Look, I don’t have to tell you guys and gals; you’ve got eyes! Unless you don’t have eyes, in which case I’ll thank you to give me and my family the privacy and prayers we need right now in this difficult time of embarrassing gaffes due to my false assumptions. But, I think it’s pretty clear what we’re witnessing right now:
THE GOD DAMN SEATTLE MARINERS ARE NEVER GOING TO FUCKING LOSE A GAME EVER AGAIN O’DOYLE RULES!!!
I know me personally? I can’t comprehend what’s going on rn. I see this Mariners team, second in the American League in runs scored, third in the American League in fewest runs allowed, and it doesn’t compute! Not MY Mariners! My Mariners stink! They never have enough pitching and their hitting is twice as shitty! They get bullied by other teams’ bullpens and give up more walk-off victories to their opponents than anyone in baseball! I’ve been a Mariners fan since 1995, but I’ve been a local sports blogger since 2008, so I feel like a completely different type of fan than I was as a teenager. Young fans have the good fortune to be experiencing everything for the first time, so when they’re older, they get to enjoy all those good memories of better times. But, young fans don’t REALLY appreciate how good they’ve got it (if, indeed, they had it as good as I did, from 1995-2003). As a fan from my mid 20s to mid 30s, having suffered through the dregs from 2004 on, much more knowledgable than I was as a kid, dialed into the daily grind while better able to put things in proper perspective, because I CAN compare this to different eras I’ve witnessed, I’ve grown accustomed to a Way Of Life for these Seattle Mariners. And that Way Of Life has been as a laughingstock.
Those Pat Gillick teams from the turn of the century feel like a million years ago. This right here, what we’ve been watching over the last 20 games, this is what THOSE Mariners looked like, in the before time; in the long, long ago. Dominating pitching performances, heroic hitting performances, late-game magic, pushing runs across with two outs, gagging up a huge deficit and REFUSING TO FUCKING LOSE.
There have been contending Mariners teams – teams that ended up with records over .500 – between 2004 and 2016, but those teams never looked or felt like this team. Those teams were barely scraping by. They’d hover right around the .500 mark, but were always one bad streak away from completely falling apart and never really mattering much in the end. 2014 was as close as this team has come in the last 12 years to approaching playoff-calibre, but if you saw that team, you know they wouldn’t have had a prayer in the post-season. This team? If they can hold up? There’s a lot to like.
Now, obviously, the pitching – particularly the bullpen – isn’t going to continue to be this lights out. But, I don’t know if that’ll matter as much as it has in years past. Because the hitting is truly remarkable, and is going to keep this team in games it would’ve had no business being in before.
I mean, just take a look at last night’s game in Houston. Wade Miley was okay, but he couldn’t get Jose Altuve out to save his life, and ended up going 6 innings of 2-run ball (to be fair, literally no pitcher in the history of the world could’ve gotten Jose Altuve out, because he is the bane of my fucking existence). The Mariners managed to scratch and claw their way to a 1-1 tie going into the bottom of the 6th inning, when Altuve scored on an RBI single and things started to look a little dire. Houston with a 1-run lead going into the final three frames? In 2015, the Mariners would’ve quietly pissed the bed and then laid there until dawn, before sneaking the sheets into the washing machine before mom woke up.
In 2016? These Mariners hop right back out there in the top of the seventh, load the bases on the Houston bullpen, and push through two runs off of a tough lefty thanks to Seth Smith’s single to right field.
Now, granted, these Mariners aren’t without their faults. Joel Peralta with his 4th appearance in 5 games is just a LITTLE bit of an oversight on the manager’s part, mostly thanks to Benoit and Zych’s concurrent DL stints. Peralta gave up a leadoff double and a walk while getting only one hitter out before giving way to Nick Vincent – who certainly should’ve been the one who started the inning in the first place, because this was only his second appearance in five days, and anyway he’s been fucking awesome this year. Vincent ran into the buzzsaw that was Jose Altuve, who knocked the tying run in, and very nearly gave the Astros the lead if the other runner hadn’t been thrown out at home. With Altuve out of the way, Vincent was free to close out the inning and get us to the top of the ninth with the score still tied.
That’s where, again, in 2015, the Mariners go quietly into that good night against the Houston closer. But, this year? This year, we load the bases against that closer, for Cano, with 1 out, who proceeds to hit a bases-clearing 3-run double into dead center field for the winning margin. Cishek in for his 9th save, and here we are, 17-11, first place by 2.5 games, with three more games to go against the Astros this weekend.
Not too shabby, huh?