Have you ever been catfishing? I don’t mean in the online dating sense of the term, but more in terms of literal catfish. You’re fishing, you get a huge bite, but as you pull it up, you realize it’s just catfish, not the huge black drum you were hoping to eat for dinner.
Robbie Ray is a catfish. Signing the reigning Cy Young winner is supposed to be a huge deal. But, as we’ve seen, there isn’t really much meat on him, much like a catfish. I would further say that Robbie is specifically a gafftop catfish, as it has a good chance of poisoning the games it appears in. Robbie tends to blow himself up. Other Mariners pitchers take casualties by awarding 2 points to 3rd and gaining no support from the offense. When Robbie Ray wins losses, he wins them. In half of his 20 starts, he has allowed at least 3 runs or 5 hits.
And so it was today. As a fisherman, his bait today was fantastic, everyone wanted a bite. He couldn’t put the hook, or in this case pull the string, giving up a home run to Altuve on his first pitch, followed by a home run to Peña on his seventh pitch. Not a good first run for Robbie.
The second and third runs weren’t good either. In the second, he allowed five hits in a row, the third a double, to make it 5-0. These hits came in all different flavors, from on-sight grounders, to pop-ups that kind of became duplicates of ground rules, to shallow fly balls that Dylan Moore couldn’t quite reach. And the first out of the round? It wasn’t pretty either.
After an RBI groundout in the third made it 6-0, Robbie finished the inning and his day was over. The catfish was thrown from the pier and returned to the sea.
The bullpen was much meatier, with Penn Murfee striking out all six he faced (with four strikeouts), Tommy Milone having two good innings (and one bad), Matt Festa having no luck and Andres Muñoz throwing the 9th, including setting the new record for fastest Mariners pitch in the Statcast era.
Milone’s bad inning was the 8th, where he doubled, then walked two to charge the bases with one out. Festa replaced him and quickly got the second out, but then Maldonado hit a flyball into no man’s land that hit the grass and gave the receiver two RBIs.
When it comes to fish here on the gulf coast, I would say Murfee is a goldfish (reliable, robust), Milone is a black drum (similar, but have sharp teeth that sometimes hurt you), Festa is a mule (not the best catch, but good in places), and Muñoz is a Rainbow trout (flashy, but also with good background).
If you can’t tell, I recently started fishing again. It’s not going well.
A few weeks ago I made all the necessary purchases, set up my rigs and hit the water. After about five hours, I had caught zero (0) fish. Then a week later I managed to find myself on the LL 10-Day IL when I fell in an oyster patch and cut my leg and finger, narrowly avoiding the stitches suture. The next time I went fishing, I only caught small gafftop catfish, and nearly got poisoned by one as I tried to unhook it. Safe to say that I may not be the best angler in the world.
Neither, I would say, are Mariners hitters. They all went fishing, by which I mean chased pitches, with Suárez, Torrens and Haggerty hitting twice each. It took until Abraham Toro, my beloved, at 7th for a Mariner to reach second base. Toro was only in the game in the first place because Winker was called out after meeting Jeremy Peña on a hit. Peña, forgetting where he was, ran straight into Winker’s path without paying attention, and Jesse’s ankle paid the price. According to Scott, he’s hand to mouth and they’re hoping to keep him out of IL.
Servais said Winker’s sprained ankle isn’t too serious and is just day-to-day. They will avoid an IL relay for Julio or Winker
—Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 24, 2022
Robbie Ray may have company as today’s Catfish, since Peña also tried to poison the Mariners. This, of course, comes after Julio suffered a wrist injury in Texas, so the outfield looks pretty tough right now.
“But Jacques! If the Mariners offense was bad, how did they score 5 points? I hear you yelling at me. Well, the way any team scores. The sequence of a few hits together. In the 7th, Toro walked and D-Mo hit a single to put in a deuce and set up Sam Haggerty for a 2-run triple. JP then doubled to score it to put the game within reach.
And then in the 8th, Kyle Lewis walked, and Abraham Toro, our beloved, followed it up with his eighth home run of the year, and his first since that time last month. The last time Toro hit a home run, the Mariners immediately went on a 14-game winning streak. Just say.
After the dong, Santana walked and Dylan was harpooned, to bring the tying run to Sam Haggerty’s plate. Who quickly struck. And that’s where I think we should have a discussion. Does the tying run at home plate count as a close game? Or should the game have the feel of a tight game? Because literally from the first roll, this game didn’t seem very winnable, but just stating facts like this makes it seem like it was. I’m a bit annoyed, because I was planning on doing this recap of fish photos with edited sailor heads, but then they had to be ‘respectable’ or whatever. It’s too bad. I’m sure you all wanted to see what Eugenio Suárez would look like as Bluefin Tuna.
So the Mariners lost, but losing to Houston doesn’t hurt too much. They’re a good team, and it was always going to be a tough series. I think the positive twist for the Mariners is that these upcoming games against the Astros and Yankees are pretty much the last “good teams” they will have to play against in the regular season. Combine that with the other teams competing with Seattle for the losing Wild Card today, and this game doesn’t really mean much. Maybe it’s normal for M’s to eat their veggies before their dessert. Here’s hoping they pick up some big ones against Rangers tomorrow, though.