Game 162 –

marc w · October 3, 2021 at 12:03 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Tyler Anderson vs. Reid Detmers, 12:10pm

It’s perhaps the most anticipated Mariners game in years, and perhaps the best day for baseball fans since what, 2011? We’ve seen amazing single games in the playoffs, but it’s been a long time since a wild card race has had this many teams still fighting, and MLB’s made the brilliant decision to start all of these games simultaneously. This is the opening round of March Madness, but baseball, with a playoff spot on the line. The Yankees loss made up for the M’s loss the previous day, and improbably, the M’s are still alive.

With an absolutely massive come-from-behind win after what looked like a crushing 3-run HR gave the Angels the lead, the M’s have given themselves a chance. I’ve not seen the kind of pandemonium at the stadium and outside of it *at a Mariners game* since the last M’s playoff series. Felix’s last game comes sort of close, but that’s just a reminder that the last several things that have brought a huge crowd to their feet, urging the team on, summoning belief, have all been sad occasions.

Underneath all of this euphoria, this is a sad occasion as well: this is almost certainly Kyle Seager’s last game in a Mariners uniform, and it’s another reminder that despite this group’s undeniable camaraderie, a ton of moves are coming in the offseason. The least heralded and perhaps most important deadline deal in the majors is the one that brought Tyler Anderson to Seattle. They’ve already turned to him to save a season that could’ve slipped away, and they’ll do it again today. He’s now one of the bigger decisions the M’s will have to make this offseason. The M’s have more rotation slots to fill than they expected, with the M’s a lock to turn down Yusei Kikuchi’s option (though Kikuchi could be back if he exercises his one-year player option), and after Justus Sheffield’s disastrous 2021. Anderson’s steadying half-season was critical as the M’s playoff shot changed slightly from 100% pure luck to something more like a decent team getting hot at the right time.

If there’s any concern for the game, and it’s hard to even think about concerns having been gifted this unbelievable baseball holiday, it’s that Anderson’s worst game of the year came against this Angels club a bit over a week ago. He’ll have to be much sharper, of course, but he’ll also be able to lean on his hit-and-homer-suppressing stadium. That context will help the Angels’ Reid Detmers, too, but the rookie appears to need a lot more help than park effects can provide. Detmers rise has been meteoric; after the Angels’ made him their first round pick in 2020, he breezed through the minors in just over 60 IP, reaching the majors in early August. At AA/AAA, his curve/fastball combination was nearly untouchable, and he K’s 108 in those 62 IP. Somewhat similar to Logan Gilbert perhaps, his breaking ball wasn’t quite the bat-missing weapon at the highest level, at least initially. Gilbert eventually refined his slider and has shown he belongs. Detmers hasn’t yet done the same with his big breaking, slow curve or his harder slider. Detmers is giving up too much hard contact, and thus he’s given up 23 hits in 19 innings, including 5 dingers in his 4 starts. Detmers is the Angels’ future, and I understand wanting to see more of him, particularly after an IL stint, but this is pretty good match-up for the M’s. It doesn’t hurt that Detmers is a lefty, giving the M’s Mitch Haniger and Ty France the platoon advantage.

I think I’m not alone in thinking that last night’s game was the happiest I’ve been watching an M’s game in over a decade. It hasn’t swept away all of the concerns I have for the team in 2022, but it’s shown how compelling baseball can be, and how a chase like this builds tension over weeks and months, making moments like Haniger’s single unbelievably cathartic. I don’t much care what happens in the wild card game, should the M’s make it, and I don’t have a preference who or where they play. I just feel like we’ve been given a gift, and I’m grateful for every minute of this. Despite all of the three-way and four-way tie scenarios, despite all of the intricacies of the tiebreakers, the M’s have made things delightfully simple. Just win, and you might get to play again. Win that, and you get to play more. Repeat. This season looked like it was over right as it began, when James Paxton’s elbow gave out a bit more than an inning into his season. That it hasn’t, and that it’s gone the bizarre way it has, is a testament to Scott Servais and this club’s collective belief. One of the hard things about blogging about the Seattle bloody Mariners all these years is the way time compresses and erases so much – the years run together, the bad and mediocre teams had moments that I thought I’d always remember, but they get buried by another 5 years of falling short. Whatever happens today, I can honestly say I will never forget this team and this year.

