Tonight I started at least three different recaps, with three different themes, before yet another agonizing endgame defeat. This was a weird, disjointed game, so here’s a weird, disjointed recap about it. The 2023 Mariners: they never seem to run out of new ways to break your heart.
Part 1: The Emily in Paris to recap
At the risk of tipping my hand, this is a recap issue I’ve been sitting on forever, as a tribute to a show that taught me the definition of “hate watching.” I’ve never really been into reality TV or other things that people “hate watching” but somehow Emily in Paris, a soap-drama about a bad man with worse fashion sense, has me at his disposal. I don’t know if it’s the soapy cliffhanger storylines or the over-the-top marketing campaigns and glamorous office work that make the show seem less nihilistic Angry men, or just the undeniable charm of Paris itself, but for whatever reason, I keep clicking “next episode” even though I don’t like Emily herself, although I don’t think I should, judging by the clothes she’s wearing she’s dressed , which aren’t so much fashion crimes as they are fashion genocides. Here’s a sneak peek from what should be a future recap, featuring a recurring quirk of Emily’s wardrobe that I call the “Stupid Little Hat.” No outfit is complete without the Stupid Little Hat, although sometimes it’s Stupid Short Fingerless Gloves instead, and occasionally they’re even paired with the Stupid Impractical Purse.
There is also a subset of Stupid Little Hat which is Stupid Little Bucket Hat. In this essay you will
We’re supposed to see Emily as an American fashionista, I guess, boldly mixing colors, patterns, and styles, but it always looks to me like she’s been whirled through a lot of yardage and maybe a decade-old mall. 2000. stores and this is the result.
I detest Emily’s recklessness with fashion a little less than her recklessness with other people, and yet I can’t stop watching her. That was largely the experience of watching the first five innings of this game while the Mariners were perfected by Brady Singer and also lost 3-0 after Logan Gilbert surrendered a three-run home run to Salvador Pérez in the first inning. . Gilbert was uncharacteristically long tonight, struggling to land pitches in the zone and failing to get Royals hitters to chase them when he did, often going into deep counts. Sometimes Gilbert, with his long levers, just gets out of sync mechanically, and that seemed to be the case tonight, though to his credit, he got things together after struggling through those first two innings and got his pitch count up to 40s.
I’m not sure if I could have gotten away with covering the Mariners pitching perfectly with an Emily in Paris-themed recap, but I wasn’t going to get the chance to try as Cade Marlowe walked in the fifth to break up the perfect. . So on to the next idea.
Part 2: The battle of the former champions
The perfect was over but the not was still intact. Both Brady Singer and Logan Gilbert were drafted in 2018: Gilbert went 14th and Singer, just four picks later, 18th to the Royals. Most outlets saw similar things in Gilbert and Singer (except MLB Pipeline, which at one point had Singer as the second-best prospect in the Draft behind Casey Mize), but on the pros, Gilbert quickly began to separate himself, showing superior strikeout stuff even as he fell short of Singer to reach the majors. While Gilbert has innovated his arsenal, adding and refining secondary to support his fastball, Singer remains very much a two-pitch, slider-and-slider pitcher with a strikeout rate that this season has dipped below 20 percent. His growth seems to have stalled, while Gilbert continues to rise.
But today it was Gilbert who wobbled, failing to clear the fifth inning, “the bare minimum” a pitcher can do, he says. In fairness to Logan, Gilbert probably could have gotten through the fifth, but Dominic Canzone made a historically bad read on a ball that allowed Bobby Witt Jr. to hit a Little League home run, making the score 4- 0 and then allowing a single to Michael Massey, Gilbert was lifted so that Tayler Saucedo could immediately get Perez to ground into a double play.
Meanwhile, Brady Singer continued to limit the Mariners lineup with just his two pitches. It turns out that if one of those pitches is a decent slider, you can still make a lot of hay against the Mariners lineup. Singer missed a perfect one in the fifth, but held it until two outs in the seventh, when Dominic Canzone finally got around one of those sliders. Canzone’s swing-happiness that often results in poor contact quality can frustrate me, but he did a great job on a 1-2 count, dropped the barrel to a slider in the left loop zone and fired it (106.1 mph exit velo!) right field.
