Fancy That: The Mariners Stopped The Losing Streak Behind Solid Pitching & Timely Hitting

Alternate title:  The Mariners Won A Baseball Game By Scoring More Runs Than Their Opponent

They bumped the series finale against the Nationals up to the early morning Pacific time so they could avoid an impending rainstorm and get the whole game in.  While most of us were hoping for a rainout, if for no other reason than to stave off another defeat, the Mariners shocked the world by being semi-competent.

Ariel Miranda managed a workmanlike 5 innings, giving up 2 runs in that fifth to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead.  In the top of the sixth, Nelson Cruz jacked a 3-run home run to give the Mariners a lead, and Scott Servais proceeded to stop fucking around.  He went immediately to our good bullpen guys in hopes of locking down the first Mariners victory in a week.

Zych worked a scoreless sixth, Pazos worked a scoreless seventh, Vincent & Scrabble worked a scoreless eighth, and Edwin Diaz reclaimed his closing duties on the strength of TWO WHOLE ADEQUATE PERFORMANCES, and somewhere in there the Mariners added an insurance run to give the Mariners a 4-2 victory.

The top of the order really did the heavy lifting in this one.  Segura had a couple hits and a run; Cano had two more hits, an RBI, and a run; Cruz (getting his second start in right field) had the aforementioned 3-run homer; and Seager and Valencia each had a hit to round it out.

There are no take-aways from this one.  The Mariners got a win in a game featuring their best healthy starting pitcher; it’s as simple as that.  This isn’t the start of a great turnaround, it’s just a random win, because in baseball it’s impossible to literally lose every single game.  Hell, even Charlie Brown’s team had a win or two!

The Mariners are still a game out of last place (tied in the loss column) in the entire American League, five games out of the second Wild Card, and 11 games behind the Astros in the A.L. West.

In a shocking development, the Mariners went a whole day without making a Big League roster move, so that’s something.  With all these injuries and shuttling of players, it feels like we’re just wrapping up our fourth month of Spring Training for Christ’s sake.

This weekend, the Mariners go to Boston for three games.  It would be nice to pick up some games on the team that’s currently holding the second Wild Card spot, but wish in one hand and shit in the other, you know?  I just hope no other important people go on the DL between now and Monday.

On the Mike Zunino front, in his three games since being called back up from Tacoma, he has one hit (a homer) and 7 strikeouts in 11 at bats.  I just … I could NOT be more disappointed.  Y U MAKE ME LONG FOR THE RETURN OF TUFFY???

The Mariners Can’t Not Get Killed

I’ll be honest, I didn’t catch a single minute of this game.  I had other things going on, and before I knew it, the game was over in what has to be in the running for shortest game of the season.  Certainly the shortest game where one team scored 10 runs.

Christian Bergman followed up his best-ever start with his worst-ever start, so that’s neat.  4 innings, 10 runs, 14 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, and a whopping 4 home runs.  He apparently couldn’t get out of that fourth inning, where he gave up 8 of his runs.

Emilio Pagan – called up to replace Chris Heston – finished out the last 4 innings of the game, giving up 1 hit, no runs, and garnering 4 strikeouts.  After a couple of VERY shaky performances to start his Major League career, he settled down quite nicely it would seem.

Mike Zunino – putting that Tuffy nonsense to bed once and for all – returned to the Mariners, and in his first game back hit a solo home run to keep the M’s from being shut out.  He still struck out twice, but it’s a start.  Washington’s pitcher went 8 innings, giving up only the 5 hits and 0 walks, so it’s safe to say it was just his day.

Robinson Cano returned from the DL (Dan Vogelbach was predictably sent to Tacoma to make room) and went hitless in 3 at bats before being taken out of the game.  Probably shouldn’t expect him to be in mid-season form on his first day back from injury.

In the last three games, the Mariners have lost 16-1, 8-1, and now 10-1.  That’s -31 in run differential, bringing our season total to -29.  THAT’S how bad the Mariners have been the last three games.  The pitching has been a disaster, the hitting has been a disaster, and at some point you have to wonder if all this misfortune is sucking the Mariners’ collective will to live.  I know help looks like it’s on the horizon, but the Mariners are now 6 games under .500.  The hole they’re digging just gets deeper and deeper.

The Mariners Are Finding Their Season Slowly Slipping Away

Chris Heston got the start yesterday; the 11th starter the Mariners have used through 7 weeks of the season.  You might remember him from that 19-9 shellacking against the Tigers back in April.  That was the game where Felix Hernandez left early with his shoulder injury; in that game, Heston gave up 5 runs in 2 innings.  He was immediately sent down to Tacoma.  Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, so he was called up for Sunday to get the spot start (Dillon Overton had appeared the night before, going 4.1 innings of relief, giving up 5 runs in the process, and was forced back down to make room; thanks again Yovani Gallardo).

