Week 21 Random Mariners Thoughts

This is a legitimate question:  what are you more excited for, at this very moment:  the Seahawks or the Mariners?

Ask most people in Seattle (who also happen to follow both sports), and most of them will probably say the Seahawks.  But, to even be in the discussion right now is a God damn miracle AND I WANT YOU TO FUCKING ACKNOWLEDGE IT!

The Mariners are scorching the baseball landscape right now.  4-2 in the last week.  6-3 on the most recent road trip.  14-4 dating back to the start of the last homestand.  15-6 in the month of August.  The pitching is still awesome, the hitting is starting to figure it out, and this team is a contender – a REAL contender – for the first time since 2003.  Don’t give me this shit with 2007 and 2009, because those teams were flawed and at this point in those seasons, they were over-achieving like you wouldn’t believe (or apparently, over-achieving like you don’t remember).  This is a TRUE playoff team, and it’s peaking at the right time.

Unfortunately, so are a few other teams.  Kansas City is still defying all odds and leading their division.  Detroit is hanging right there with us and they’ve got an offense that certainly won’t quit.  Their pitching woes could easily right themselves in the coming few weeks and they could make a run to ruin our day.  The Yankees are right there and likely won’t fade until late.  Toronto could always go on a super run like they were on before.  The Mariners are only 1 game up in the Wild Card standings, and that’s scary, because it’s required one helluva run just to get to this point.  Can we keep up this pace?

Of note is the fact that the Mariners are 6 games behind Anaheim for the division lead, and only 5 games behind Oakland for the first Wild Card spot.  Yes, the Angels look amazing, and yes, the A’s are struggling.  But, they’re both good teams and we play them a combined 13 times in the final month.

To answer my own question at the top, I’m about 50/50 split in my excitement between the Mariners and Seahawks.  That may sound like a cop out, but remember:  the Seahawks are the best team in football, and the Mariners are still – in spite of this hot run of baseball – a fringe playoff team.  I’m over here having visions of the Seahawks with their Best Offense In The Game winning 14+ games and repeating as Super Bowl champs!  Talk to me as the week progresses – if the Mariners can pull out a series win against the Rangers today thru Wednesday – and you’ll likely see that scale tip in the Mariners’ favor (besides, even I can’t muster up the strength to give a shit about a fourth pre-season game against the Raiders).

I missed almost all of the Boston series, as I was camping with my family.  Beer pong tournaments and Spades tournaments and Bud Lights and hot dogs for days.  In the mountains, with no phone service … by God, it was GLORIOUS!  So, consider my delight when – on the drive back – I turned on my phone and discovered the Mariners won the first couple games in dramatic fashion!  Normally, when I return home from my annual camping trip, I plug in to discover that the Mariners have stunk in my absence (thus allowing me to feel good about my missing that mess).  This year, I would have been entertained and enthralled!

The starting pitching was a mess, but that’s sort of to be expected in Boston.  I hate playing games there; it’s no wonder that’s the first time the Mariners ever swept them in a 3-game road series.

I’m more excited about the hitting.  Dustin Ackley’s hot run has somehow continued.  Austin Jackson has been just what the doctor ordered.  Kendrys Morales is starting to pick up steam.  Seager and Cano have been steady, if maybe falling off EVER so slightly from their mid-season pace.  If LoMo can just be solid – not GREAT, but just solid – that’s a potent lineup.  Especially when you consider Zunino’s occasional power, the steady play out of our right field platoon, and Chris Taylor coming to the Majors with guns a-blazing.

I’m willing to write off the pitching struggles in Boston as a fluke of being in Fenway.  But, even if it’s not a fluke – even if we’re starting to see some of that dreaded regression we’ve been talking about all year – they’re not just going to fall apart.  The pendulum isn’t going to completely swing the opposite way; these guys aren’t going to just forget how to get hitters out!  They may come back down to Earth a little bit, but they’re still going to shine more often than not.

And, with the way the offense has been picking up the slack in August, it’s reasonable to expect that this team can CONTINUE winning at a dramatic rate, even IF the pitching isn’t doing all the heavy lifting.

Three at home against the suck-ass Rangers and three at home against the first place Nationals coming up.  For the record, Felix faces the Rangers on Wednesday, and we’ve got a tough road ahead with the pitchers we face against Washington.  They’re running out Zimmerman and Strasburg Friday and Saturday, with a good young starter going on Sunday.  Iwakuma and Strasburg will be one to watch, for sure.

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