After last week’s post about the best Mariners moments of 2013, I had initially sat down to recount the worst moments of the year. As I got into that list I discovered that the most heart breaking moments were usually centered around poorly timed home-runs and a number of blown games. Instead of listing these out for you to wallow in, lets focus on one series, and how it single-handedly broke my spirit for the year.
As far as I’m concerned, the absolute low point of the season was the back-to-back Seattle Mariners walk off losses to Boston in July. This wasn’t the only time the M’s were walked off twice in a row this season, but it was the only time that I felt like the baseball gods were playing a cruel joke on us.
Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox, July 30 – August 1
This was by far one of the lowest points of the season for me. This turned out to be a three-game sweep by the Red Sox, but the worst part of it was that the M’s pretty much gave away two wins in the process.
Game one was another Joe Saunders blowout loss, Saunders gave up 5 runs in the first two innings and the Sox never looked back. But it was games two and three that really had me climbing the walls.
A Hisashi Iwakuma start for game two turned out to be a much closer game. There was some run support for the M’s and they went into the 8th inning down only 5-4, and then Kyle Seager tied the game up with a solo-homer. It was one of those rare glimpses of how good the Mariners could be. They M’s combined for 16 hits that game and were actually able to put a bit of pressure on the Sox defense. As they moved into extras, there was a sense that the M’s could actually churn out a win, until the Mariners put their Mariner hats back on.
With one out in the top of the 15th, the M’s got a small rally going, Raul Ibanez singled, and Endy Chavez shot one through the hole to left to put runners on first and second. The way that the Mariners were grinding out runs, this actually had potential to bring a guy home. Until Michael Saunders popped up to short left and Raul got doubled up on an unassisted double play.
Yup, you read that right, an unassisted double play by Jonny Gomes. It was one of those plays that just brings the momentum around 180 degrees. Lucas Luetge couldn’t hold the Sox in the bottom of the 15th and the Mariners were walked-off 5-4.
But that doesn’t even hold a candle to game three.
In what I consider the worst loss of the 2013 season, the Mariners truly tested the bounds of fandom. I remember this game very distinctly because a friend was in town and we went out to watch the game. The Mariners had jumped out to a 7-1 lead by the fifth and everything was going swimmingly for the good guys. Around the 8th inning or so, it was suggested that we move on to somewhere new as the game was all but over. To which I replied “I don’t know, I’ve seen the M’s a lot, and this is definitely still a loseable game.” And then I immediately regretted saying it.
The Sox pushed across run-after-run-after run. They came into the ninth inning down 7-2, and came out of it 8-7. It was one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve seen in a while. I think the only guy who was sadder than me was the poor Mariners fan at Fenway that the cameras had found (A funny coincidence; I actually ran into that guy a few weeks later, and he said it was the worst baseball game he’s ever been to, even Red Sox fans were feeling bad for him).
The Red Sox brought 10 guys to the plate in that inning, and still had only one out when the game ended. Tom Wilhelmsen, Oliver Perez and Yoervis Medina all came in to pitch the ninth, and only one of them managed to get an out.
The win-probability chart looked like a cliff. Which was slightly ironic because at this point I felt like jumping off of one.