Heston, in his start yesterday, went 3 innings and gave up 7 runs, as the Mariners would go on to get destroyed again, this time 8-1.  I don’t anticipate Heston will be long for this rotation; how could he?  Two appearances, 5 total innings, 12 total runs?  In case you were wondering, that’s very BAD on the Chase De Jong scale; at the very least, I’d think you’d have to bring him back before you gave Heston another start, but what do I know?

I didn’t watch this game, because fuck that noise.  I’m tired of watching these garbage pitchers.  I don’t understand how people who attend these games aren’t constantly throwing garbage on the field, because I’d be pissed if I paid to watch these Mariners play baseball.

Dan Vogelbach got a temporary call-up to start in place of Danny Valencia (Mike Freeman was sent down to make room).  He got a hit, but I wouldn’t get used to him being around, because I hear he’s going right back to Tacoma.  Sounds like Valencia’s hand injury isn’t serious and will just be shot up full of drugs, so that’s neat.

The Mariners get a day off before an east coast swing through D.C. and Boston.  Robbie Cano will be back.  And, by all accounts, Mike Zunino will be returning, so the long national Tuffy-mare is finally over.

Considering the Phillies, Blue Jays, Athletics, and White Sox are all god-fucking-awful, yet the Mariners could only manage a record of 5-8 against them the last two weeks; and considering the Nationals, Red Sox, and Rockies are all pretty-fucking-great, it would only stand to reason the Mariners will literally be murdered in the next week and a half.  But, since this is baseball, and baseball makes no fucking sense ever, watch the Mariners come out swinging and actually manage a winning record in this impossible stretch.

What a dumb, dumb game.  I’ll be happy to have the next day off of thinking about this stupid team.

Fucking Quintana, That Creep Can Roll, Man

I could rail on the offense for getting just one hit – a Danny Valencia triple that would score on a sac fly – in a 2-1 defeat in 10 innings; I could complain about a bullpen that just isn’t very good right now; I could lament this team squandering a massively impressive start out of Ariel Miranda (7 innings, 1 run, on 4 hits and 2 walks, with a career-high 9 strikeouts), when this team can ill afford to squander ANYTHING at this critical juncture of the season; but this boils down to running into the buzzsaw that is Jose Quintana:  a good pitcher who should probably be better, who seemingly destroys the Mariners at every turn (even though the numbers, in actuality, don’t bear that out), another lefty in a long line of lefties that have managed to confound our New & Improved offense this season.

It’s a bummer, but what are you gonna do?  This offense is absolutely capable of more against a guy like Quintana, but for whatever reason it just didn’t have it.  I blame Tuffy.

Edwin Diaz returned to the land of the living, pitching two very strong shutout innings in relief of Miranda, to get us to the aforementioned extra innings.  Tony Zych came in for the tenth, hit the first batter he faced, and wouldn’t you know it?  That guy came in for the game-winning run off of a double hit by Melky Cabrera.  Zych left a low and inside curveball to Melky, who didn’t whiff; very poor placement of a pitch to a left-handed hitter, if you ask me.  But, you know, that’s the story of this bullpen’s 2017.

That’s 3 out of 4 pretty good performances out of Ariel Miranda.  Last night, he got a little bit of the Felix treatment from this offense, but if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll be more than fine.

Mitch Haniger had a bit of a setback in his recovery and his rehab assignment is being pushed back.  We seem to be on track for James Paxton to head out after this weekend, which is encouraging.  I’m tired of seeing TBD show up in the upcoming probable starters.

The Mariners Were Able To Stop The Losing Streak Thanks To Their Best(asterisk) Starter

Ahh yes, Yovani Gallardo, the last man standing in a rotation filled with infants. Where would we be without his veteran presence? Without his hittable pitches? Without his ability to gobble up innings?

He gave up 3 runs (on 2 homers) in 6.1 innings, yet the Mariners still managed to use up 6 relievers to lock down this thing in regulation, so you could tell this one was important. I just can’t get over the fact that – going into the season – we were all on the same page about Gallardo: he’d stick in the rotation for as long as he was moderately effective, but at some point he’d be DFA’d in favor of Ariel Miranda, or someone else with more promise. Now, he’s got as much job security as he could ever want! All while doing a fairly mediocre job (except, at this point, “mediocre” is a fucking godsend when compared to what we’re getting from our replacement pitchers).

The Mariners jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to some wildness by the A’s starter, plus a 2-run homer to center by Nelson Cruz. And, as is his wont, Gallardo gave almost all of it away by the time the fifth inning concluded. BUT, we hung in there and even added to our lead thanks to a Kyle Seager 2-run jack in the bottom of the eighth. 6-3: all the cushion in the world for closer Edwin Diaz!

