The old timey military slang term series comes to a predictable close, as the Mariners lose to the Rangers 3-1. I mean, I could sit here and get mad at the team for going right back to the Nick Vincent well, when he’s CLEARLY been the worst fucking pitcher on the team in the month of September (now up to 8 runs in 6.2 innings, with at least 1 run given up in half of his appearnaces, 1 blown save, and 2 outright losses). I could sit here and lament an offense that could only muster 1 fucking run against a mediocre fucking Rangers pitcher. I could ball out Yonder Alonso for being the latest Mariner to make an out on the basepaths – an underrated aspect that cost us the playoffs this season. I could piss and moan about the team blowing a fantastic start by Mike Leake (6.2 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, 0 walks, and 5 K’s), but what’s the point, you know?
YES, the Mariners blew a critical opportunity, as the Twins lost their second straight game to the Yankees, which if we’d won would’ve put us at a mere 3 games out of the second Wild Card with 11 games to play. But, what difference does it make? Even if a miracle took place, we’d still be talking about an American League playoffs that includes the Indians, Yankees, and those Astros we can never beat.
It’s over, man. Let it go. On to next season.
Speaking of those Astros, they really did destroy our season. We were 5-14 against them; the only team we were worse against was the Blue Jays, at 1-6. The Mariners are 3 games under .500 at the moment, but we went 9 games under .500 against the Astros. Think about THAT!
But, if you dig a little deeper, you can see it’s either them, those Blue Jays, or the Yankees (who we went 2-5 against) who show up at each critical juncture in the season.
Take the first week and a half (please!); the Mariners started the season with 7 games in 10 days against the Astros. We started out 1-3, then dropped 3 more against the Angels, then came home and dropped another 2 of 3 to the Astros. That’s an overall record of 2-8, with 5 of those defeats coming against Houston. It would take us a while, but we eventually got back to .500 on May 10th, the day before we went to Toronto and dropped 4 straight. It took us another good long while, but we got back to .500 AGAIN on June 7th, two days before we hosted the Blue Jays and lost 2 of 3 against them.
We bounced back much quicker this time, getting all the way to a game over .500 on June 22nd before facing the Astros again. We even beat them in the series opener to go TWO games over .500! But, we lost the next two to fall back to even, then kept right on losing (for the most part) all the way to the All Star Break.
Coming out of the break, we were a team possessed! We even managed to somehow beat the Astros in 2 of 3 games! It was a miracle! Maybe THIS would be the point where we’d rip off a bunch of wins and grab hold of that Wild Card spot! We were back to .500 on July 19th, heading home to face … the New York Yankees. We lost 3 of 4.
We bounced right back, though, and got to a season-high 3 games over .500 on August 9th, a day before the infamous Edgar Martinez Weekend where we lost 4 to the Angels and 5 in a row overall. I think people will really focus on that stretch of games as the key point in the lost season, but on August 25th, the M’s took the first game against the Yankees in that weekend series to get back to a season-high 3 games over .500. Remember that 12-game road trip? THAT was the real make-or-break stretch. And, as you might have guessed, we lost the next two games to the Yankees to start another downward slide.
BUT, back home in September, fresh off of a sweep of the A’s, the Mariners were back to a game over .500 and still – for the most part – controlling their own destiny. On Labor Day, September 4th, the Mariners hosted the Astros and dropped three straight. Once again, they halted all of our momentum and brought us right back to the land of the losers. Over the next week, though, we got BACK to a game over .500, still with plenty of time to make a difference in this season! Only to go to Houston on the 15th and lose another three in a row.
That brings us to today, 3 games under .500. Still enough time to get back to .500, but not enough time to overtake the Twins, or even the Angels.
The Astros were just a flat-out better team than the Mariners this year. That’s fine. I accepted that in the first week of the season! There are a lot of teams that are flat-out better than the Mariners (though, I wouldn’t say the Blue Jays are one of them; they just randomly had our number the times we played them). But, it sucks dick that we couldn’t overcome the Astros’ dominance to snag one of those Wild Card spots. With this team, and specifically this organization’s history, just GETTING to the playoffs would’ve been a gigantic victory, and believe me, I don’t say that lightly. I’m not one of these “Just Happy To Be Here; Let’s All Have A Good Time” sort of fans. If you make the post-season, anything less than a championship is a HUGE letdown! But, for the Mariners, you take what you can get. More importantly, with the sport of baseball being what it is (ridiculously long season, potentially coming down to a single game, or a small handful of games) it’s a ludicrous institution. Let’s face it, we know the best teams in the A.L. are the Astros and Indians; just like we know the best teams in the N.L. are the Dodgers and Nationals. You don’t need extra Wild Card teams to help determine who belongs in the World Series! They throw those teams in there to make things more exciting, to keep a few extra fanbases engaged a little while longer, and sometimes those Wild Card teams catch fire and go all the way. But, it’s not legit. With as many games as they play in baseball, you could get away with making it a perfectly balanced schedule and stick the two teams with the best records in the World Series and call it a day. Or, you could chop the number of regular season games in half, let 8 teams per league into the playoffs, and have each series go 9 games. But, the way it’s set up now, it’s just dumb.
I dunno, I’m rambling I guess. The Mariners lost and I’m upset and I don’t know how to express my feelings appropriately this early in the morning.