Look, I’m not trying to shit on everyone’s parade. I think crushing the Boston Red Sox is a really fun thing to watch, regardless of how bad they are just one year removed from a world championship. Scoring 12 runs is pretty amazing; it’s only the fourth time the Mariners have scored in double digits this year (and, oddly enough, all four of those games featured Felix as the starter; so either the team doesn’t support him at all, or they support him way too much). But, let’s just not lose our minds, huh?
This is still a team that had to start Willie Bloomquist at DH (1 for 4 with a run scored and a strikeout, so I’m not QUITE gonna shut my big mouth based on that performance). This is a team who just yesterday finally got all their hitters over the .200 mark (with some perilously close to falling back under it; I’m looking at you, Stefen Romero). Ultimately, this is a team that’s going to struggle to score runs more than it will succeed in scoring a bunch of runs.
And look, I enjoyed Logan Morrison’s performance last night as much as the next guy. 4 for 4, 2 homers, 4 RBI, 3 runs scored. But, one great night doesn’t mean you’re the next Lou Gehrig to Justin Smoak’s Wally Pipp! I know, we’re ALL disappointed in Justin Smoak. 2014 was his make or break year, and he’s officially broken. At this point, we will accept literally Hitler himself if he could keep his OPS over .750 and play a serviceable first base defense. So, why not Logan Morrison?
As always, I’m willing to go with the hot hand in this situation, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Yes, he’s capable of nights like these; you could say June 23, 2014 is LoMo’s ceiling. That’s as good of an evening as he’s ever going to see. And, truth be told, he might not ever have another night like that ever again. I hope I’m wrong; I hope he does nothing but mash for the rest of the season. Can you imagine it? An honest-to-goodness power bat in the middle of our lineup? Someone you can legitimately bat fourth in the lineup, thereby pushing Kyle Seager into the 2-hole where he probably belongs? Do you know what we could do with an offense that has three legitimately good hitters in the middle of the lineup? We could have an honest discussion about contending for a playoff spot! And not just twinkly daydreams with unicorns and rainbows, needing every single thing to go right for this team to MAYBE push through.
I’m not going to hold my breath on the LoMo front. Like every other mediocre hitter, he’s going to have his occasional ups. It’s what allows him so many opportunities at the Major League level. So, enjoy it while it lasts, and hope that it lasts through the All Star Break, because I feel like that’s the best case scenario. The downs, they are a-comin’. But, by that point, Justin Smoak will be back. And, if he’s anything like the Justin Smoak who USUALLY shows up after a DL stint, he’ll be red-hot for about 3-4 weeks! Maybe that’s the ticket. Ride one hot hand, then when he starts to cool, bench him for a while and play the other one. Back and forth that way, for all eternity.
I guess I’m just trying to guard myself a little bit. I don’t know how to handle a team that’s five games over .500 in the final week of June. What do I do with a team that’s near the top of the Wild Card Standings instead of the bottom? Shockingly, I’m more at ease with super elite teams like the Seahawks. Just walk around, strut your stuff, and look down at fans of every other organization. That suits me like a glove! But, this … this quiet desperation of being on the edge of contention. Getting my hopes up, getting a little too excited, only to be slapped right back down to Earth by a bad 5-game stretch, which ultimately leads to winning 7 of 9. If I get too excited, I get burned; but, if I get too down on this team, I won’t be enjoying what by all rights is a very enjoyable season! So, I remain guarded.
We’re four games away from the midway point. There’s still a lot of season to go. Which means, ample opportunity for a debilitating 17-game losing streak to effectively end our year. But, it also means there’s ample opportunity for this team to get red hot and rip off a bunch of wins in a row.
In the short term, I’m REALLY going to need to see the Mariners win at least 5 of 6 on this homestand to feel comfortable. Boston and Cleveland are pretty awful, so 5 of 6 isn’t unreasonable.