And yet, after getting the leadoff hitter to foul out, Diaz proceeded to walk the next four batters, because of course. Thankfully, Scott Servais finally decided to do something about it, instead of hoping Diaz would work through it. THIS is what I’ve been asking for, pretty much, my entire baseball-watching life! The closer is treated like some savior who can’t be questioned, when in reality sometimes they just don’t have it! Just like ANY AND EVERY reliever sometimes just doesn’t have it. At which point, why force the issue? Why let them give away the entire game? If they don’t have it, they don’t have it. Let someone else get a shot at saving the fucking thing!

Enter Tony Zych, who did just that. He got the first batter to ground out, which still scored a run, intentionally walked the next guy to load the bases, and after running the count full, caught the final batter of the night looking to put everyone out of their misery.

Robinson Cano missed his fifth consecutive game after they thought for a minute that he might be able to play. That puts us halfway to the 10-Day DL minimum and I’ve gotta think the Mariners will need to pull that trigger if some other position player goes down.

Also, Tuffy Gosewisch went hitless again for the millionth game in a row. How much longer are we going to keep this farce going? I understand Mike Zunino needs a little time to get going, but why are we giving Tuffy the starting role in this catcher rotation? I think he has BEYOND proved that he’s not a Major League Baseball player by now. And I’ve yet to see anything even remotely remarkable about his defense. At least Zunino could slap you a single every now and then, or take a God damn walk once in a while. Tuffy is making me long for the days of Jesus Sucre for Christ’s sake!

Short-Handed Mariners Got Whomped In Toronto

I had a bad feeling about this game all day.  If I were a gambling man, near a gambling establishment, I would’ve made a significant bet on the Blue Jays to win it, and sure enough:  7-2 Toronto.

That, of course, was before I found out that Robinson Cano would sit due to that sore quad.  Oddly enough, though, it was AFTER I discovered that Justin Smoak was going to be the Blue Jays’ cleanup hitter.  He ended up going 3 for 3 with 4 RBI, because he’s a no-talent ass clown.

Nelson Cruz hit a 2-run bomb in the top of the first inning to put the Mariners in control, but obviously that wouldn’t be enough.  Chase De Jong did his part through four innings, but he fell apart after that, finishing with 5 innings, 6 runs on 7 hits & 3 walks, with only 1 strikeout.

More Mariners moves before the game.  Zac Curtis – who came over in the Walker/Segura trade – was called up from AA to replace Dan Altavilla (who was sent back to Tacoma to continue working on things).  Curtis pitched an inning of soft-landing relief, giving up 0 runs.  Sam Gaviglio – who was called up when Iwakuma went on the DL – pitched the last two innings, giving up a solo homer to Justin Smoak.

The Mariners also picked up reliever Casey Lawrence off waivers from Toronto and sent him to Tacoma.  To make room on the 40-man, Evan Scribner was put on the 60-day DL, so I guess we won’t have him to kick around for a while.

The bats were quiet yesterday, but there were also some lineup issues.  Cano, obviously, is a huge blow, since he’s really starting to heat up.  Also, Guillermo Heredia had visa issues because he’s Cuban and they played in Canada and Donald Trump is our president and everyone is dumb.  So, that forced Taylor Motter into the outfield and Mike Freeman to get the start at second base.  Motter got a walk and Freeman got less than that.  I don’t even know what Mike Freeman is doing up here, except yes I do, because apparently Shawn O’Malley hurt his shoulder and I still don’t know how, and because Mitch Haniger is still on the DL with that oblique.  GET WELL SOON, MITCH!  Freeman is still dining out on that 2-hit day in Houston where he hit his home run, and hasn’t done a God damn thing since.

Also, it stinks that Carlos Ruiz apparently can’t play on back-to-back days, because this Tuffy guy SUUUUUUUCKS.  God fucking dammit, whose dick do you gotta suck to get a good-hitting catcher on this team?

Here’s to hoping the lineup is rested and refreshed for the next three games, because I could see this 4-game series getting out of control with how bad our pitching looks.

The Mariners Aren’t Giving Up Without A Fight

This weekend was shaping up to be a real disaster.  And, while it’s not over, at least on Saturday the Mariners looked like the kind of team that can weather this storm.

Before the game, two MORE moves were made.  Evan Marshall was placed on the DL with the aforementioned hamstring strain.  And Emilio Pagan was sent back to Tacoma, mostly to give this team more pitchers to use for last night’s game, considering they were coming off of a 13 inning loss and Chase De Jong was getting just his second Major League start.  Back up, we have Dan Altavilla (who gave up a solo homer in one inning of mop up work last night) and Rob Whalen, who started the season on the DL before making one start in Tacoma.  He was an insurance long reliever that, thankfully, the Mariners didn’t need.

