It really felt like our manager threw one away last night. Now, I know, Gerrit Cole was rolling, and it might not have mattered either way. In the end, he pitched a complete game, giving up 1 run on 3 hits, no walks, and 6 strikeouts. He very well could have done the same exact thing had the game stayed at a more reasonable 3-1 score. But, it’s impossible to know the type of effort we would have seen out of the Mariners hitters. I mean, let’s face it, I wouldn’t hold it against anyone if they were a LITTLE more engaged in a 2-run game, as opposed to a game you’re losing by 6, and then 9 runs. And, that’s ignoring a potential save situation if the game is still close; would Pittsburgh have gone to their closer had it been 3-1 in the 9th? We’ll never know.
The problem isn’t that Servais botched this one game; it happens. But, what’s truly galling is that this might have long-term (relatively speaking) ramifications for a recently-acquired, struggling relief pitcher in Drew Storen.
We know his story, we just heard all about it the day before when the Mariners traded Joaquin Benoit for him. Storen is a guy who has been great as recently as 2015, but who has been God-awful this year, to the point that the Blue Jays had released him just before trading him to the Mariners. Our general manager admitted this is a Change of Scenery deal, in hopes to get him on the right track. “Change of Scenery” are just words until you think about the meaning behind them: getting a player out of a bad situation in hopes that he’ll clear his head, and the fresh start will help get him back to playing like his glory days.
But it doesn’t FUCKING work unless you put him in a position to succeed, you jackass!
The Mariners were smart to put him in a game right away. James Paxton had his usual James Paxton performance: one bad inning marring what was otherwise a fine – albeit short – day. Storen came into the game in the 6th inning after the Mariners had just manufactured a run to bring the game to 3-1. Awesome. I’m all for it. Get him in there, see what he can do, hope for the best. He was facing nothing but righties, the Mariners were losing (so it wasn’t a pressure-packed situation with blown-save potential), but it was still close enough that it didn’t TOTALLY feel like a soft landing. It felt like game we were capable of coming back in, ergo, it felt like we were trusting the new guy to keep us in it.
And he didn’t let us down! He did his exact job: getting 3 groundball outs in a clean inning of work. Boom. Successful day achieved.
That should have been the start of a beautiful working relationship between a struggling relief pitcher and his new team. Instead, it was just the beginning of a nightmare scenario, as bewildering managerial decisions dictated his demise.
The Mariners (obviously) failed to score in the 7th inning. And, even though he had thrown somewhere around 15 pitches, here was Drew Storen coming out for another inning of work. WHAT? WHY?
The Mariners have had 2 off-days in the last week, with another off-day yet to come (today). The bullpen was NOT tired! The bullpen was NOT over-worked! The bullpen would have PLENTY of time to recover!
When you factor in we’ve got Karns in there, I think Servais lost his fucking mind. Storen gave up two hits before getting a strikeout, then proceeded to give up another single to load the bases. And yet, Servais KEPT HIM IN THE GAME WHEN HE WAS CLEARLY GASSED! What the fuck? It wasn’t until Storen walked in a run that he finally pulled him. It’s like Servais was trying to haze the new guy with diabolical Mean Girls tactics, to mentally destroy a hated rival.
The cherry on top, of course, is that with the bases loaded and only 1 out, he put Karns in a shitty spot. Karns promptly giving up a bases-clearing 3-run double was the cherry on top. Storen’s ERA gets to skyrocket, AND Karns gets to feel like shit as well! Servais got to fuck up two relievers for the price of one!
Had he simply done the sensible, SMART thing, and put Karns in to START the seventh, we might have been looking at a completely different ballgame. Instead, Servais decided to get cute, and in the process made a bad season worse for the newcomer Storen, as well as Karns. Bravo, Mr. Manager, you had your worst game ever. How does it feel?