Albers are off when you’ve got Andrew Albers on the mound!
The Mariners have used, what, 37 different pitchers this season? 35 if you take out the two position players who had to mop up in extreme blowout defeats? And, in that, we’ve got 16 different pitchers who made at least 1 start this year. We’ve had injuries, BOY have we had injuries! And, beyond that, we’ve had a whole lotta ineffectiveness. From De Jong to Bergman to Overton to Heston to Whalen to Gaviglio to Moore to Gonzales to Gallardo and so on and so forth. Aside from the injuries, there really hasn’t been anything we could depend upon with this rotation besides Ariel Miranda, I guess. And, while we’ve had to muddle through all these starts to get back to the brief healthy times we’ve enjoyed, I’ve been sitting here and waiting. Waiting and hoping. Hoping and praying that just ONE guy would come up to Seattle and blow us all away. Even if it’s the most unsustainable, unrepeatable string of starts, I DON’T CARE! All these Quad-A pitchers have absolutely lived up to their mediocre expectations; can I just get one guy to surpass them, even if it isn’t real?
Well, we’re only two starts in, but there’s a lot I’ve liked about those two starts with Andrew Albers on the mound. He came over in a nothing trade with the Braves a couple weeks back and immediately gave us 5 innings of 1-run ball against the Orioles (one of the plethora of teams we’re in Wild Card contention with). And then he followed that up with last night’s performance.
Through five innings, he’d only given up 2 runs. His pitch count was low, and the M’s had a 6-2 lead, so he was allowed to pitch into the sixth. An error and a single ended his night without getting another out, and both of those runners ended up scoring after Emilio Pagan cleared the bases by allowing a triple to center, but that’s just bad luck more than anything else. I thought Albers looked fantastic last night! Of course, that’s based on the lowest of expectations, particularly when you consider all those meatball pitchers I mentioned above, but nevertheless it’s nice to have someone finally come around and exceed expectations for a while. I hope it lasts.
It was nice to see the offense jump out early and play add on throughout the game. The Mariners managed a run in the second, then after falling behind 2-1, poured it on. Another rally in the third produced a run, and the M’s put up a 3-spot in the fourth on hits by Alonso and Cano. Alonso would double again in the sixth to knock in our final run, which ended up being huge considering all the damage the Braves were able to do with Pagan on the mound.
Also, don’t look now, but Yonder Alonso has been on fire after something of a quiet start since joining the club and taking over for Danny Valencia at first. He’s rocking an 8-game hitting streak, going 13 for 30 with 4 extra base hits, 6 runs scored, and 8 RBI. I know the Mariners’ offense was pretty good before he got here, but you’ll always take those kinds of numbers. I think an infusion of production like that is just what this team needed. Yesterday especially, what with Nelson Cruz riding the pine (and not even getting a pinch hit AB, due to circumstances of the game) in the National League park. God the National League’s rules are stupid (hashtag Embrace The DH).
Quick shoutout to the rest of the bullpen. After Pagan got knocked around (he’s been a little dicey the last couple times out), Scrabble, Vincent, and Diaz came in and locked it down. That’s 28 saves for Diaz. And Scrabble has been nails over the last week or so, and really for the entire month of August. As for Vincent, he’s the MVP of this pitching staff, without question.
So, not too bad of a start to this road trip. That victory puts the Mariners at 3-1 through the first third of this trip; which, if they could just match that for the next 2/3 of this trip, sign me up TODAY! Yesterday’s win also brought their road record to 30-30 on the season, which is pretty insane when you consider they started out the year 8-20. Since that nadir in late May, after the second game in Boston, the M’s have gone 22-10 on the road. Unbelievable!
That victory also puts the Mariners at an even 1 game behind the Twins for the second Wild Card. Predictably, the Angels fell back and are now just 0.5 games ahead of the Mariners. The Royals are still lingering, 0.5 games behind the Mariners; and the Rangers are too, just a game back of the M’s (tied in the loss column).
Looking ahead, there are two more games down in Atlanta before another off-day, featuring the two worst Mariners pitchers currently in the rotation – Marco Gonzales and Erasmo Ramirez. Gonzales has yet to pitch over 4.1 innings and I have to believe is one more poor start away from being sent back to Tacoma, so today will be REALLY interesting. Erasmo, meanwhile, is on a 2-game hot streak, so you have to wonder how long it will take for that house of cards to topple over.
Then, in the Yankees series this weekend, the Mariners have – in theory – their three best healthy starters going (Miranda, then Gallardo, then Albers again). But, the Bronx Bombers feature C.C. Sabathia (who ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS fucking destroys us), Sonny Gray (the ex-A’s starter they traded for at the deadline), and Masahiro Tanaka (who ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS – except last time – fucking destroys us). It could be a really yucky, miserable weekend, is what I’m saying.
So, Mariners, let’s try REAL HARD to win these next two against the Braves, so we can justify what’s surely going to be a series sweep this weekend.