So, the Mariners lost last night. In one of the most frustrating fashions in which they could have lost, they lost.
Since last night, I can't shake the feeling of disappoint that came over me after Brandon League gave up the narrow one run lead in the 9th.
When I can't shake something from my mind, I write about it. So, here is my attempt to shake my disappointment over last night, the same way an alcoholic might try to make sense of his latest bender the morning after.
Unfortunately, This hasn't been first disappointing performance by the M's bullpen this season, let alone this series. Just in this past week, the M's pitching staff blew a seven (!) run lead. This wasn't all the fault of the bullpen, as Kevin Millwood was struggling in his last inning and left a mess for the bullpen to clean up. They ended up just spreading it around and making it worse like trying to clean a speghetti spill with a dry mop.
That game was infuriating and disgusting to watch. I had to turn it off after we lost the lead as I just couldn't watch anymore. I knew we had lost at that point. In fact, even IF we had won that game, I still would have been left with a horrible taste in my mouth... like black licorice. And I hate black licorice.
But hope sprang anew when I saw that Felix was dominating through 7 innings last night. My memory of that loss was nearly wiped away completely after Felix struck out the side in the 8th to escape a bases loaded jam. I wanted to roar loud enough for the Gods to hear just as Felix did when he strutted to the dugout. I read reactions from Shannon Drayer and was filled with a sense of confidence. I was sure that the M's were going to take the series 2-1 after Brandon League came in and finished where Felix left off. We just needed to get three more outs. I was sure we'd get them.
In hindsight, perhaps I should have known better or maybe seen this coming as it happened. Josh Tomlin mowed down our line up in the bottom of the 8th on just 10 pitches. We had only managed to squeeze one run across all game. The lead was certainly not cemented, but it felt that way because of the fact that Felix was so dominant all game. "Maybe the Indians will just mail it in," I thought. Perhaps their spirits had been broken and confidence shatter after facing King Felix in fine form. Still, it was only one run.
When League walked the first batter he faced. My mind raced. I stared at the score. My heart sunk. My expectations dropped. I knew what was coming. I was prepared for this let down after years of watching the M's blow leads like this one and not back up Felix's great starts with offense. Yet, part of me still held out hope. Then, a single and a sacrifice. Two on, one out. League was definitely not his usual solid self that we had seen earlier this year. Was this going to be one of blown saves that just happen seemingly at random throughout the year? With another walk and single that snuck it's way out of the infield that question was answered.
As a fan, this kind of loss is just crushing. More crushing than other losses. The brightside is that this is only one game out of more than a hundred more to come. Those future games are potential wins that will help erase the memory of this loss.
However, there will be more losses as well, hopefully not too many more of these variety. It's losses like these that are the reason people have stopped going to games at Safeco, that and the lack of offense the last few years that is still plaguing the team. Last night was a great example of this.
However, there is hope to be taken from last night as well. King Felix will take his throne again many more times this year. That is something we can all enjoy because he can return us to that place where we felt hope and excitement. That time before the 9th inning last night.