing just that with visual iconography that reeks of nihilistic despair and pessimism. Just think about that for a second.
Then, if you want, think about this awful game of baseball that was played by the Seattle Mariners today. Think about Erasmo Ramirez' line of 10 hits and 10 runs over 3 innings. Think about those back-to-back-to-back fly balls dropping in the Safeco grass, bobbled out of the makeshift glove of Logan Morrison. Think about that, and then think about the fact that well, whatever. Every game matters in baseball, but also, every game matters a lot less than every game in football or basketball, because those sports have like ten games ever while these guys play every day. The Mariners have done this 60 times, and without any real structural problems coming to light during today's bit of nostalgia (and there wasn't any), it isn't really any different than most of the previous 59 losses.
If you still want to read about the intricacies of this game for some insane reason, I'll provide you with a brief recap below. That is, after all, my job here. What happened today was that Erasmo Ramirez had a clean first inning and then completely fell apart over the second and third, giving up 10 runs on a whole bunch of singles and doubles by Rangers players you have never heard of. He somehow walked only one, but hit Michael Choice in the back of the hand, suggesting that the M's strike-thrower was having more than just jitters out there under the Seattle sun. There was a grand slam. There was confused headscratching. There were smiling Texas Rangers baseball players. It was by all accounts, a bloodbath.
At one point, pitching coach Rick Waits came out to calm Erasmo down, passing along the bit of information that the Rangers were being very aggressive and suggesting that he should think about making them work more instead of beating the zone with fastballs and fast sliders. Now, of course, this information was also available to Erasmo thanks to his ability to observe the natural world around him and then arrive at a conclusion based upon perceived data, but he would have nothing of it. That, or was just being thoughtful of the economy set up around MLB's coaching system, ensuring Rick Waits would actually have something to do for the best pitching staff in the American League that leaves him in the dugout looking on in appreciation most days.
After the visit, Erasmo settled down and threw Elvis Andrus a first pitch slider, getting ahead and hopefully turning the page on whatever the hell had been happening over the past few innings. But then Andrus just hit a double anyway and scored another run, so you know, you can't make chicken salad from chicken shit.
Erasmo was pulled in the fourth for Dominic Leone, who lasted two innings with 2 strikeouts. Then it was Beimel for the sixth (who gave up another 2-run shot), Maurer for the seventh, and so on--so it appeared Lloyd was hoping to put as little strain on his bullpen as possible after being forced to bring them into a game early, giving out innings in order to put a stop to the madness and call it a day.
It wasn't all doom and gloom, though. Mike Zunino hit a dinger in the second inning, and then it was all doom and gloom after that despite a dinger in the ninth from Kyle Seager and few runs in the sixth after productive at-bats from Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, and Kendrys Morales. And honestly, one of the most exciting things about this team is that for a second, you kind of felt like anything was possible here, and with one on and only an out you wouldn't have been foolish for thinking just that.
Of course, everything isn't possible--why would it be? Would you want to live in a world where cars fly around in the sky? Where people could just teleport from one place to the other willy nilly and ruining our entire theoretical framework of space and time? A world where Paul Simon, Jack White, and Eddie Vedder can go to a midday baseball game in Seattle for some reason, appearing unusually cheery and full of warm blood instead of appearing as the lifeless byproducts of the effects of age, drugs, and uh...whatever Eddie Vedder's deal is?
Do you see what you have done, Mariners? The world is finally starting to pay attention to you--perhaps even giving you a chance to finally earn the respect from the namesake of your historic interleague rivalry...and then you lose 12-4 like a beer league softball team that brought Steel Reserve instead of the light stuff. Great work, boys.
Blah blah blah. Look: the Mariners lost, and whatever, it's fine. At the beginning of the day, Lloyd made a comment that Erasmo had been showing a little resiliency during the season, and was in line for a possible rotation spot come Septemb him for quite some time. And since we opened this whole thing with good news, let's go ahead and close it down with good news as well:
Were this an outing from James Paxton, you would be reading concerned platitudes by writers-turned-doctors trying to diagnose his arm angle and release point. Chris Young? The arrival of regression. Felix? Usual late-season tiring. Iwakuma? Back-to-back difficult outings and a perhaps unseen problem beginning to fester. Instead they looked in the corner of the clubhouse and saw the guy suited up with an aw-gee-whiz-coach-think-I-could-give-er-a-shot-this-time? begging to be given a chance.
He was, and he blew it, so now the Mariners get to move on and play more meaningful baseball while Erasmo figures some stuff out. In the process he will be paid real, spendable money and be surrounded by some of the best athletes and sports professionals in the world, relatively speaking. It could be a lot worse, for both parties involved. Don't get too dour, unless, of course, you just can't help it. And if that's the case, then you have to realize you are right at home.
Onward and upward.
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