The Mariners Played Some Wild Games In Minnesota

Credit where it’s due: the Mariners aren’t just rolling over and dying. They’re fighting the good fight. It just seems like they’re in the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs and they’re Mr. Orange with a gunshot wound to the stomach in the back of a fleeing automobile. The bank robbery? All of our time and enjoyment, being stolen by a team still playing .500 ball.

We always like to look for turning points in a season. We like it so much, we try to recognize them AS they’re happening. Get enough people to agree at the same time, and you build a consensus (which is how you get the narrative of the brawl down in Anaheim initiating our 2022 hot streak). I’m as guilty of it as anyone, even though I tend to scoff when people say a certain come-from-behind win is going to propel this team to greater heights. We’ve seen enough evidence that no one victory is going to swing momentum (mostly because momentum isn’t an actual thing that exists).

But, I’ll admit, the final nail in the coffin sure felt like it was Jarred Kelenic’s injury. He had cooled off considerably after his scorching first month, but he was still one of our more productive hitters, and taking him out of an already-anemic lineup felt like flirting with disaster.

I don’t know if you had a chance to go to the All Star Game in Seattle. As I mentioned previously, I did not, but I went to the game the Saturday after the All Star Break, and they were still selling a lot of ASG gear. I bought a little pin, and a $15 copy of the All Star Game program. I like that kind of memorabilia; I’m a dork. The thing is, it’s got impressive heft to it, coming in at 240 pages. And there’s a lot of great articles inside!

There’s a lot of stuff about this season in general – for the casual, non-Seattle fans in attendance – but then there’s a ton of Mariners-centric information. There’s a nice article about our prior two times hosting the game, an article about Griffey and the Home Run Derby, a PHENOMENAL article about the coin flip that decided home field advantage for the 1995 Mariners in their 1-game playoff for the A.L. West, an oral history on The Double, an interview with Julio Rodriguez, a little blurb on the Seattle Pilots, and a couple of profiles on Ichiro and Griffey. All great stuff! It took me two sittings to finish reading everything; well worth the $15 if you ask me.

Anyway, I’m reminded of all of this to point out a quote from the oral history of The Double. They talk to Griffey, Joey Cora, Dan Wilson, Rick Rizzs, our third base coach, and of course, the man himself, Edgar. Anyway, in the intro to that article, it goes into how Griffey injured himself earlier in ’95; I think a lot of people forget about that. He missed all of June, all of July, and half of August, before returning for the stretch run to help us complete the comeback. Joey Cora said, “In a weird way, it helped us when Junior got hurt because we kept going and fighting and believing in ourselves. Different people stepped up and played well. So, when Junior came back, we were ready to take off.”

I’m not trying to sit here and say that Jarred Kelenic and Griffey are the same. But, maybe his injury isn’t the worst thing in the world we all expected. Maybe, in a similarly-weird way, it actually takes some of the pressure off of everyone else. With everyone writing the Mariners off (myself included), they can just go out and play and let the chips fall where they may.

I dunno. The M’s are 5-2 since Kelenic’s injury. Really, a couple of bad breaks from being 7-0.

As the title suggests, this Twins series over in Minnesota was fuckin’ wild! On Monday, we were down 2-1 heading into the 9th inning, looking like we’d waste yet another quality start from Luis Castillo (7 innings, 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 9 strikeouts), but then the craziest damn thing happened. With two outs, Cal Raleigh muscled a single into center off of their closer. Then, Kolten Wong of all people hit a 2-run bomb to take a 3-2 lead.

Now THAT felt like a potential turning point for the season! Until the bottom of the 9th.

That’s when Bad Andres Munoz showed up again, giving up back-to-back hard-hit doubles to tie the game. He got it to extras, but the damage was done. Unfortunately, so was our offense, as the heart of the order (Julio, Suarez, and Teoscar) went down without a fight, unable to even get the runner in from second. The Twins made quick work getting their ghost runner in, and the 4-3 loss was annoying to all (M’s fans).

Nothing will ever be crazier than Kolten Wong hitting a come-from-behind and go-ahead homer with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, but Tuesday’s comeback victory came close.

George Kirby was OFF in this one, giving up 4 runs in the first; he only managed 4 innings pitched before being pulled. Heading into the top of the 8th, we were down 6-2, and looking to quietly fade into oblivion. Instead, a 4-spot tied the game. At that point, it seemed like we were destined for another heartbreaking 1-run loss, but we piled on three more runs in the 9th, and won the game 9-7.

Julio had two homers, Cade Marlowe had his first Major League homer. Teoscar and Suarez both had big moments, and J.P. got in on the action before taking a curveball off the knee that necessitated him missing at least one game (we’ll see if he returns Friday as projected).

Not to be out-done, on Wednesday the Mariners mounted an 8-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th before giving up a 4-spot. Bryce Miller had it until he didn’t, finishing with 5.2 innings and 6 runs. Part of that was on Matt Brash, who tried to get him out of the inning and was getting hit around pretty hard. I REALLY thought we were going to blow it, but the bullpen managed to take care of business the final three innings, including Good Andres Munoz slamming the door shut in the 9th.

Dylan Moore had two homers, Julio had another homer and two doubles, and there was just solid production up and down the lineup.

In other news, the Mariners traded for DFA’d reliever Trent Thornton from the Blue Jays, for a AAA infielder I’ve never heard of. Trent has largely struggled at the Major League level, but we’ll see what the Mariners are able to unlock. Can’t have enough bullpen projects!

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