Spirits are at an all time high right now! The Mariners went 5-1 over the last week and have won 7 of their last 8 overall. If we didn’t crap the bed against Erik Bedard on Friday, the winning streak would still be ongoing.
The Mariners are still 5.5 games behind Oakland for the A.L. West, so that kinda sucks. But, we’re only 1 game behind Anaheim and we’re 1.5 games ahead of the next-closest team for the Wild Card. That’s right, the Mariners – right this very moment – are one of the two teams who have possession of the Wild Card in the American League. How about THAT? I just read this morning that the Mariners have a slightly-better-than-50% chance of making the playoffs!
The Mariners are still ranked near the bottom of the league in things like batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, yet we’re somehow 16th in baseball in runs scored. So that’s … scary. We’re getting hits and stuff when they count, so on the one hand you could say we’re very clutch. But, on the other hand, you could say there’s no such thing as being “clutch” and all these runs scored have been very lucky.
In the last week, Michael Saunders did something funky to his right shoulder and had to leave one of the games. Now, he’s day-to-day and who knows when he’s going to come back, or if he’s going to be healthy when he does? Justin Smoak is also dealing with a quad issue or some damn thing. Whatever it is, it’s making an already-slow man that much slower. Could that be the reason he has been struggling so mightily over the last month? Or, could he just be a guy who naturally struggles for month-long periods (or more)? I think we all have a pretty good idea of what the answer to that question is.
Felix Hernandez had two amazing starts in the last week, including a career-high 15 strikeouts yesterday down in Tampa. Of course, he got the no decision in that game, but ultimately the Mariners got the win, so I can’t be too upset.
Brad Miller is still batting under .200. He seems to be taking one step forward and two steps back as he tries to return from the abyss, but at least he’s taking the occasional step forward now. Progress!
Cole Gillespie is on fire! I never expected much out of him when he was called up, so this is a welcome surprise. I don’t think there’s any way he’s a long-term outfield solution, so I’m not going to go too crazy about this. I’m just going to ride it out for as long as we can and hope he can be a reliable contributer for a few weeks/months.
Endy Chavez and James Jones still seem to be hitting. They also seem like they’re the same exact player, which makes me a little nervous when they’re at the plate and all warm and fuzzy and secure when they’re in the outfield playing defense.
The pitching is still – for the most part – rock solid. There’s cause for immediate concern as later this morning, Erasmo Ramirez takes the hill. It wasn’t decided until very late last week, as apparently the team was considering either bringing someone else up, or going with a bullpen day. Which tells me that Erasmo Ramirez is on his VERY last legs with this organization. I still say that his inconsistency is better than Maurer’s being consistently BAD, but at this point I don’t have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to defending Erasmo Ramirez. There’s GOT to be a better solution at the #5 starter spot.
Hopefully that better solution is coming sooner rather than later. Taijuan Walker had a rehab start last week that went poorly – results-wise – but I didn’t hear about any setbacks in his recovery. He goes again today (I think), but he’s still got to build up his arm strength and prove that he’s ready to hack it in the Majors. I’m guessing a MINIMUM of two more starts with Tacoma.
It really all depends on a number of factors. If Erasmo Ramirez puts up a great outing today, maybe that buys him and the organization some more time. But, if he struggles once again, maybe we look to rush Walker back and let him finish his rehab in Seattle. After all, can Walker’s rehab starts be much worse than Ramirez’s full-strength starts?
The next two days (today & tomorrow) could be a little rough. David Price today, and best-pitcher-in-the-league Masahiro Tanaka tomorrow. I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if we lose these next two games. I also wouldn’t be shocked if we ripped off five wins in a row after that, though.
Contention! It’s a whole new world out there, in early-to-mid June, still playing meaningful baseball and whatnot.