I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the fact that the Mariners have won 6 of 9. Maybe it’s all the raking our offense did in Colorado last week. Maybe it’s residual honeymoon afterglow of a thrilling flurry of deadline deals. Or, maybe it’s peace and contentedness in the knowledge that the “contention” portion of this season is long gone, and all that’s left is to give some of the younger guys some play to see what we have for next year.
The 2015 season rates pretty high on the unpleasant scale. Sure, we’re losing a lot, and it’s not entirely unlike 2013, 2012, 2011, and so on; but 2015 deserves it’s own wing in the Unpleasantness Museum of Seattle. Not since 2010 have expectations and reality been so diametrically opposed, but even then (or 2008 for that matter), we were coming off of seasons that were largely fraudulent. In 2007, the Mariners were 14 games over .500 in spite of a -27 run differential. In 2009, the Mariners were 8 games over .500, with a ridiculous -52 run differential. One could say, in spite of heightened expectations in 2008 and 2010, you could have seen our regression coming a mile away (perhaps clouded by the likes of Erik Bedard and Cliff Lee, who many saw as the “missing pieces” of a championship run).
But, the God damned 2014 Mariners were 12 games over .500 (and a single game out of the Wild Card play-in game) with a whopping +80 run differential! And what did we do but get “better” with offseason additions like Nelson Cruz and company? 2015 should have been a fucking slam dunk, and instead it’s been a sledgehammer to the nuts.
So, why do I feel better now? It’s probably a combo of everything in the first paragraph. There’s no real pressure that comes with expectations, because all expectations right now point to this team playing .500 ball and running out the string of games. We’re also in the throes of NFL training camp and a few days away from the first pre-season game. So, for the time being, it’s all about baseball until it’s not about baseball anymore until next February.
And, while it’s still batty to hope for some sort of turnaround, I think what’s most encouraging is some of the new players being productive and hitting. Specifically, Jesus Montero and his 6 extra base hits in a very short sample size. It might not last, but then again it might! And just imagine where this team could be if Montero miraculously pans out. The Pineda/Montero trade is the deal that won’t stop swinging wildly between one team clearly winning it over the other.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to see a bum like Ackley hit the DL mere days after we unloaded him. I don’t expect his back issues to be a long-term issue; I’m just glad he’s away from me and my team, and we’ll never have to see him in a Mariners lineup ever again. Maybe THAT’S why I’m so high on baseball right now! I live in an Ackley-free world and a Happ-free world; there’s something to be said for your team getting rid of players you absolutely loathe.