I’m not gonna lie to you, I dumped the contents of Friday’s game from my brain almost immediately after the game ended. The only takeaway? J.A. Happ has looked remarkably solid in his first two starts (especially when compared to the abominations we’ve been subjected to with Walker, Paxton, and Iwakuma). His seven innings of 2-run ball were rewarded with the silence of the bats (though, apparently even on our worst days, the bat of Nelson Cruz refuses to be tamed).
I missed Saturday’s game entirely, as I was at the Dave Attell early show at the downtown Parlor Live. The openers were pretty spotty, but Dave showed why he’s consistently one of the five best standups in the game today.
Looks like Felix was his usual amazing self – 7 innings, 1 run, 12 strikeouts – Zunino hit a bomb to hopefully get off the schnide, and Fernando Rodney locked down the save to lower his ERA to a robust 12.46.
I did watch quite a bit of Sunday’s game, though, and what a game it was! Admittedly, I was switching back and forth early, uninterested in the slop that Paxton was dealing. It’s nice that our offense is improved and will be able to overcome some of these poor starts a little better than we would have in previous seasons, but this can’t continue. And, the worst thing about it is: there’s nothing really the team can do about it.
It’s too early to start thinking about making trades, as every team in the Major Leagues can make the argument that they’re still “in the playoff race”. There isn’t really anyone in Tacoma who can come up and make much of an impact (especially with Elias struggling to find his footing). And, when you consider the Mariners really have three starting pitchers who are failing on a consistent basis, that’s too many holes to deal with all at once.
All you can really do is get them their work, instruct them as to how they can make improvements, and hope for the best. Some better luck with batted balls in play would also be in the cards as well.
Obviously, the offense is the story of Sunday’s game. Nelson Cruz is absolutely destroying the baseball, with two more home runs to bring his total to 8 in 12 games. We’ll need to remember this later on, as he’ll inevitably go into a prolonged slump (as all players do), but I think it’s just nice to have a new free agent signee join the team and not immediately hit the skids for once. I guess you could say Cano is in that same mold, as he was good from the get-go last year, but Cruz and Cano are certainly in the minority in that regard.
It’s good to see Cano and Seager start to come around as well. Both had fabulous weekends in bringing their numbers back up to respectability. Guys like LoMo, Ackley, and Miller should come around to the point where they level off – so, we WILL see them eventually do something and hit those hot spurts they’re known to hit on occasion – but for the offense to be consistently great, we’re going to need consistent greatness out of the middle of our order.
The Mariners host the Astros over the next three days. Just keep winning series. Getting 2 out of 3 for a while would be just fine.