It’s going to be soccer season, so tonight let’s kick the old soccer chestnuts out of the mothballs they’ve been hoarding all summer and say tonight’s game was a story of two halves. Except they weren’t halves, they were really the parts of the game where the players were playing and the parts they weren’t, and also if anything happened that came close to the chaos of tonight’s game on a football field and Cris Collinsworth had to line it up to run away into the night, He will never be heard from again. But the first half first!
It was a bit surprising to see the relative lack of national attention that was directed into tonight’s game. All-Stars vs MVP title holders, ace vs ace, with Luis Castillo facing off against Shohei Ohtani in an AL West match, with the Mariners struggling desperately to break their historic drought in the playoffs, and the high-flying Angels now looking greedily to play spoiler? It sounds like a big deal to us but what we do know, MLB is Belle hovering in the streets of her provincial village singing about how this tiny little village sucks, in fact, and at the same time we are this lady:
Anyway, it was probably right that there wasn’t a lot of nonsense based on this game because in a battle of aces it was…a bit of a disappointment, actually. Neither Otani nor Castillo looked their best, and neither attack set the world on fire. The Mariners arrive at the board immediately in this game when Jesse Winker, along with two naysayers, hears you talking about some mayhem:
Mitch Hanegger followed him with one song, but the sailors weren’t able to do anything beyond that. What they were able to do was increase Otani’s pitch, which cost him 21 pitches in the first, largely driven by eight pitches in one of Hanegger’s. Never leave us, Mitch.
Unfortunately, the angels returned right to the bottom of the first. It looked like it was going to be a quick turn for Castillo after he had two fast games, and very good news for the navigators as Otani missed a few balls on his racket, but Luis Renjivo jumped on Castillo’s first pitch – the 98 MPH fast ball caught a lot of the board – and after some unsuccessful kidnappings. Necessary on the court where Mitch or Julio could have picked up the ball but didn’t, then oops it was off the ground anyway, how I hated Angel Stadium, suddenly the 1-1 match was a tie. Same thing, Louis, same thing.
In the third, it looked as though Julio had put the Mariners up front on a ball that was pinned over the fence at a right angle to the field, but Phil Nevin couldn’t challenge it fast enough and after review judged it to be a foul ball (note I don’t say “exhibited”, because I I’m still waiting for that visual confirmation), so of course it ended up coming out instead. Baseball gods, why do you hate fun. Not only do I want to say that swinging from potential home run to knockout is a perfect metaphor for how poorly sailors have so far performed on their so-called flex schedule, but also, if the tense metaphor is appropriate. Ty France, who still squabbled at the plate, then took root on the first pitch. womp womp.
But then! Jesse Winker and Mitch Hanegger worked solo on a rare walk off Ohtani, where he raised J.B. Crawford. At this point, it’s appropriate to mention that there was a strong Mariners squad in the building for the game, and they brought their “JP” chant, which may have pushed this RBI single off the bat of JP Crawford, who continues to heat up after a strong showing for the Texas Series Disappointing. Adam Frazier hit then to finish the run, but the inning pushed Ohtani’s tonal count to 61 through three.
But things didn’t get any easier after that. The always annoying David Fletcher drove 3rd by jumping a suspended slide from Castillo, and he put a runner in number one spot on the spot. Castillo then fell behind Otani 3-1 and things were looking grim before bouncing back to hit him with some 98mph heat.
After that, Luis Rengivo came into a double play to save Castillo in the inning with the pitch number not changed, but the Mariners were unable to capitalize in the fourth in spite of Jake Lamb’s double that missed to be Homer by to this degree. To say again: I hate Angel Stad and all the equipment that comes with it. Still, at 104.9 off the bat and an xBA of 0.800, that’s a Lamb fan.
Less encouraging: bottom of IV. Taylor Ward started the inning with a double on another poor slider of Castillo, then Jared Walsh took a sprint midfield and singled it home and fouled Ty France on the relay, allowing the sprinter to advance to second. Ty, that’s fifty push-ups from Perry Hill before the game tomorrow. Castillo was able to escape the inning without further damage, including a neat ambush on a return as if he was showing his playing field. This is how men are, but by this point, Otani was sailing, forcing Castillo back there. He got off to a soft start with Andrew Velasquez, literally only in this team because he has a short gauntlet, and then Castillo came right after David Fletcher, who I like to think irritates La Piedra as much as it pisses me off. Castillo got the Fletcher 1-2, but then worked on the whole count because Castillo might be La Piedra, but Fletcher is La Piedra en El Zapato, chewing a lot of Castillo pitches before he singled out for the middle. How do I hate him? Once again, Castillo wiggled out of trouble, but he felt like a non-stop dabbling in his command tonight, with little support from his attack.
Castillo fought during the sixth inning, so both starters managed to clear six runs, but that wasn’t easy. He led the inning by hitting Taylor Ward on a full count, then another full count for Jared Walsh, which is just Plan A Reverse Taylor Ward, before hitting him. That prompted him to make 100 appearances against Stephen Duggar, which is far less efficient than what we’ve seen at Castillo in the past. Thanks to Laz Diaz being as good at referee as I am at writing a succinct summary, Castillo had to throw five hits to hit him, which had Duggar chasing after changing the third hit and eighth hit on the day, but also the pitch count pushed him well into the redline area. However, Servais chose to stay with Castillo against Max Stassi to try to finish sixth, and Castillo responded:
We love it! It’s great to see that even on a night when Castillo doesn’t have the best of him, he can press and execute when he has to; Hopefully next time his insults will give him more support in the run so he doesn’t have to grind so hard.
