Did the Mariners climax on the evening of June 2nd, when they made that huge comeback against the Padres to go to 31-22 on the season? I remember, right around that time, feeling a level of excitement I haven’t felt since 2001 or so. We were riding high, and we had a stretch of 6 games in 10 days against the Rangers, to see if we could prove that we’re the real thing or not.
In those 6 games, we went 1-5, and for the most part looked pretty bad against the clearly-superior Rangers. After getting swept on the road half of the 6-game series, there was hope of the Mariners flipping the script on them – and their season as a whole – by doing the opposite at home (particuarly with Adrian Beltre on the shelf). We got off to a good-enough start by winning on Friday (in spite of our best efforts to blow that game; luckily, the Mariners managed to play add-on in the bottom of the 8th inning to make the Rangers’ would-be game-tying homer in the 9th obsolete). And, for a while there on Saturday, it looked like that sweep might be within reach!
I was there on Saturday, having come into a suite ticket with all the fixin’s, and it looked like a night for the ages. James Paxton followed up last Monday’s performance with another gem, going 6.1 innings of shutout ball, allowing 6 hits & 2 walks against 7 strikeouts. The Mariners scored their lone run in the 5th off the bat of Adam Lind (who failed in his attempt to set the Major League record by being the 5th Mariners player in a row to hit multiple homers in a game), and the bullpen did its job to keep the Rangers scoreless headed into the top of the 9th.
With Beltre out, it was Prince Fielder who picked up ABs this weekend. Fielder had rightly been benched for being an overpaid tub of goo, but of course, with this being the Mariners, he busted out to completely dominate. In this case, Steve Cishek decided to go right after him (as you should, because walking a .200 hitter would be a disaster), and Fielder turned it around and knocked it out of the park to tie the game.
The last couple of innings were a blur, but suffice it to say the Mariners’ bats stayed quiet. The Rangers took the lead in the 11th and that was that.
As for yesterday’s game, what can you say? Another Wade Miley dud. And Steve Johnson showed you what he’s capable of doing when you give him lots of opportunities (hint: he sucks). The offense didn’t get its shit in gear until the last couple innings, but by that point it was far too late. I guess the game ended with Cano trying to stretch a single into a double, but if you’re really going to get upset about that – in a series where the Mariners were pretty awful in a lot of different areas – then you do you.
I guess one silver lining is that we don’t have to play the Rangers again for a while. We went from holding a marginal lead over them, to now being 5 games back. Maybe by the end of August, we’ll have figured out how to beat them.
We’re now a modest 5 games over .500, and firmly in the Wild Card race, but it’s plain to see the Mariners need some help on the pitching side of things.
How much longer of a leash can we extend Wade Miley? He’s got 4 quality starts out of 13; that type of production isn’t going to keep us in contention.
Is there any way we can trick some other team into taking Karns off our hands as one of the primary prospects in a Rent-A-Starter deal? Karns is who he is, and that’s pretty much a Five & Diver who might ultimately be better suited as a reliever.
Considering Felix is looking like he could be out as much as 8 weeks (or until the end of July), the Mariners are probably going to have to make a deal for a starter sooner rather than later.
Also, I can’t be the only one who has no belief in Cishek’s ability to close out an important game. Not in the way Fernando Rodney would get abused – either via the walk, or the dink n’ dunk variety of hits, before a full-on explosion – but in the way that Cishek is either on fire, or he’s giving up a bomb, and pretty much nothing in between.
Is it just me, or does this season feel like it’s going down the shitter?