What’s the latest? Well, Steve Clevenger broke a bone in his hand and is probably gone til
November September. In his place, Mike Zunino and his 248 at bats from Tacoma are back up here. He hit a respectable .282/.366/.516/.882 down there, and now he has the double-bonus of learning from Edgar Martinez, and also not having to play every day. We’re in a really critical part of his career development right now. Has he had enough time to refine and focus on his hitting? Or, is this too soon and he’s going to revert back to old habits? Pray For Mojo.
The other move involves short-lived Mariners reliever Donn Roach, who on Wednesday gave up 3 runs in 1 inning, then was promptly demoted back to Tacoma in favor of Tom Wilhelmsen, who has apparently been cured of all his sucktitude after only two appearances down there! WEEEEEE!
What does all that mean? Well, luckily, neither Zunino nor Wilhelmsen were needed yesterday, as the Mariners got past the red hot Orioles, on the back of a fantastic Taijuan Walker start. Apparently, the leg thing is not totally cured, as he was feeling it yet again last night, but maybe he knows how to control it better? I have my doubts; I’d put solid money on him missing a few more starts -slash- having a few more starts cut drastically short. Which is too bad, because you gotta think without this issue, he’d really be steamrolling towards a fine second half.
Joaquin Benoit has been a rugged disappointment this year, hasn’t he? With Nick Vincent hitting the DL, with the team having already professed to keeping Mike Montgomery out of the 8th inning shitstorm, with the recent struggles of Vidal Nuno, with Karns relatively new to his bullpen role, and with Edwin Diaz having already been used in a higher-leverage situation in the 7th inning, Benoit was brought back into that 8th inning role clean, able to start it off with no runners on base. And. He. SUCKED!
He’s earning $7.5 million, and he’s been a real dud. Walking guys, leaving pitches up, having elevated pitch counts that prevent him from going on back-to-back days, and just generally getting finger blasted in the dick hole. This is why you don’t pay relievers upwards of $8 million. We’re paying Nick Vincent in peanuts and he’s been unquestionably better so far this year.
So, the epidemic that was the month of June has finally, mercifully, come to an end. The Mariners got out of there with a 10-18 record. We sit one game over .500 overall, third place in the A.L. West, 10.5 games behind the Rangers, and 2.5 games out of the Wild Card. We’re two games from the exact midpoint of the season, and if you would’ve told me at the beginning of the season this is where we’d be, I would’ve told you to stick it up your ass.
I’m over the whole “Just Entertain Me For A Few Months” mentality. You know what’s entertaining? Winning enough games to make the playoffs. You know what’s NOT entertaining? Mediocre, .500 baseball. It isn’t going to hold my interest anymore. Oh, I’ll still watch from time to time. I’ll still bitch about it; it’s what I do! But, I don’t have to sit here and enjoy it.
The rest of these months better look a LOT more like the month of May did, because if I have to suffer any more Junes, I don’t know what I’ll do.