That’s because Chase De Jong went 6 innings, giving up only 1 run on 4 hits and 0 walks, with 3 strikeouts.  He only had 75 pitches to his name at that point, but I can see why we wouldn’t want to push it.  Unfortunately, he didn’t get the win, as he left with the game still 1-1, and the Mariners didn’t explode for 7 more runs until the bottom of the seventh.

The offense did some real damage once again, as every starter got a hit except for recently called up backup catcher Tuffy Gosewisch.  They gave James Pazos the win, with Tony Zych working a scoreless eighth.

We’re back at it again this afternoon, with what I’m told will be Dillon Overton getting the start.  Either him, or the other guy they’re talking about calling up.  I can’t get all the names straight.  I’ve never had to learn the names of so many Tacoma Rainiers before!

The 2017 Seattle Mariners Are The Unluckiest Team I’ve Ever Seen

I should point out the Mariners already lost before the game even started, with Paxton going on the DL and with uber-bust Mike Zunino getting sent to Tacoma (with Tuffy Gosewisch coming back to backup Carlos Ruiz).  Then, they lost to the Rangers in 13 innings, by a score of 3-1, after blowing SO MANY FUCKING SCORING OPPORTUNITIES.  And then they lost a third time when a couple more pitchers went down with injury, because this team hasn’t suffered enough.

Because this fanbase hasn’t suffered enough.

Apparently Paxton is only going to miss 2-3 starts, but I dunno.  Even if he comes back, I’m sure five more guys will go down.  When it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.

Between all of those pre-game shenanigans and the thought of a Gallardo/Darvish matchup that evening, I’ll admit, the thought of putting much effort into watching the game didn’t appeal to me.  After the Mariners got burned by replay twice in the first inning, that sealed it.  I dipped in here and there, but went to bed after Gallardo finished his sixth inning.

For anyone looking for a silver lining, you could point to Gallardo having his best performance of the season.  6 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts.  He has one more impressive line than that this year, but that was in an 11-1 blowout; this was a game that was tied 1-1 after four innings, so obviously a lot more pressure.  It would remain 1-1 into the 13th inning, so another silver lining could be the bullpen.  But, again, back-to-back injuries in the 11th puts a huge damper on that.

Jean Machi has looked like the real fucking deal in his 3 appearances this week since being called up for I can’t even remember who.  Casey Fien, I guess.  But, he had to come out thanks to nerve damage in his pitching hand, causing him to be unable to grip the baseball (which, as far as pitching injuries go, seems like the worst one you can get; I mean, what does a pitcher do without hands?).  Evan Marshall was called in to replace Machi, and somehow blew out his hamstring after 2 pitches, recording no outs.  Recall he was last seen in that 19-9 disaster against Detroit, where he gave up 7 runs in 2 innings, so it’s safe to say Marshall was less tied into Mariners success this season.

Regardless, though, this shit is really starting to add up.

Last night’s game may have gone 13 innings, but it was lost in the bottom of the 10th.  Jean Segura led off with a double, and all Gamel had to do was get a fucking bunt down in fair territory.  He instead somehow managed to strike out looking, which likely would have put me in such a boiling rage (had I watched it live) that I may have died from a coronary, so probably better that I went to bed.  Cano ended up getting intentionally walked (which gave him 3 walks on the night, to go with 2 hits, including a solo homer back in the 4th), which brought us to Nelson Cruz, who flew out to center that – by all accounts – would have been deep enough to score Segura from third had Gamel done his fucking job.  Seager would ground out to end the threat, and from there it was all just a waiting game until the Rangers mashed a 2-run homer off of Emilio Pagan in the 13th to take the hard luck loss, because he was the last available reliever in the ‘pen.

Speaking of Gamel, he came up short on a fly ball down the right field line back in the first inning that – after review declared it to be fair – led to the Rangers scoring their only run in regulation.  So, in MANY ways, Gamel is the fucking goat of this game.  Thanks for nothing, dick.

And with Chase De Jong starting tonight, followed by TBD From Tacoma starting tomorrow, this weekend should prove to be as demoralizing as advertised.  Thankfully, I’ll be nowhere near a television tonight, so I won’t have to be subjected to this nonsense.

2017 Mariners Misery Tracker

  • Drew Smyly – 60 day DL
  • Steve Cishek – starts season on DL from offseason hip surgery
  • Tony Zych – starts season on DL, since returned
  • Jean Segura – On DL for 2 weeks in April
  • Mitch Haniger – On DL for approx 1 month
  • Felix Hernandez – On DL for approx 1 month
  • James Paxton – On DL for at least 10 days
  • Evan Scribner – On DL for who knows how long
  • Evan Marshall – Blew out hamstring, will miss considerable time
  • Jean Machi – nerve damage in pitching hand

And we’re only one month and one week into the season.