Today I went for a swim in Seattle’s Coleman Pool, a saltwater public swimming pool in the best place on earth, Lincoln Park. Saltwater, if you didn’t know, makes you extra light and bouncy in the water. For hours I swam around in the water feeling like a misguided mermaid, lighter than air, floating like a balloon. Then it was time to disembark, and back on land I felt heavier than ever—like my limbs were made of lead, my legs magnetized by the Earth’s core.
This is what it feels like playing the Astros after the Mariners rise against lesser competition: a high that’s suddenly cut short, a somber reminder of how earthbound we are. The endless feeling of moving through quicksand when playing the Astros.
It was a Verlander start in Houston, so you already know how it went: The Mariners did little to nothing against Verlander until late in the game when he was inexplicably still in the game despite a double-digit lead over the Mariners and Dusty Baker finally pulled him against him reluctantly. Verlander has seen the Mariners more than any other club and he knows exactly how to attack them. The Mariners’ “swing early and often” approach was ineffective, but then again, so was when they tried waiting it out in counts. Justin Verlander owns the Mariners, and until his body says enough, it will. These are hard truths, but true nonetheless.
Robbie Ray, on the other hand, was extremely knowledgeable for the Astros, who seemed completely unfazed by anything he threw at them. They put down every pitch they had to put down and hit every pitch they had to hit, building a 4-0 lead against Ray before he even finished the third inning — which he didn’t because at that point Servais and company deftly pulled the plug and sent out a string of pitchers ranging from Penn Murfee (admirable and useful as always) to Matt Brash (was yelled at by Cal Raleigh) to Tommy Milone (horrible) to Ryan Borucki (less terrible, still not great) to Luis Torrens (kinda just gave up one run, maybe this is his way to find more playing time?).
Perhaps that’s why it was announced mid-game that the Mariners had acquired Luis Castillo from the Reds to bolster the famed Cincinnati-Seattle pipeline. Personally, I’m very disappointed that it took both Marte and Arroyo to land Castillo — but that’s by far the minority opinion among Lookout Landing staff. At the very least, the Mariners have now hopefully acquired the ace-level pitcher they thought they were going to get in Ray, but which hasn’t turned up for that designation at times this season, as today’s outing is another example.
But anyway. Mariners blowing their doors off the Astros lineup is nothing new. Justin Verlander gives Mariners batters a swirly, that’s nothing new. Let’s talk about something new and interesting:
Hello CalRaleigh! I don’t know how closely you’ve been following those last two games, but Cal Raleigh was SPICY. He was so angry about yesterday’s goal against Muñoz that he threw off his mask in disgust. Despite trying to hold hands with Robbie Ray against the Astros, things didn’t go well tonight. And at this point our CalBoy HAS HAD IT. He does NOT want Matt Brash to shake him and he doesn’t want that. He wants to THROW Brash IN THE ZONE and his F’N PITCH, and he gives his rookmate some stern but necessary words. There wasn’t much to be excited about in this game, but Cal Raleigh’s growing confidence on and off the plate is absolutely a story to watch. Now he’s getting a new challenge working alongside Luis Castillo and personally I’m excited to see what happens next as Cal continues to take more of a driver’s seat role with his various battery mates.