Unsustainable Mariners Bullpen Is Unsustainable

Pretty rough and shitty weekend for the Mariners.  Could have – and probably should have – won two out of three of those games.  Instead, they lost all three, to a free-falling Angels team overwhelmed by injuries.  Because of course.  Because Same Old Mariners.

If you were like me, and you were absolutely astonished at how well the bullpen had been performing through the first five weeks – knowing full well that a top tier bullpen is exactly what you need to put up the type of first place numbers the Mariners were throwing out there – you probably had an itch in the back of your mind that you couldn’t quite scratch.  That itch of:  THIS IS UNSUSTAINABLE!  AT SOME POINT, THIS BULLPEN IS GOING TO START BLOWING GAMES, AND WHEN THAT TIME COMES, IT’S GOING TO BE A TIDAL WAVE OF LOSING THE LIKES OF WHICH WE’RE ALL TOO FAMILIAR!  8========D — — —

What we all hoped for was to stave off this regression as long as possible.  Yes, there are injured bullpen guys who are set to return.  Their return should bump some of the dead weight off the roster, and shore up some things in the winnable games we have to come.  But, we’ve got to GET there without throwing away all the good will this team has built up.  Without throwing away all the wins it took to get us into this 2-team race for first in the A.L. West.

What we really DIDN’T need was for the whole thing to come crashing down against the likes of the fucking Angels this weekend.

On Friday, the Mariners’ offense absolutely did enough to win that game.  Could they have done more?  Sure.  1-12 with runners in scoring position is never a number you want to see.  We let their starter repeatedly wiggle off the hook in the early innings, and it ended up coming back to haunt us.  But, we scored SIX runs!  If you can’t win a game where your team scores six runs – I don’t care HOW many runners they leave on base! – then that’s on the pitching 100%.

Karns was rolling along pretty well until the 7th inning, at which point Nuno & Vincent proceeded to let a couple of inherited runners score.  But, going into the 8th inning, the Mariners were still up 6-3, so you figure you have that game in the bag.  Then, in walked Joel Peralta – who absolutely looks like a guy who deserves little more than a minor league deal and a Spring Training invite.  That guy is going to be the death of a great many games before he’s finally, mercifully released.  He gave up a homer and two doubles to make the game 6-5 going into the 9th inning.

But, then Cishek came in – with plenty of rest, after having Wednesday and Thursday off – and loaded the bases before giving up the go-ahead 2-run single that decided the game.  Blown Save & Loss #2 of the season was only the beginning.

Saturday’s game was a thrilling back-and-forth affair.  The Mariners jumped up first thanks to a 2-run home run by Adam Lind of all people.  Things settled into a nice little pitcher’s duel until the 7th inning, where this time it was Iwakuma who faltered.  Kuma gave up a run in the 6th, then two more in the 7th before giving way to Joel Peralta, who not only gave up Kuma’s final run, but also two of his own thanks to the back-to-back homers the Angels hit off of him.  Peralta was unable to get a single out in this game, which is just pathetic, but again probably not surprising when you pitch him on back-to-back days.

All in all, the Mariners gave up five runs in the inning, and were trailing by 6-2 going into the bottom of the 8th, before things miraculously turned around.  Thanks to a smattering of hits and walks (and no homers in the bunch), the Mariners were able to put a 5-spot up of their own to re-take the lead, 7-6.  And, yeah, while there were a good many runners left on base, you gotta think scoring 7 runs in a game is the offense more than doing their job.

But, of course, Cishek let two runners get on and left a meatball for the scuffling Albert Pujols to hit out to left field for a 3-run homer.  Back-to-back losses and blown saves in back-to-back days?  What could be worse?

Well, getting shutout the next day, on a day where Felix looked like his usual, dominant self, is a pretty fitting capper to a crappy weekend.  Felix’s line would’ve actually looked a lot better, but the manager decided to pull him in the top of the 8th with two runners on, and Nick Vincent let both of them score.  That’s one way to look better than you really are.

Now, the Mariners hit the road for three games against first place Baltimore.  Hope everyone enjoys watching Mark Trumbo slamming the ball all around the park!

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