Nothing I like more than pure, happy mess. Add some comedy, some unexpected twists and just a splash of heart, and I’m into it all. This is why this is my favorite Disney movie and will probably always be The Emperor’s New Groove. A big part of why the Seattle Mariners have been my favorite team since childhood, despite being the most bizarre team in any sport. If today’s game was a movie, for me it would be Emperor’s New Groove, as the Mariners took the biggest route to an 8-4 victory over the Rays. This score may make you believe that there was no part of Chaos Ball in today’s game, but you will be wrong.
If today’s game was The Emperor’s New Groove, the star of the show was entirely Logan Gilbert. There were certainly times when there was no sign of his command, and this is evident from his three moves left on his 5.2 IP. More important than where he went wrong was where he was and tonight he was fully on. Out of his 104 pitches, 62 pitches were thrown for strikes, dropping zero runs on just two hits, and fanning a total of seven Ray batters, the rest of his line really shined. Four of the seven looked stupid as they hit the pitch outside the zone. Admittedly, one of them was on a bad call that missed a few inches off the plate, but some excellent framing by Tom Murphy also helped. Also, looking at the way those calls have hit the Mariners’ batsmen all season, I’m going to give him karmic justice.
Gilbert threw his 59 pitches as a fastball, and he did well to blend into his off-speed pitches as well, creating a respectable 21% whiff rate throughout his performance, though not spectacular. With three walks and a wild pitch at number four, I wouldn’t say he was too highbrow, but he didn’t have any hitters effectively until Manuel Margot single at number five. Only another hit from him in the sixth, another single, this time from Brandon Lowe, who was clearly avenging the two swinging strikeouts before the game. Gilbert is now completely highbrow and leads the league in 0.40 ERA. Despite the expected regression, it is difficult to argue that it does not fit neatly into the larger league rotation.
If all else fails, get ideas from others. There were moments of weirdness throughout the game, such as when Logan Gilbert let a pitch go away from him and almost hit former Mariner G-Man Choi in the shins, only Choi fouled on that pitch. Them anyway. Another came in at number 7 when Tom Murphy was seen swinging, just to reach the base of a rare catcher’s intervention call. It wasn’t Tom Murphy’s weirdest game of the game, he was a double at the top of the 5th inning which would have been a home run if not for the weird hat-on-a-hat at Tropicana Field. The condition of the fence sitting on the wall, separated by distance-to-no-distance.
Honestly, I don’t watch enough ray games to know if this is a normal occurrence, but looking at the look of home runs and launch angles, it seems that basically poor design only begs for chaos.
Fourth was the place where the real anarchy prevailed, where the Mariners scored seven of their eight runs, none of them scored. It was completely Looney Tunes or The Emperor’s New Groove instead. One of the funniest moments was Lowe’s controversial bubbled ball that clearly looked like an error, only to my eyes it seemed to be secured to be out on the replay, then the rays lost the challenge and Suarez was called safely. 2nd just loading an outside base. This set the perfect Tom Murphy helicopter for Choi, which he inadvertently pitched into the home field at a short distance, allowing Winker and Suarez to come closer and score. “Pull the lever, cronk. Wrong lever! ” Julio Rodriguez immediately hit an impressive ball to the right of the center of the 108.6 EV line, with the toughest ball of the night, which was doubled by Abraham Toro. From there, Dylan Moore landed on an HBP that wasn’t quite as straightforward, probably because his leg seemed to be completely missing. Confusion, am I right? The base was once again loaded with an out, but it just landed on a pitch as Adam Frasier’s drowned Josh Fleming jumped to the dead center, finding grass in the right field, and triple cleared the bottom. Eventually, France also attacked the first pitch and single-handed on the left to bring Frazier home.