Mariners are feet away from 4-2 win over Astros

The good news is that the Mariners have just three games left against the Astros this year (until october). The bad news is that they lost this one.

I know I usually end these recaps with a “words of wisdom” section about “baseball seasons are long, individual losses don’t matter.” But today I want to face this.

The Mariners, bless their hearts, sit in the second of three Wild Card slots, and the two teams behind the loss tonight as well. Would a victory have been good to widen the gap? Sure. Absolutely. But in the context of the whole season, losing tonight is good. We knew this road trip would be tough. Playing seven games against the Astros and Yankees sucks. But after that, the Mariners have the best chance of going all the way. So let’s keep that in mind as we talk about tonight’s game.

In my last recap, Altuve hit a home run on the first pitch. Luckily, he didn’t do that again tonight. We didn’t escape the first inning, but a double from Yordan Alvarez set up Alex Bregman for a home run just over Crawford’s boxes to give the Astros an early lead.

Logan Gilbert didn’t really have his best thing on the mound tonight. He only had one clean inning in his 6 working innings, and he continued to increase his shift and slider, without helping Cal. But at the end of the day, that home run to Bregman was the only time he gave up a hit. Not easy keeping the Astros just two runs away, especially since he’s had to contend with a fair amount of traffic. He was also very excited to get that strikeout at the end of his outing.

Penn Murfee came in relief in the seventh, who relied on his double seam a bit more than usual today, getting some sweet flyball takedowns with it, with a tasty little K from Maldonado mixed in. Andres was less good, but we’ll get to that later.

Sea bats have (sometimes) existed. JP got two hits from balls he pushed to the third base line, Cal hit a nice little double, and even Adam Frazier got going with a nice little line single, the kind of hit for which he had signed.

Non-hits were more interesting though. Here’s the Mariner’s batted ball spray chart, with a few highlighted.

it’s like they try to avoid the boxes
baseball scholar

As we learned from Bregman in the first, it’s very easy to get Houston a home run if you just hit him in left field. Or you can at least, like Ty did in the sixth, bounce it off the dash at the base of the boxes. You’d think this park was made for guys like Julio and Eugenio, right-handed hitters who hit fly balls. But no, some 400ft flyouts in the center for them. Maybe they’re too good at lining up the ball for this park. And then you have Adam Frazier, leaning on a fastball and sending it as far as he can, only to have Kyle Tucker look bored as he takes homer off Adam.

A few more inches, both on Ty’s single and Adam’s flight, and the Mariners and Astros could still be playing right now. That’s how baseball is, I guess.

So where did these two Mariner races come from? Well, they both came in the third inning. Frazier opened things up with that aforementioned single, and a walk to Dylan Moore brought Julio to the plate with two and none. Jose Urquidy decided not to do what Jon Gray did yesterday, and just nibbled the outside corner, walking Julio five pitches.

Ty walked around with the bases loaded and no outs, and hit that sack fly on the spray board above, which was almost a problem for center fielder Jake Meyers. Both Julio and DMo progressed on the play, so when Santana hit a ground ball directly to Gurriel, there was no chance of a double play, which left another run to score. Eugenio retired, ending the inning and the good offense of the day.

And what about the other two races for Houston? Good.

Andrés Muñoz came in for the 8th and simply had no command. He leaned on his fastball a little more than usual and just couldn’t spot it. He hit the first batter, brushing Gurriel on his hand. Yuli then stole second with Cal reversing the transfer, letting him in without throwing.

It came back to haunt the M’s as Bregman, menacing as he is, hit a fly ball into that odd area just to the right of Crawford’s boxes to tag Gurriel. Maybe if Yuli was still at the start, he might not have been able to score, because he would have had to wait and see if the ball would actually drop. It didn’t matter anyway, as Kyle Tucker’s groundout moved Bregman to third overall.

Which allowed him to score on another missed shot by Muñoz. He pulled away from Cal, who really suffered behind the plate, and Bregman scored, colliding with Andrés on the play and injuring his leg; no word on if it’s anything major. Muñoz pitched the rest of the inning, so he looks good. Either way, two runs were scored and the Mariners had only one inning to make up for. As is customary in recent games against the Astros, they brought the tying run home late in the game, but couldn’t pass anything.

Thus, the Mariners lost. No matter. Their big fight this season is not with the Astros. Sorry to Jay Buhner stans reading this, but I don’t think we’re coming for the split this year. The Wild Card is good, though. I think we could all represent a little more Wild in our lives. No wild pitches, please.

Leave a Comment