Well, that’s the second time in three days that the Mariners’ offense has been completely and totally shut down by an inferior starting pitcher. That’s … less than ideal.
I won’t put the blame entirely on Ben Gamel and Mitch Haniger, but it certainly doesn’t help that they’ve dropped a combined 150 points from their batting averages at their peaks earlier this season. Haniger, particularly, hasn’t been the same hitter since he went on the DL the first time back in April. I still don’t think he’s totally healthy, and I don’t think he ever will be the rest of this season, which is a shame. He’ll certainly be a bounce-back candidate for 2018. As for Gamel, I don’t want to say the league has figured him out, but it feels like he’s gone from being unsustainably lucky at the plate to being unsustainably unlucky. He has nevertheless been on a down streak since his insane month of June, hitting .255 in July and hitting .159 so far in August. That, quite frankly, is unacceptable, and I think it’s time for Guillermo Heredia to start playing a more everyday role for this outfield.
On the mound, Marco Gonzales got the start and was pretty good through four innings, giving up just the 1 run. But, then the fifth inning rolled around, and you know the story. By getting two quick outs to start the inning, it became the longest outing of his Mariners career, but then he gave up a walk and a single and that was that. Of course, James Pazos came in and immediately gave up one of the inherited runners – because that’s what this bullpen does all the time, apparently – so Gonzales got stuck with a second run. I don’t think it’s enough to cost him his rotation job just yet, but I do think he’s still treading on very thin ice and his next start – if it’s bad enough – could be his last.
Two more unearned runs followed, as the Braves shut out the Mariners 4-0. The Mariners’ defense has been a fucking circus, with 6 errors over the last two games. And it’s not like we have any one guy giving us fits; these bone-headed plays are thoroughly spread around the entire team.
Nelson Cruz got the start in right field yesterday and apparently the rest of the offense took that as a sign that they could take the day off. Well, he went 0 for 4, but he didn’t injure himself, so I guess that’s a plus. It makes no sense whatsoever to keep him out of the lineup because his defense is sub-par, because the rest of this defense has been a fucking disaster! I wouldn’t want to press my luck here, so the smart thing to do is probably sit him later today. However, losing this series to the Braves might just be this team’s breaking point this season, what with the Yankees on the horizon this weekend.
In Oh Yay More Injuries news, Tony Zych is on the DL with a flexor bundle or some damn thing. Dan Altavilla was brought up, and pitched a couple quality innings last night (giving up just the one unearned run), so at least we were able to save the good arms in our bullpen. David Phelps had a good pitching session the other day, and could be back as early as today, or as late as two days from now, so that’s a positive at least. I don’t know the extent of Zych’s injury, but with the way he throws and with the way his arm keeps betraying him, he may have some mechanical issues that he needs to fix if he wants to keep playing the game of baseball long term.
It’s all on Erasmo’s shoulders tonight, as he goes up against R.A. Dickey. I could see the Mariners’ offense exploding for double-digit runs, or I could see them totally handcuffed and unable to score at all. This might be a game to avoid, all things considered.