The Mariners couldn’t do anything with that single, though, and Singer came back for the eighth, looking for the shutout.
Part 3: The Return of the Chaos Ball?
We were talking about this on the podcast we recorded today, but it sure looks like the Orioles are making all the breaks the Mariners made beyond the magical 2021 and 2022 seasons. I’ve said many times that I don’t want to depend on luck or Chaos anymore Ball I just want the Mariners to be reliably good but if the Orioles are able to The secret Chaos Ball themselves win by simply saying “this is ours now”, maybe the Mariners could say something similar in existence.
So much of this team’s offense is feast or famine, so of course they couldn’t just put up a run and finish the shutout and leave the score at a respectable, if still painful, 5-1. No, of course not, they had to make a thrilling comeback, and of course it had to start with Mike Ford coming back to life after seemingly playing off the roster last week, recording the Mariners’ first extra base hit of the day. Singer then hit Dylan Moore with a full-count pitch, ending his day and any CGSO chances — though he could still be part of a combined shutout.
Except no, because the Royals then brought in Carlos Hernandez, who the show informed me is the Royals closer, to try to get a… five out? But even though you can drive closer to the water, you can’t make him close ball games. Josh Rojas singled on the first pitch he saw to load the bases, which set up Julio to do something Julio:
Julio was then stealing third base, so when Eugenio Suarez singled, Julio walked home to pull the Mariners within a run and that became, for me, the most dangerous part of the night: the belief part.
After Justin Topa smartly broke up the Royals in the bottom of the eighth, the Royals threw out a rookie, Austin Cox, in the ninth inning, counting on the fact that the Mariners’ hitters would have very little information on the soft-throwing lefty . Ty France led off with a walk, but leadoff hitter Teoscar Hernandez struggled for nine pitches but grounded out to eliminate pinch runner José Caballero at second. Scott sent in another pinch hitter, Sam Haggerty, in place of Mike Ford, who immediately fell behind 0-2, but battled back to a full count and earned a walk. That prompted Royals manager Matt Quatraro to call up veteran righty Nick Wittgren from the bullpen, so even if the Mariners lost that game, at least he wasn’t a) perfect. b) a non-hitter; c) a shutout; d) a chance for the Royals to skate this game with minimal bullpen usage. Wittgren got DMo to fly out, bringing in Josh Rojas with two outs, and I know what you’re thinking. Josh Rojas again? We’re really testing the limits of even the Chaos Ball here.
Rojas went down on a 0-2 count, but then, walking out of the center field fountains: chaos ensues.
It almost seemed like a foregone conclusion when Julio singled to give the Mariners the go-ahead run, completely erasing a 5-0 deficit that felt like a 15-0 deficit. Somewhere around the corner, the BELIEVE signs began to unfold, crawling back into the light.
Part 4: No, Not That Kind of Chaos Ball/Always a New Way to Break Your Heart
But the thing about Chaos Ball is that it gives and takes. Enter Matt Brass. I have this thing about Matt Brash: within a few pitches I feel like I have a feel for whether that day is going to be Good Matt Brash or Bad Matt Brash. Unfortunately, today
Forgive me for not writing all the details. If you need them, they’re here. For the third straight day, the Mariners came within striking distance of a win and didn’t win. For the second day in a row, a new player for the team came within inches of a folk hero moment to secure a win, and didn’t. The thing about new faces is that these are new faces for the baseball gods to poke a pie into, I guess. At this point, the callus is thick, but three nearby losses, in three separate agonizing ways, go just under the skin. Maybe I should have stuck with the Emily in Paris themed recap after all and had some fun with Stupid Little Hat.
Oh yes. Stupid Hat. A satisfying watch of hate. Wait a minute-
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