The score of today’s game doesn’t really reflect the utter domination the Mariners enacted over the Angels in every phase of the game. The Mariners creamed the Angels in every facet of today’s game in a total team effort, which felt especially satisfying after a few games where they’ve eked out one-run wins, in a month where they’ve leaned heavily on their pitching as the offense has flooded. It felt extra-especially satisfying to record this victory against the despicable Angels at their home park to secure a series sweep that would further lift the Mariners in the Wild Card standings while cheerfully burying the Angels deeper in the AL West cellar. An all-around fun time was had, and at this point I must say, for all of my whining about the YouTube game, the actual broadcast team was solid: Yonder Alonso, especially, injected some good insight, the stats presented were mostly helpful and useful, and obviously, the mic’d up segments were excellent, with Adam Frazier and Logan Gilbert—not the first two guys I would think of in this role, necessarily—both showing well on a national stage. Maybe having the Alt-Cast of celebrities and influencers, where I spent approximately thirty seconds before clicking away so fast I left a smoking Kate-sized hole behind me, helps take some of the pressure off YouTube trying to make baseball Cool For The Kids and lets the rest of us enjoy some baseball in peace. Or as much peace as you can have when there’s a live chat scrolling by with all the internet’s hottest baseball takes. Look, it was good for a YouTube gameokay.
Anyway, back to the game. Let’s talk about all these phases of domination, because they are enjoyable to number off.
1) Starting pitching
The Mariners started George Kirby, who continues to show signs of improvement and growth as he goes along in his young career. The Angels clearly watched some film of Kirby against the Orioles, who were ambushing his fastball early in the count, but Kirby’s fastball location today was excellent, so he was able to elicit a lot of foul balls and weak contact along with some fairly quick innings from the swing-happy Angels. He didn’t rack up the whiffs like he maybe has in the past—he got no whiffs on the 19 sinker/two-seamers he threw, and only one on the slider—but he was able to use his curveball to great effect today , getting the highest CSW% on that pitch (aside from his changeup, but he only threw four of those today), and was able to lead off that pitch.
He also had this absolute gem of an at-bat with Ohtani in the third inning, when the Angels had climbed on the board for the first time on a pair of annoying hits from Andrew Velazquez and David Fletcher, bringing up Ohtani with the Mariners now protecting just a three-run lead. Kirby put Ohtani away on three pitches, starting by challenging him with a fastball, then running a curveball in on his hands for a foul, and then executing this absolutely perfect pitch:
Ohtani would get Kirby back in the fifth with an RBI single followed by a double from certified Mariner-killer Luis Rengifo to give the Angels their second and third runs of the day, but that wouldn’t be the thing that frustrated Kirby the most on the day: that would be in the sixth inning, when after getting two quick outs he walked Steven Duggar, causing Scott Servais to summon Penn Murfee from the ‘pen to finish out the sixth. It was kind of a disappointing ending to a strong start for Kirby—in a game that was so satisfying on so many levels, that’s the one missing piece to this game—but it’s good to have a goal to shoot for next outing, right?
Touki Toussaint drew the start for the Angels, which bums me out because I hate rooting against Touki, who became good friends with several Mariners players while playing with the Peoria Javelinas in the AFL, and also because I really believe in Touki as a pitching talent but he’s currently in maybe the worst possible organization to help him become the best pitcher he can be. Free Touki. Like Kirby, Touki also leaned heavily on his curveball, eliciting some ugly whiffs from Mariners batters, but he also struggled with his command, striking out three but walking four (and hitting a batter) and giving up four runs in just 2.2 innings. Which leads us quickly into…
2) The offense
An 11-7 score might not suggest the Mariners so handily outplayed the Angels offensively, especially considering the Mariners are at full strength and the Angels are Shohei Ohtani and the Sholite Vocal Band, but this felt like a pretty decisive offensive victory by the Mariners. As noted above, they pounced on Toussaint in the third inning for four runs, starting, as most good things do these days, when Sam Haggerty took first base on a hit by pitch and then just as quickly stole second. Two more walks loaded the bases up for Mitch Haniger, who doesn’t care much for tigers, especially not NOBLETIGERS:
The real offensive trade deadline pickup was with us all along, it turns out. Haniger absolutely scalded the ball today; this was the hardest-hit ball of the game, at 108.7 MPH, but Haniger had three of the game’s top ten hardest-hit balls today:
That would bring in one run, then a bases-loaded walk to JP Crawford would bring in another, before Carlos Santana did what he does best and came up clutch with another two-run single to stake the Mariners to a 4-0 lead.
But the Mariners offense would go on to score so many more runs! So many more. Mike Mayers, who looks like metaverse Andrew Scott, would be saddled with long relief duties after Toussaint was lifted, and Eugenio Suárez greeted him very rudely in the fifth (with Haniger aboard, because of course he was):
Cal thought that looked like fun, so he got in on it, as well, with a solo shot of his own to make it 7-1.
And so it would go. Every time the Angels scratched across a few more runs, the Mariners answered back, stretching their lead. The Angels got two more runs in the fifth? Birthday boy Jesse Winker had an answer for that, obliterating this 93 MPH fastball in his favorite part of the zone, middle-up:
Adam Frazier was on board for that, reaching base three times today out of the leadoff spot, to push the lead to 9-3. The Angels got another two runs? Cal Raleigh has an answer for that, and this one was booming:
That’s a certified tank, going 425 feet, which at the time of this writing is the furthest-hit baseball in MLB today. It’s also what we in the biz call “a dagger,” pushing the Mariners’ lead to 11-5 headed into the bottom of the 9th. It’s also Cal Raleigh’s most-among-all-MLB-catchers 18th home run in MLB this series, and the thing that secured him the coveted “YouTube Player of the Game” award, introducing the Big Dumper to a national audience. We’re so proud.
3) The bullpen
Admittedly, it’s not hard to be better than the Angels’ bullpen, and the Mariners’ normally stalwart relievers wobbled a little here: Penn Murfee gave up two runs over 1.1 innings of work, and Matt Festa allowed an Ohtani bomb that will probably lead all the national media highlight reels of this game even though Cal’s went further and was hit harder. Matt Brash, however, was absolutely disgusting, striking out the side in his inning and recording some hilarious numbers on his way:
Here it is in video form:
So there you have it. A victory in all phases of the game, with the bonus of some high-level Tungsten Arm O’Doyle shit with a four-hit (a double shy of a cycle!), four-RBI day for Ohtani in the losing effort (John attempted to convince the Slack that Festa purposefully allowed the last homer to drive his off-season price tag up even higher and while I’ll never doubt the resourcefulness of a Staten Island native, I think it was just a missed pitch). The Tungsten Arm Effect was so strong, Twitter even had to define it for the normies:
There’s another YouTube game on the 25th, when the national crews will come to Seattle for a Seattle-Cleveland game with big Wild Card implications, and give the Mariners another chance to show a national audience what, exactly, we have brewing here in Seattle.