Look, I’m not saying that the Mariners are 0 for their last 3 because they cut John Buck on Monday. I’m just saying that they’ve made a lot of seemingly unnecessary moves this week.
Ostensibly, you cut Buck in favor of Jesus Sucre because you value Sucre’s defense at the catcher position. And because you need to spell Mike Zunino more often to keep him fresh for the stretch run. And yet, here we are, running Zunino out there every day anyway! My guess, which will certainly come true, is that Sucre won’t get the start until the day game on Sunday, which takes us right back to Zunino getting only one day off a week anyway!
It’s all so aggravating. It’s not Buck’s fault, or the lack of Buck’s fault. This offense is completely inept about half of its games, and somewhat reasonable in about half of its games. Right now, we’re in one of those inept periods. Since we scored 28 runs in the three games against Houston last week, the Mariners have scored 9 runs in 7 games against the White Sox and Twins – two SHITTY FUCKING TEAMS. With the White Sox, you can kind of understand it, because they were running out some quality starters. But, the Twins? There is NO fucking excuse for the kind of poor play we’ve seen.
Of course, unlike most of the times our offense is inept, we’re actually getting hits. In the 2-0 shutout, we had 8 hits and left 6 on base. In the 8-1 drubbing, we managed 12 hits … and left 12 on base. Finally, in last night’s 4-2 fiasco, we had another 12 hits and 10 left on base. Opportunities were there! And, for the record, Corey Hart can eat my whole asshole.
Can’t just blame Corey Hart, but it’s fun to try. Since his return from the DL, he’s played in 7 games and has 5 hits. All singles. What does it tell you that I’d rather have Justin Smoak as our DH? What does it tell you that I’d rather have fucking Jesus Montero? Shit man, right now I’d settle for Endy Chavez again! At least when he hits the ball into a gap, he has a chance to motor in for two bases!
Corey Hart is a waste of fucking space who doesn’t deserve multiple weeks to get his shit together. He’s hitting the ball like my grandmother, he runs like the fucking Tin Man from the fucking Wizard of Oz, and he’s getting too many opportunities with runners on base because LMC is batting him in or around the cleanup spot.
You want to DFA someone? DFA Hart, not Buck. Bring Smoak back, tell Hart to go fuck himself, and put LoMo at DH where he fucking belongs. The Corey Hart Experiment was a disaster, we all know it, might as well stop giving him plate appearances so we just have to pay him more for sucking all the dicks.
In other Suck A Dick news, we had our Bullpen Day yesterday. I’m sorry, did the Mariners defect and join the Pacific Coast League and nobody told me? What kind of low-rent, Minor League bullshit are you selling us? Frankly, I think everyone in attendance should get their money back. Yes, I agreed with the move to push Felix back to the Oakland series, but I didn’t think we’d call up all of Tacoma’s relievers this week just to see if we could literally put ANYONE out there on the mound and try to win a game. Why wouldn’t you bring up Erasmo for a spot start? You knew you were pushing Felix back with enough advanced warning to adjust Erasmo’s pitch count! It’s not hard to get five fucking innings out of the kid!
The Mariners – in an effort to get cute and gear up for this all-important weekend series against Oakland – were totally out-classed by the Twins this week. You want to motivate a team? Push your #1 starter to the next series, because you think pitching him in this series would be “wasting him”. You don’t think the Twins wanted to ram this week down our throats? Then, instead of bringing up another starter, we’ll go ahead and use six relievers instead. Fuck it, right? The Twins aren’t any kind of competition!
Yeah, so the Twins had that bulletin board material this week. What did the Mariners have? The Buck DFA, which was unanimously panned by the rest of the team, except for a few pitchers, I guess, who didn’t like the way he received the ball. One could argue that was another motivating tactic, to show these players that nobody is safe. Except, at that point, you’ve just got everyone playing scared. Playing to NOT lose their jobs, instead of going out there and trying to improve. Fear breeds mistakes, which you’ve seen all over the place this week.
In short, this week was the perfect storm of motivation backfiring on the Mariners. And now we’re here. The table is set. We went and dropped dinner on the kitchen floor multiple times, but now the table is set and our guests have arrived. The Oakland A’s are in town. They’re ahead of us by 9 games, because they HAVEN’T spent the week shitting the bed. That’s neither here nor there, of course, because Anaheim has also been on a tear and currently sits a whopping 5.5 games ahead of us. We’ve still got that second Wild Card spot by 1.5 games, but what’s the point?
This thing won’t come to fruition if we don’t make some serious moves. Standing pat, hoarding all of our prospects: that’s not the way we’re going to make the playoffs. One of these teams below us in the Wild Card hunt is going to get super hot at some point. If we’re not prepared to improve our ballclub, we’re going to be left in their dust. Yeah, a few of our prospects might turn into another Kyle Seager. But, most of them will be Dustin Ackley and Brad Miller. Sometimes, you just have to take a chance and hope for the best.
And, at this point, I’m not just talking about improving our hitting. Yes, we do need upgrades. We need an average everyday left fielder to replace Ackley and an average everyday 1B/DH so we can drop Hart. We ALSO need another starter. At this point, how can you trust Roenis Elias, when it looks like the league has adjusted to what he has to offer and he’s struggling to adjust to their adjustments? When you factor in Taijuan Walker also being a rookie, and Chris Young being moments away from turning into a pumpkin, this rotation could really use a jumpstart. At that point, we have to hope our bullpen can remain reasonably effective, and hope it doesn’t take too many of them to bring in the other pieces we need to improve.
I dunno, maybe it’s a lost cause. Maybe there are too many holes to make this dam operational. Maybe, no matter what we do, we’re doomed to be mediocre and miss out on the playoffs.
This All Star Break can get REALLY depressing in a hurry. You hate to put a whole season on one series, but it is imperative that the Mariners not only look good against the A’s this weekend, but WIN this fucking series. And, ideally, sweep it.
I mean, this is it! If things stay the way they are and the Mariners make the playoffs, these are the three guys you’re going to see pitching: Felix, Iwakuma, Young. We’re putting all of our cards on the table right now, against the best team in baseball. If we go out there in these next three games and duff the ball around, and stink at the plate with runners in scoring position, and lose a bunch of games 3-2 and 2-1 and 1-0, reality is going to hit this organization like a ton of bricks.
There are many turning points in any Major League season. The Mariners had one on April 23rd when they ended an 8-game losing streak and proceeded to have one of the best records in baseball over the next 2+ months. This series against Oakland could be another turning point, for the worse. Losing this series would mean the Mariners have gone 3-7 in the ten games leading up to the break. Getting swept would mean the Mariners have gone 2-8. It’s not the worst stretch of baseball you’ve ever seen; those types of stretches happen to most teams at one point or another. But, this will have the added symbolism of coming at the end of the honorary “first half”. With two more weeks of baseball before the trade deadline, followed by another two months of going through the motions.
And, here I was, getting all excited for being in contention. The next four weeks will sure be interesting. After that, if the Mariners happen to fall apart, at least we’ve got pre-season football on August 7th.