1: Crawford, SS
2: France, 1B
3: Haniger, RF
4: Seager, 3B
5: Toro, 2B
6: Torrens, DH
7: Kelenic, CF
8: Raleigh, C
9: Moore, LF
SP: Anderson

Toronto hosts Baltimore, as Hyun-Jin Ryu squares off against Bruce Zimmermann. New York turns to Jameson Taillon against the Rays’ Michael Wacha and presumably more of their bullpen of death. The Red Sox have Chris Sale starting in DC against Joan Adon, a youngster making his MLB debut.

Go M’s. And also, Go Nats, Go Rays, and Go Orioles.


17 Responses to “Game 162 –”

  1. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 1:10 pm

    Yeah, last night’s game was even better than the comeback against Houston. And here we are with the chance for another thriller with them being down 2 runs as I write this.

  2. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 2:00 pm

    Well, this isn’t going as planned, but at least there’s some fight in ’em.

  3. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 2:29 pm

    The Angels are having a game that is typical of a Mariner win this season.

    Go figure.

  4. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 3:36 pm

    7-5 Boston, top of the 9th.

    This one may suddenly not matter.

  5. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2021 3:43 pm

    Going into this game, I looked at the starters and thought “looks good for us!” Oh well.

    But still, meaningful baseball at the end the season? I’ll take it, even if they don’t manage another amazing come-from-behind win today.

  6. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2021 3:53 pm

    Crap. Red Sox win.

  7. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2021 3:53 pm

    I think Kyle Seager is crying. Completely understandable.

    Thanks for everything, Sea-Boss!

    Classy move by the M’s to give Seager his moment – and third base (literally).

  8. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 3:58 pm

    Good to see them give him a moment on the field.

  9. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2021 4:06 pm

    Haha “why they play the game” – I recall Cameron (and many others) thinking it was Seager’s NC teammate who was going to make his indelible mark on the Mariners, while Seager was – at best – going to be run of the mill. But Ackley’s long gone, while Seager made third base his own for what seems like forever now.

  10. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 4:18 pm

    What a season. Really, I can’t complain.

  11. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 4:37 pm

    Still waiting for Kikuchi’s send-off…

  12. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2021 4:44 pm

    Kikuchi has a player option, doesn’t he? Hard to imagine he doesn’t exercise it.

  13. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 5:25 pm

    I don’t think he will. He knows he’ll be demoted to the bullpen or traded if he does. I would think he’s more likely to go somewhere he can start, even if that’s Japan.

  14. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2021 5:48 pm

    On the other hand, he has thirteen million reasons to invoke the option. 😀

  15. Stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2021 7:27 pm

    True, and never say never, but I just have a hard time seeing him stick around, regardless. Bad contract swap maybe?

  16. heyoka on October 11th, 2021 5:53 am

    I’m thinking of my 1986 tops baseball cards.

    Offensively, Kelenic’s first season reminds me of Rusty Staub’s first season with Houston.
    Kyle Seager’s season looks almost like Dave Kingman’s seasons with the A’s, or Gorman Thomas’ last 30+ hr season with the M’s. Meaning, steep decline next year. But I’m usually wrong about these things. I thought Nelson Cruz was going to be a bust for the M’s and instead he rocked da house.

    There is hope for next season, but it feels like that spring training level of hope, where many uncertain things have to break right.

    This year’s M’s were two hitters away from having what would appear to me (someone can check this) a record breaking number of 100+ strikeout hitters. On one hand, that’s alarming, on another it’s a testament to players staying in the line up.

    I really wish I had more interest in playoff baseball, but I can’t figure out a team to get behind. Giants/Rays I guess.

  17. Stevemotivateir on October 14th, 2021 4:23 pm

    Does anybody think LHRP is a need for Seattle this offseason?

    I don’t think so myself. Having an alternative to Misiewicz is fine, but I’m not so sure bringing in a lefty-specialist is really that necessary with the 3-batter rule and the success of some of the RHRPs vs. LHHs.

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