Mariners forget how to fish, loose 8-5

Have you ever been catfished? I don’t mean in the online dating sense of the word, but rather in terms of literal catfish. You’re out fishing, you get a huge bite, but as you reel it in, you realize that it’s just a catfish, not the huge black drum you were hoping to eat for dinner.

Robbie Ray is a catfish. Signing the reigning Cy Young winner is supposed to be a huge deal. But, as we’ve seen, there’s not really much meat on him, much like a catfish. I would further contend that Robbie is specifically a gafftop catfish, because he has a good chance to poison the games he appears in. Robbie has a tendency to get blown up. Other Mariners pitchers earn losses by giving up 2 runs in the 3rd and then not getting any support from the offense. When Robbie Ray earns losses, he earns them. In half of his 20 starts, he’s given up at least 3 runs or 5 hits.

And so it was today. As a fisherman, his bait today was fantastic, everyone wanted a bite. He couldn’t set the hook, or in this case pull the string, giving up a home run to Altuve on his first pitch, followed by a home run to Peña on his seventh pitch. Not a great first inning for Robbie.

The second and third innings were also not great. In the second, he gave up five hits in a row, the third a double, to make the score 5-0. Those hits came in all different flavors, from seeing-eye grounders, to pop-ups that somehow became ground-rule doubles, to shallow fly balls that Dylan Moore couldn’t quite get to. And the first out of the inning? It wasn’t pretty either.

After an RBI groundout in the third brought the score to 6-0, Robbie finished the inning and his day was done. The catfish was chucked off the pier and returned to the sea.

The bullpen was much meatier, with Penn Murfee retiring the six he faced (with four strikeouts), Tommy Milone having two good innings (and one bad one), Matt Festa getting unlucky, and Andres Muñoz pitching the 9th, including setting the new record for the fastest Mariners pitch in the Statcast era.

Milone’s bad inning was the 8th, where he have up a double, and then walked two to load the bases with one out. Festa replaced him and quickly got the second out, but then Maldonado, hit a flyball to no man’s land that touched grass and gave the catcher two RBIs.

In terms of fish here at the gulf coast, I would say that Murfee is a redfish (dependable, sturdy), Milone is a black drum (similar, but have sharp teeth that hurt you sometimes), Festa is a mullet (not the best catch, but good in certain places), and Muñoz is a rainbow trout (flashy, but also with good substance).

If you can’t tell, I’ve started getting back into fishing recently. It isn’t going well.

A couple of weeks ago I made all the requisite purchases, set up my rigs, and set out for the water. After about five hours I had caught zero (0) fish. Then, a week later, I managed to wind up on the LL 10-Day IL when I fell into an oyster patch and cut up my leg and finger, narrowly avoiding stitches. The next time I went out fishing, I only caught small gafftop catfish, a nearly got poisoned by one as I attempted to unhook it. Safe to say that I may not be the best fisherman in the world.

Neither, I would suggest, are the Mariners hitters. They all went fishing, by that I mean chased pitches, with Suárez, Torrens, and Haggerty striking out twice each. It took until Abraham Toro, my beloved, in the 7th for a Mariner to reach second base. Toro was only in the game in the first place because Winker was pulled after running into Jeremy Peña on an infield hit. Peña, forgetting where he was, jogged right into Winker’s path without paying attention, and Jesse’s ankle paid the price. According to Scott, he’s day to day, and their hoping to keep him off the IL.

Robbie Ray may have company as today’s catfish, since Peña also attempted to poison the Mariners. This, of course, comes after Julio’s wrist injury in Texas, so the outfield is looking fairly rough right now.

“But Jake! If the Mariners offense was bad, how did they score 5 runs?” I hear you screaming at me. Well, the way any team scores. The trouble some hits together. In the 7th, Toro walked, and D-Mo hit a single to put two on and set Sam Haggerty up for a 2-run triple. JP then doubled to score him to put the game within reach.

And then in the 8th, Kyle Lewis walked, and Abraham Toro, our beloved, followed that up with his eighth home run of the year, and his first since this time last month. The last time Toro hit a home run, the Mariners immediately started a 14 game winning streak. Just saying.

After the dong, Santana walked and Dylan was beaned, to bring the tying run to the plate in Sam Haggerty. Who promptly struck out. And this is where I think we should have a discussion. Does bring the tying run to the plate count as a close game? Or does the game need to have the vibe of a close game? Because literally from the first pitch, this game didn’t feel very winnable, but simply stating the facts like this make it seem like it was. I am a little annoyed, since I planned on just making this recap photos of fish with Mariners’ heads edited on, but then they had to go and be “respectable” or whatever. It’s a shame, too. I’m sure you all wanted to see what Eugenio Suárez would look like as a bluefin tuna.

So the Mariners lost, but losing against Houston doesn’t hurt too much. They’re a good team, and this was always going to be a tough series. I think the positive spin for the Mariners is that these upcoming games against the Astros and Yankees are pretty much the last “good teams” they will have to play against in the regular season. Combine that with the other teams in competition with Seattle for the Wild Card losing today, and this game doesn’t really mean much. Maybe it’s ok that the M’s are eating their veggies before their dessert. Here’s hoping they reel in a couple big ones against the Rangers tomorrow, though.

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