Well, weeks don’t get much worse than that, do they? 1-6, with a 6-game losing streak. Extended beyond, we’ve lost 8 of 9 and 11 of 15.
Here’s the thing: you just can’t have weeks like that! Losing to the A’s, I understand. That’s a great team right there. But, the Rangers and Marlins? Those are middle-of-the-road teams right now AT BEST and we’ve just lost six in a row to those two teams. I don’t care if it’s on the road, you’ve got to be better than these teams if you expect to contend.
I keep coming back to that Felix game, because something’s really bugging me. No, not the defeat itself; I’m pretty much over that by now. What’s bugging me is his pitch count and the reports that Felix supposedly told the manager after the seventh inning that he was getting tired. I mean, at that point, I think he was under 90 pitches (if not, then he was just slightly over) and he was cruising along! How does a guy like Felix tire after seven innings when the weather is relatively cool and he’s just around 90 pitches?
Maybe it’s because the season is still early and he’s still building up arm strength. Maybe by the time June comes around, he’ll be up in the 120’s from time to time.
Or, maybe it’s because Felix is averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per game.
There’s no doubt about it, Felix is on his game right now. He’s as good as I’ve ever seen him AND this is the best he’s ever been in the first month. He’s 3-0 (should be 4-0), he’s averaging 7 innings per contest, and he’s averaging less than one walk per game. These are freakish, superhuman numbers we’re talking about!
So, the question remains, why is he breaking down late in games? In that Texas game, he gave up a leadoff triple after absolutely destroying them to that point. In the Supreme Court game as well, in the 8th inning, Felix hit a batter and gave up a single before being pulled and watching the bullpen let both of those guys score. In the game before THAT, he nearly had the complete game/shutout. But, in the 9th, he gave up a solo homer, a single, and a wild pitch before getting pulled for the closer.
That’s three games in a row where he was brought out for another inning of work and failed to make it through that inning. Maybe it’s just a feeling-out period for McClendon and his ace pitcher. But, I have a feeling that Felix is just throwing too many strikeouts.
He’s not getting himself into and out of jams (not until late, when he’s getting pulled). He’s not giving up a lot of hits and walks. So, it must be the strikeouts, right? He seems to be going hard after the whiffs this year whereas in years past he’d give himself some games where he kept the strikeouts low and generated a ton of groundball outs. This year, he’s still getting the ground balls, but he’s getting a fuck-ton of strikeouts and that’s just pushing his pitch counts through the roof.
And, truth be told, a lot of these Mariners pitchers are doing the same thing. ESPECIALLY the bullpen. Just get outs! They don’t all have to be perfect! Sometimes, you need to let the batter get himself out. And, if you’re fortunate, you’ll generate more double plays in the process.
On the hitting side of things, everyone stinks.
Almonte is now doing more bad than good. Brad Miller finally got his first off-day yesterday. Robinson Cano has seen his average tumble and he’s still struggling to generate extra-base hits. He finally hit his first home run this past week, but big fucking deal, right? I can theoretically understand his power falling a little bit while in a Mariners uniform, but he’s played in exactly 5 of 18 games in Safeco, so that’s really no excuse. I’m not worried; I still think Cano will be fine. But, it’d be nice if he’d start tearing the cover off the ball pretty soon.
Corey Hart is certainly a positive point right now, as he’s got his average is up near .270 and his OPS is up near .900. He’s either coming around earlier than I thought he would, or this is just a mirage. Ackley is looking good at the plate. Smoak is looking less good. And Seager is a fucking trainwreck.
Right now, the whole team is struggling and it’s pretty hard to watch. The Astros come to town for three games starting tonight; they’re CLEARLY worse than the Mariners right now. If we fail to sweep these guys, start your countdown for the number one draft pick.
Or, you know, keep living in la-la land, with those magical pitchers coming off of injury JUST over the horizon. I’d rather focus on what we’ve got right now. Elias still looks pretty good (was probably left in the game too long over the weekend, due to bullpen overuse). Chris Young laid a fucking turd at our feet. And, Erasmo Ramirez is proving without a shadow of a doubt that he’s not a big league pitcher. If he’s not ready by now, then let’s face it, he’s never going to get there.
Brandon Maurer looked pretty solid yesterday afternoon, even though he was on a strict pitch count. I’d like to see if that’s a result of facing the Marlins, or if he’s actually figured out how to pitch to left-handed hitters. He could be an interesting little addition to the rotation since it looks like Erasmo has flamed out.
Turning right around and winning the next six games (3 vs. Astros, 3 vs. Rangers) would go a LONG way toward rebuilding my confidence in this team.