Well, that 8-game winning streak sure was fun, right?
April, May, June. What’s the buzzword for July? What’s my overarching feeling about this Mariners team as we head into the final two months of the season? Meh. That’s how I feel. Meh. The Mariners picked up five games in their quest to finish the season at .500, with a 15-10 record in July. The Mariners had a CHANCE to do so much more, but of course because they’re the Mariners, they couldn’t let a month go by without double-digit losses.
July started out rock-solid, with a 4-2 road trip against the likes of Texas and Cincinnati. Then, the Mariners came crashing down to Earth with a 3-1 series defeat at the hands of the Red Sox. I’m sure everyone was thinking as I was, “Same ol’ Mariners,” but then something amazing happened.
Yes, the 8-game winning streak. The streak that defined the month. Three over the Angels, three over the Astros, and two more over the Indians. Things were looking VERY good. The delusional among us were even contemplating the impending possibility of playoff contention. Then, the Mariners split a 4-game series to the lowly Twins and followed that up with these last two road losses to the Red Sox. This 2-5 finish has really put a damper on what was once an exciting month.
I said it last night and I’ll say it again: my opinion on the Mariners’ month of July totally depended on how yesterday’s game ended. It’s sad, but it’s true. A second consecutive defeat to the Red Sox meant it was yet another series the Mariners wouldn’t win. More than that, it’s the ultimate example of how the Mariners are not There yet. They’re not a player. They would have no business being in the playoffs, because there are still truly great teams out there like the Red Sox to thump us back down the beanstalk.
But, what does that mean? Yesterday was one game. It was the difference between either 15-10 or 16-9. I say that knowing full well it’s a ludicrous statement, and yet here we are. I wouldn’t call July a failure, but it’s certainly a disappointment considering it could’ve been so much better. Tack on a couple more wins – last night’s game and the Felix nine-inning no-decision to the Twins – and I’m a lot more pleased. But, what are you gonna do? They are who they are.
July saw the return of Erasmo Ramirez, which also meant we got to say goodbye to Jeremy Bonderman. Win/win. July also saw the fracturing of the hamate bone of Mike Zunino, which also means Henry Blanco is now a semi-full time starter along with some other scrub. Lose/lose. Mike Morse returned from the DL and Jason Bay was DFA’d … same/same. Eric Wedge had a minor stroke and has been away from the team for the last couple weeks … let’s move on.
August is going to suck. I’m just going to put that out there right now. The Mariners won’t be going on any 8-game winning streaks this month; nor will they end the month with a winning record. Raul Ibanez is in the toilet right now. Miller and Franklin have their good days and their dreadful days. The bottom of our lineup includes a pile of crap (Ackley), a pile of crap that plays good defense (Saunders), and a cover-your-eyes honest-to-goodness shit-hole that is whoever is catching that day. Kyle Seager and Kendrys Morales are the only two people batting worth a damn, the team is jerking around Smoak’s playing time in favor of watching Morse strike out five times a day (three in the game and two more in the batting cage just for practice), and at this point I don’t even know why Brendan Ryan is even on the team anymore.
Oh, and by the way, why are the Mariners so insistent on playing Ackley in center and bumping Saunders over to one of the corner outfield spots? Ackley’s arm is terrible, his range isn’t all that great, and he’s clearly the inferior defender. You’re supposed to hide those types of guys in left field! But, then again, I guess they really can’t when they’re already hiding Ibanez’s broken ass in left. Hey, here’s a great idea: play a 41 year old every fucking day because he was on a hot streak for a month. That’s a genius way to make sure the guy gets overworked and turns into a pathetic flailing mess at the plate!
Defying all expectations, Aaron Harang is still a thang (!). I give it two more weeks before the team picks up whatever triple-A pitcher is going best and dumps Harang on his ass (James Paxton alert! Please keep going on that roll you’re on!).
Felix is still mowing people down and looks like he’s got the inside track for the Cy Young Award. That’s exciting. Iwakuma is still plugging along, though he won’t be getting any Cy Young consideration. Joe Saunders is Joe Saunders. Erasmo is still working the kinks out, but I fully expect him to deliver a quality outing any time now.
The bullpen feels to me like it has been slightly better of late. I know it’s hard to judge, what with the late-game & extra-innings defeats lately. Wilhelmsen has his closer’s job back. The team didn’t trade Oliver Perez. Hector Noesi was sent back to Tacoma recently (hopefully for good). And I can’t bring myself to talk about anyone else.
Like I said, I fully expect August to be terrible. But, that’s okay, because one week from today, we’ll be looking at the first Seahawks pre-season game. And even if the starters only play a couple of drives, who cares? It’s football! Football isn’t baseball! Which means that football is good! God I hate baseball with all of my being!