Roenis Elias Makes Me Happy

The Mariners won in New York last night, sweeping the abbreviated 2-game series.  I’m not going to talk about Michael Saunders’ three-hit game, because I know any success with him is short-lived and sure to be followed by a lengthy period of sucking.  I’m not going to talk about how God-awful the Yankees’ hitters look, though that has to be the most over-priced bunch of losers I’ve ever seen!  At least with the Mariners’ losers, you’re not paying them $10 million apiece to slap a bunch of singles around.  I’m not even going to talk about this 3-game winning streak we’re on, with Felix set to start tonight in Houston.

Nope, I’m back once again to sing the praises of Roenis Elias.

This kid is fast becoming my favorite non-Felix part of this Mariners season.  The last time I wrote about him, he’d just gone into Texas and came away with an impressive victory.  The subsequent couple of games were more or less nondescript (he was left in the game about an inning too long and paid the price with a 3-run homer down in Miami to put the bad guys up 6-0 in that particular contest before he was pulled; he gave up 3 runs in 5.2 innings at home against the Rangers in a game the Mariners would rally late to win), but last night’s game was his first true masterpiece.

7 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts, in a 4-2 victory.

These Yankees may not house one of the feared offenses of recent seasons (in large part thanks to the Mariners poaching away Robinson Cano), and this new abomination they play in may be a capitalist bastardization of Classic Yankee Stadium (pardon me, I must have been reading too many Seattle May Day tweets last night), but as long as the 25 guys in that home dugout are wearing those pinstripe jerseys without names on the backs, there is always going to be that mystique.

The New York Yankees!  If ever there was a baseball team considered “America’s Team”, this would be it (sorry-not-sorry, Red Sox fans).  Whether you’re a kid in the Dominican trying to get noticed, a rising star in the Japanese leagues, a blind-deaf-mute Inuit sitting around a hole in the ice holding a makeshift fishing pole, or a Cuban on a boat headed for Mexico hoping to break away from his homeland and make it in the Major Leagues, if nothing else you’ve heard of the New York Yankees.  When you think of the Major Leagues, you think:  New York Yankees.  Most players aren’t so fortunate as to get signed by the New York Yankees, but that’s not really the point.  There are 29 other avenues you can take to make it to the Major Leagues, and that’s really all that matters.

Yet, you know, if you can establish yourself as a big league player, one day you’ll make your debut in Yankee Stadium.  It doesn’t matter if the Yankees themselves are good or not; you never forget your first game in Yankee Stadium.

For Roenis Elias, he struck out ten guys and consistently had them off-balance all night.  Hell, he struck out Hall of Famer Derek Jeter twice!

You know why this kid is going to be great?  Because nothing phases him.  I’m sure we’re all sick to death by now of hearing our announcers blather on and on about his journey escaping from Cuba.  They marvel at the story because it’s an amazing story, but also because it explains so much about why he’s here right now and why he’s succeeding!  If you can withstand all he’s had to go through, then facing a bunch of over-priced prima donnas is a cinch.

There has been a lot of crap we’ve had to endure just a month into this thing.  When any baseball season starts, as a fan you can’t help but at least have a LITTLE glimmer of hope.  If everything goes right, MAYBE we can make some noise.  Yet, it has seemed like just about everything has gone WRONG, and that’s a shitty way to feel when you’ve got five more months of baseball left to go.  Fans need hope.  It’s our life force.  Without hope, we might as well all sit around watching golf or taking dance lessons or something.

The Mariners still need a lot to break right, but now at least we have a pretty good idea of what exactly it’s going to take to succeed.  For as bad as the numbers look from most of our hitters, we can win with this group of guys.  Maybe at the deadline, we’d want to trade for an outfielder or something, but I’m confident enough in them to get the job done.

It’s the pitching that needs to get better.  Luckily, we know HOW it can get better:  people just need to get healthy and stay healthy.  Hisashi Iwakuma coming back this weekend is a great start.  That gives us three.  Roenis Elias IS that third, and who would have guessed that a month ago?  Who would have guessed that the guy making the jump from AA would be one of our rocks in the rotation?

If only Walker & Paxton can just get better and stay better, we might HAVE something here!

Then again, if we lose too many games before they’re able to return, will it be too late?

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