I use this logic a lot when I’m describing a team: good teams find a way to win close games. Conversely, bad teams find ways to lose those games. In the first two months, by and large, the Mariners were finding ways to win those 50/50 games they would’ve lost in years past. In June, where we’re halfway through and the Mariners are already 4-9, the Mariners are finding every way imaginable to lose the games they were just winning a few weeks ago!
Last night, the Mariners did everything right. They jumped all over a good pitcher early, locking in a 5-2 lead before Walker fell apart and had to be pulled due to an achilles injury. Still, it was 5-4 heading into the 7th inning, and you know what? That should be enough. The bullpen has one fucking job. Each guy in that bullpen, ALL they have to do, is get somewhere between 1-3 batters out when you’re at that point in the game. Generally: one guy pitches the 7th, one guy pitches the 8th, and Cishek comes in to close it out in the 9th.
HOW FUCKING HARD IS IT TO GET THREE HITTERS OUT?
A one run lead heading into the 7th should just be a victory for your team, period. If you can’t hold that down, then you have no business playing in this league.
But, fine, you know what? The Mariners did this bullpen a huge favor by tacking on TWO MORE runs in the top of the 7th! So, a 1-run lead became what should’ve been an insurmountable 3-run lead, and at this point you’re just TRYING to give away baseball games if you blow a 3-run lead with three innings to go!
So, in trots Nick Vincent, he of the 87 mph fastball that lopes gently across the plate; it’s a wonder how he’s not hit harder more often. He, of course, gave up a hit and a walk before allowing the game-tying 3-run homer, and it was all academic at that point. Mike Montgomery came in and proceeded to suck the dick of everyone in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, and what was once a sure-thing victory turned into yet another demoralizing defeat.
Did you know the Mariners are winless in the last five games decided by 1 run? That, of course, is dating back to the series with the Twins, where all this misery started in the first place. So, what is it? Who are the REAL Mariners? Was it the team rocking and rolling through most of the first two months of the season? Is that team just hitting a rough patch? Or, are THESE the real Mariners? And THESE Mariners just happened to have been playing an unsustainably-good brand of baseball for the first 8 weeks of the season?
I’m afraid I’m out of answers on this one. Trying to figure out the Seattle Mariners makes my head hurt.
Again, I hate to be a broken record, but I have no problem whatsoever with the hitting. Granted, the Mariners were 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position last night … BUT THEY SCORED SEVEN FUCKING RUNS! I don’t give a SHIT how they score them; if they’re consistently averaging over 5 runs per game, they’re doing their jobs! If they score SEVEN runs in a game, they should damn well win that motherfucking game! So, shove your devil’s advocate argument up your fucking asshole, because I’m not buying it!
This is all on the pitching, which is – for the record – the part of the team that was most overhauled in the offseason. I’ll praise Jerry Dipoto until the cows come home for the way he invigorated the lineup and our defensive presence; but by the same token, you have to criticize him a little bit for the way the pitching was handled.
If you even want to call Iwakuma a “positive” presence on this team, then I’ll give you that, but you’ve got to give ME the fact that Dipoto was lucky to have him fall in his lap. Iwakuma was all but a Dodger until they backed out of the deal, at which point suddenly Mariners ownership found a few extra sheckles to give him a deal. But, I wouldn’t say that was Dipoto working his Dipoto Magic.
Wade Miley has been a disaster to this point. That’s not to say he won’t turn it around, but halfway into June, Miley sucks. To get him, we gave up a young, cheap starter with lots of club control (Roenis Elias, who by the way, we’ll be seeing start against us when we hit Boston this weekend) and a potentially-elite reliever in Carson Smith, who is awesome when healthy (and also cheap, with lots of club control), but obviously hasn’t been this year.
I’m not actually mad at the Karns deal at all. I’ll give Dipoto a pass on this one, considering he got Karns by trading away a lot of our garbage from the previous regime (Brad Miller, LoMo, and Danny Farquhar). Karns still has upside, and/or could be trade bait for someone better in the short term.
That takes us to the bullpen, which was largely overhauled. A couple of guys haven’t even pitched for us yet, so their injury-plagued seasons are on Dipoto. Benoit missed a bunch of time, and hasn’t been the lockdown set-up man we all thought he was going to be (he also has a ridiculous salary to boot). Peralta was a disaster who we kept around for as long as we did due to injuries to other guys. Cishek has 3 losses and 4 blown saves on his record already. Nick Vincent has looked okay, but he’s probably not fit for the advanced bullpen role he’s been thrust into. Am I missing anyone? I guess Steve Johnson is a thing, and not a very good thing at that.
I dunno. We’re talking about a lot of guys who are coming off of down years. The Mariners under Jackie Z were largely predicated on bringing in guys on value deals, who were good TWO years ago, but struggled the year prior, thus why they were so cheap to bring in to begin with. I hate that line of thinking, even if it’s probably best applied to the bullpen, whose wonky nature will see guys dominate one year, then look like total and complete ass the next year, while largely throwing the same exact stuff (see Benoit, for instance; or see Fernando Rodney in San Diego, who has STILL not given up an earned run, after sucking all ass around town for the Mariners last year).
Are these good Mariners having a bad run, or bad Mariners finally showing their true colors? I suspect the answer is somewhere in between. These are the Mariners. Sometimes they’re going to look like world-beaters, sometimes they’re going to look like the worst team in baseball. They’re a whole lot closer to being a .500 team than anyone wants to believe, especially considering exactly 3 weeks ago, we were 10 games OVER .500.
I hate sports.