Low expectations always have a way of delivering fun returns. With truly dominant teams, or repeat playoff participants, often wins elicit relief more than genuine happiness. When your team has a completely new roster stuffed with projects and castoffs, though, it's easier to approach calmly.
Surely none of the actual players on the team think they suck. Few professional athletes will start the season with the logical negativity fans and media tossing teams. But they have internet access. These guys are familiar with television. They make thousands of dollars a year, after all. Nobody, rightfully, was pressuring the Mariners to do much of anything, and the Mariners understood that.
That's what made a 1
If this series was serving as the first test of Seattle's realness, they passed several areas of the rubric. While each April carries the qualifier of extreme earliness, getting swept at a division rival could certainly have taken the winds out of the Mariners sails. The team started the day with pride and a definite mindset, as the Mariners showed particular effort in the game's first third.
Mitch Haniger wasted absolutely no time righting the course to victory, knocking his third career leadoff home run and steering both win Probability, dinger streaks and team confidence in the right direction.
After three innings Seattle guarded a 2-0 lead, with a Domingo Santana RBI double notching the second tally. In striking out six times through three frames and clustering hits on patient at bats, the Mariners pushed Gerrit Cole's pitch count north of 50, even if looking helpless in some of the K's.
Cole's counterpart, meanwhile, exercised excellent efficiency. During the game's primary stage, Marco Gonzales has several outs in the first two pitches of record appearances. Most if not all of the Astros' heaters are some form of terrifying, and Marco was able to neutralize their beast of a lineup by using its aggressiveness against it. His knee-hugging locations and low-velocity repertoire dulled the Astros into weak contact and frustrated returns to the dugout. Gonzales' cutter and changeup moved late and discreetly, like a tardy high school student trying to avoid their teacher's watchful eye. The diminutive lefty even breezed through eight straight hitters at one point, stretching in the sixth inning.
Gonzales goes into his first trouble The afternoon by issuing Tony Kemp and leadoff walk begin the sixth. Brandon Brennan's free pass sentinel for the bullpen rubber in preparation for a potentially messy cleanup. The Astros would immediately receive three runners, just like a ROOT Sports graphic flashed by Michael Brantley's gargantuan success with the bases loaded. Right on the cue, the Bellevue-born baby barreled a single into right field, scoring Kemp and José Altuve. Two filibustering motions followed as pickoff attempts followed, and Marco then gave way to Brennan.
Seattle's Rule 5 picked maybe best reliever (?) Got Carlos Correa looking at a two-strike changeup, briefly defanging the Astros rally. He slayed the entire rally one hitter later, earning a massive swing and miss with his deft off-speed stuff. Yuli Gurriel's twirling swing silenced the threat, and the Mariners entered the game's third third at two, Euro-stepping danger on their way.
Houston, defended our Euro-step well and sent things the other way. Brennan re-emerged from the top of the seventh where he bumped into Aledmys Diaz. I will let the power of motion pictures and Jack Dorsey show you what happened next because I am lazy.
On Saturday evening my roommate came back from a day of skiing and duty, as only an unshackled 24-year-old can, we'd have a stranger staying with us tonight. My roommate explained that with her at the mountain, and she's road tripping from Tahoe to Canada and back. As he is also pet-sitting for a co-worker, my roommate offered up his bed (which will be unused as the cat), leading to jump at the opportunity to sleep somewhere other than a Toyota Corolla. She also had a dog and some PBR.
She is, and I say this as endearingly as possible, what you might call a ski bum.
No later than 30 minutes after hearing this information for the first time, the driver was in my apartment, sharing beers, smiling, and plopping a dog bed in our living room. After some brief interactions to assure she was murderous or thieving, we went out to Ballard, linked with some friends, and had ourselves a Saturday. This morning and the dog — who was purity on four legs — woke up around 10:30. We pieced the puzzles of our night together through internet search historically and food delivery receipts, and then we up with my roommate for an overpriced brunch, because millennials are nothing if not on fire.
In roughly 18 hours we learned of each other's existence, snuggled here, danced, praised Cardi B, found the bottom of several cans, laughed, edited, suggested a route to Whistler, and said goodbye. The drifter packed up her car and left town with the swiftness, precision, and nonchalance of someone who has done that before, and will probably do it again tomorrow.
It was the type of experience that helps you learn about yourself. Peering into a life you think you like to live, but are unsure because it would be so new and drastic. Maybe if you have money differently, maybe you took more risks or tried new things, mayyybe then you could do it. But for now, you're admiring it as they continue the tour, getting better at it with every stop and new leaf turned over.
That's what watching the Mariners play the Astros feels like.
You are doing well, and like the current vibe. Then someone shows up and injects new energy, reminding you that things can be done differently. They come through, they do their thing, they leave. The Drifters — whether it's a skier and a bulldog or the Houston Astros — have their own unique paths that led them to where they are today. Even if it looks, feels, and differently than your life, it's their version of fun. And sometimes, admittedly, it comes to your expense (RIP to the $ 30 I spent on Domino's at one in the morning).