This feels like the bottom. Like the worst it can possibly get for the Mariners in 2015. I know that’s not true; I know there are about a million things that can happen to lower the bar even more. But, just look at last night and try not to completely give up.
For starters, we had to go with a starting pitcher who’d never played in the Major Leagues before … and he ended up doing all right! You can take that one of a few ways: maybe it’s the Safeco effect, maybe he’s a legitimate back-of-the-rotation starter, or maybe the Mariners just squandered one of the few quality starts we’re ever going to get out of Mike Montgomery. Guess which opinion is my own.
Then, Mike Zunino got tossed and Lloyd McClendon went on the tirade of all tirades. It’s nice of Zunino to stick up for his pitcher; you could kind of see this coming with all the shitty umpiring we’ve been exposed to – across the entirety of Major League Baseball – but I couldn’t help thinking at the time that maybe Zunino getting kicked out would actually be a positive for this team. I’d say his approach at the plate is the worst I’ve ever seen, but there are any number of guys who have played for the Mariners in the last decade who’d give him a run for his money (which pretty much says it all).
The Mariners were 3 of 17 with runners in scoring position. They ended up scoring 2 runs in regulation and losing 5-3 in 11 innings. So, yeah, that’s about as grotesque as it gets. The combo of Cano/Cruz/Seager went a combined 2 of 11 for 2 RBI, so you can’t say we didn’t have legitimate chances, and you can’t blame it entirely on the black holes in our lineup.
And, truth be told, we have no more black holes than we had last year. Only three regulars are batting under .240 (which, I agree, isn’t asking a whole lot). But, what it all amounts to is guys not getting the job done when it counts. Call it “clutchness”, call it cluster luck, call it whatever you want; the hitters aren’t driving in runners, and it’s costing us ballgames.
Nevertheless, the Mariners were up 2-1 going into the 9th inning, when Fernando Rodney botched YET ANOTHER save opportunity. I’m starting to feel like a real asshole for defending the guy, but what are we supposed to do? We pull the closer’s job from him and he’s more useless than he’s ever been, because he can’t get guys out and now he doesn’t have that extra motivation of it being a save situation. We leave him in there and CLEARLY he’s not right, so he’s going to continue to blow games for us. The bottom line is, if you take the closer’s job away from him, you might as well DFA him, because he’s of no use to us anywhere else.
We’ll see. We’ll see how long the Mariners let this play out. Apparently, we can’t have
nice things a closer who’s worth a damn for more than a single season. Kinda makes me wonder – if we do hand the job over to Carson Smith – will he turn back into a pumpkin in 2016? Either way, even if Rodney somehow turns his season around and doesn’t give up a single run the rest of the year, the Mariners better not bring him back next year. This experiment has been a success and a failure in equal parts. I can’t wait to never see Fernando Rodney ever again.