We’ve seen pitching dominance before, but not many better than last night. ESPECIALLY this season. Paxton went 7 innings of shutout ball, giving up 4 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 10. The team combined for 9 innings of shutout ball, giving up 4 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 12, as Nick Vincent and David Phelps mopped up the final two innings. Gamel had a couple hits, including a triple; Segura and Valencia each had RBI doubles; and Seager had a solo homer to kick everything off. Badda bing, badda boom, 4-0 victory over the Red Sox.
Paxton has been on quite the tear since a dreadful month of June. He’s given up 34 runs all season (32 earned), and 21 of those (20 earned) came in June. In July, he’s got a record of 5-0 in five appearances, having given up 6 total runs in 33.1 innings, which is simply phenomenal.
The big story of yesterday had to do with: What Would You Give Up To Bring In Sonny Gray? Someone mentioned that any package would have to start with Kyle Lewis and Ben Gamel, among other prospects. That sounds like a lot, particularly for a guy who was injured last year. But, if I’m being honest, and I start to think about what this team might look like with a rotation that featured Paxton, Felix, Gray, Miranda, and whoever, I can actually get excited about this team again!
As it stands now, there’s just no shot. You wouldn’t expect any more prolonged slumps out of Paxton, but everyone else certainly has the potential to melt down at any time. I’m never CONFIDENT in a non-Paxton start, let me put it that way. At best, you have to manage the rest of the rotation VERY carefully and, in turn, over-work your bullpen just to hope to eke out a victory.
But, throw Gray into the mix, now you’ve got two top-flight starters, and things start to look a little better. You figure Felix probably has more good games in him than bad games at this point. Miranda, if nothing else, will keep you in most games. And, whoever else is whoever else; fifth starter gonna fifth starter, you know?
I know it sounds crazy, coming from the guy who flipped out when the Mariners traded Tyler O’Neill last week, but this is apples and oranges here. O’Neill was blown on a AAA pitcher who will probably end up being nothing for the Mariners. Kyle Lewis is ostensibly a better prospect, with a higher ceiling, who you’d hate to see do well with a divisional rival, but if he helps bring in a bona fide Major League pitcher, then HEY! Sign me up!
The thing that gives me pause at this point is losing Ben Gamel, because I truly think he’s got a long and fruitful career ahead of him. Particularly with the way Mitch Haniger has been struggling since his return from the DL. If we can’t count on Haniger, and if Heredia/Dyson are just speedy slap hitters, then removing Gamel from the equation severely limits this offense’s potential.
But, here’s the deal: this offense hasn’t been getting the job done as it is. I know it sounds counter-productive to then remove one of its best hitters, but I think this team would gain more by having another top-shelf starting pitcher than it would having Gamel’s high batting average and long, flowing locks.
It’s either that, or we pretty much give up right now, because as this team is currently constructed, there’s no way we’re seeing the post-season. There will be hot streaks and cold streaks and ultimately this team will finish right around .500 and ultimately that will be a few games short of our goal. If that’s what you WANT, and you just want to pack it in and try to re-load for next year, then okay. Let this next week go by and do nothing. We’ll all go through the motions for a while, but I’m going to stop giving so much of a shit, because why bother?
This team does NOT have what it takes, and that’s all there is to it.
More than that, there’s no help on the horizon either. We can’t look forward to a star returning from injury next season, because all the good injured players we have now are likely done for good. And, all the “Major League-ready” players in AAA and AA are suck-ass and mediocre. Better hope there’s a free agent or two available, otherwise the Mariners will have to continue trading from their so-called position of strength. And keep trading from that so-called position of strength until it’s once again the biggest position of weakness on this team.