Today I went for a swim at Seattle’s Coleman Pool, a public saltwater pool in the best place in the world, Lincoln Park. Salt water, if you didn’t know, makes you lighter and bouncy in the water. For hours I spun in the water, feeling like a misplaced mermaid, lighter than air, floating like a balloon. Then it was time to step outside, and back on earth, I felt heavier than ever – as if my limbs were made of lead, my legs magnetized to the Earth’s core.
That’s what it feels like to play the Astros after the Mariners soar against lesser competition: a suddenly curtailed high, a dismal reminder of our connection to the land. The endless feeling of moving through the quicksand of playing the Astros.
It was a Verlander debut in Houston, so you already know how it went: The Mariners did next to nothing against Verlander until late in the game, when he was inexplicably still in the game despite a lead double digits against the Mariners, and Dusty Baker ends up reluctantly pulling him. 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 again, so did when they attempted to wait for him on the count. 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 eminently known to the Astros, who seemed utterly unfazed by anything he threw at them. They laid off all the pitches they needed to lay off and hit all the pitches they needed to hit and built a 4-0 lead against Ray before he cleared the third inning – which he didn’t, because at that point Servais and Co. cleverly pulled the plug and sent a list of pitchers that covered the entire range of Penn Murfee (admirable and helpful, as always) to Matt Brash (s got yelled at by Cal Raleigh) to Tommy Milone (terrible) to Ryan Borucki (less terrible, still not great) to Luis Torrens (somehow he only gave up one run , maybe it’s his way of finding more playing time?).
Perhaps that’s why halfway through the game it was announced that the Mariners had acquired Luis Castillo from the Reds, cementing that infamous Cincinnati-Seattle pipeline. Personally, I’m extremely disappointed that it took both Marte and Arroyo to land Castillo, but that’s by far the minority opinion among the Lookout Landing staff. At the very least, the Mariners have now hopefully acquired the ace-level pitcher they thought they’d get in Ray, but has at times failed to show up for that designation this season, with tonight’s outing being one another example.
But whatever. Sailors getting knocked out of doors by the Astros lineup is nothing new. Justin Verlander giving Mariners batsmen a swirly is nothing new. Let’s talk about something new and interesting:
Hello Cal Raleigh! I don’t know how much you’ve followed these last two games, but Cal Raleigh has been SPICY. He was so angry at yesterday’s hit on Muñoz that he threw off his mask in disgust. Despite trying to hold Robbie Ray against the Astros, things didn’t go well tonight. And at this point, our CalBoy got it. He does NOT want Matt Brash to shake him, and he doesn’t. He wants Brash IN THE ZONE and THROW HIS F’N PITCH, and he gives his fellow rook some harsh but necessary words. There wasn’t much to be happy about in this game, but Cal Raleigh’s growing confidence at the plate and behind is absolutely a storyline to watch. Now he’ll take on a new challenge working with Luis Castillo, and I’m personally excited to see what happens next as Cal continues to take on more of a driving role with his various drum mates.