With Chapter 1 of this baseball game over, it’s time to move on to Chapter Two, although it’s actually more like Chapter Five, or wherever things start to go wrong for Shakespeare’s characters, who are in this case the Wretched Angels of California, playing more Appropriate enough, behind the stage arch of baseball’s most unabashedly artificial and manufactured park. Diego Castillo closed the Angels on the seventh despite some orders we’d call “effectively wild” and Andrés Muñoz closed the Angels in his turn despite a few weak and weak hits, causing the sailors to face Aaron Loeb at the head of the ninth. Dave Sims’ comment on Loup was “I thought it was traded!” Well, that’s less of an indictment of The Sims and more on the Loup and the Angels Bullpen, or the angels themselves, for example, a concept.
The Loup may be wishing he traded after tonight, because while the first half of this game/play followed a familiar, traditional arc – the battle of aces, the hitters trying to strike back and adjusting – the top of the ninth was pure experimental theater. Bertolt Brecht paused, saying, “Hold on to the men, that may be too much.”
It started, like most good things lately, with Sam Haggerty:
What made this even more awesome was just a few pitches before, Haggerty swayed and missed the pitch hurting his ankle and spending a long time spinning in the dirt on the home board before he needed help. Laz Diaz. But, by a complete embodiment of “I lived“Mimi, slam Hagerty again when Max Stacey hits an itchy trigger finger behind the board, sails the ball to center after Hagerty fakes a second steal. Thank you so much for the free base, Max! It will just want another rule:
Well, I thought, I should just run here and pass it on to Sewald. But these messy sailors had other designs. First of all, Carlos Santana, who was hitting for Jake Lamb, somehow cast his magic spell on Laz Diaz and convinced him it was 3-1 instead of 2-2, resulting in a near-instant outing and feud Santana at Dylan Moore. Then the angels… I’m not sure how to describe this in words. I need hand puppets, a set of colorful scarves, or a flock of carefully trained birds. But I will do my best.
Or not. Giulio hits a ball at 107.5 mph straight to Luis Ringevo, who understandably drops it. DMo hesitates for a moment, realizes it’s probably meat, and starts heading into second place anyway, hoping they can run to score and maybe get away with double play.
The game does not end with double play. Instead, Rengifo, who may still see his life flashing before his eyes, chooses to throw home, to prevent the run from scoring, because at this point double play is probably out of order after he dropped the ball.
This brings Haggerty into the rundown between 3rd and home, hoping to move forward on the DMo, now:
Then at some point, like the Boyfriend Distracted meme, Jose Rojas is more concerned about Dylan Moore getting a relentless third, and also, there’s no one in the house to throw it in anyway because Aaron Loeb has fallen to the ground except for Jared Walsh, who has A devastating case of Toasterhands. “Aha,” Rojas thinks, “I’ll at least cut that runner, and get a second on the board.”
There won’t be a second on the board, as Moore enters safely. Leave an idea of Rengifo here, forced to watch his life flash first before his eyes, and then the life of his baseball team.
Cobras surrendered everywhere.
I can only hope these fans leave, seemingly at the extremes of Displeasure, and I’m not happy to tell these frozen snapshots from the past that things are about to get much worse (I feel absolutely thrilled about this).
You know how in baseball, the old chestnut is that if you come to the field every day, you’ll see something you’ve never seen before? Well, sometimes you see exactly what you just watched, in successive runs. Ty France hit this ball – and unlike Julio, this one wasn’t a burner, just 86.6 MPH off the bat – it should have been a double game, except it can’t be, because Julio is practically second before the player has a ball.
So the angels made the ill-advised attempt to do the impossible: launch an attack against the sailors in the house.
It’s out, isn’t it? DMo is here, it’s the weirdest ever, it’s the mayor of Outsville, its residents.
Except oops! The ball jumped away like a naughty bunny in a picture book. Very hesitant rabbit or something. This ball will eventually roll all the way to the backrest, putting the contestants second and third instead of two or even three on the board. Bad for angels. great for us. 4-2 sailors.
Then Jesse Winker stops and the Angels actually enter him brilliantly, but she still scores another run, then JP Crawford brings another run up to the 6-2 Mariners, that’s where the fun will end, like angels pull Jesse Chavez out of his bedroom Chilled and forced him to end the inning. Then Paul Swald went over the sailors’ bunker, happily drove away the angels 1-2-3, and told us all to brush our teeth and go to bed, though not before he injected a little bit of a mess at the last moment himself, Joe hit Adele on the field that seemed to hit him.
Was it a nice win? No, not really. But it was a win, and a victory that brought back the best times of last season, wild but wonderful, anything can happen, Chaos Ball Mariners. This team is capable of wreaking havoc the same way the team was: by hitting bats, forcing the other team to make mistakes by disrupting things at the bases, playing clean defense themselves, and locking things up on the side of the field. It feels like magic, but it really isn’t. It’s an opportunity, and it’s knocking.
“Student. Incurable problem solver. Amateur baconaholic. Introvert. Infuriatingly humble music fanatic.”