Look, this just isn’t going to be the greatest road trip in the history of the world unless the pitching shows up.
The Mariners are 2-1 since Nelson Cruz was injured, but don’t let the winning record in the small sample size fool you. This team is severely hamstrung without their best power hitter locking down the middle of that lineup. Haniger and Cano, God bless ’em, are doing the lord’s work driving in runs; as are Gordon and Segura, getting on base. But everyone Seager and below in the lineup is pretty mediocre right now, and I don’t care if you’re the cluster-luckiest team in all of Major League Baseball, you’re not going to win many games with only 4 guys producing. Thankfully, the stupid series with the Giants is over after only 2 games, so we don’t have to suffer our stupid pitchers trying to swing a bat again until the middle of July.
Of course, you’re not going to win many games if your starting pitcher gives up 8 runs in 4 innings either. It hurts my heart whenever King Felix struggles, so I’m not going to dwell on it too much. I mean, what sort of cold-hearted bastard gets mad at Old Yeller for succumbing to rabies; IT’S NOT HIS FAULT ALSO I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE THE ONE WHO IS CRYING!
We had a less-than-stellar James Pazos sighting, as well as an inning-gobbling appearance out of Wade LeBlanc to save the rest of our bullpen ahead of today’s sub-freezing game in Minnesota.
On the hitting side of things, guys sort of got theirs, but Johnny Cueto did an excellent job of spreading out the damage and avoiding the big inning (which, unfortunately, with zero command of his fastball, Felix couldn’t match). Gordon and Cano both had a couple singles apiece; Haniger had a hit and two walks to rub it in everyone’s faces that he’s got the best approach at the plate right now; Mike Marjama had the first hit of his 2018 season (and a double to boot); but Dan Vogelbach was the star of the show (so to speak), with his two hits, including an RBI double (the only run the Mariners would score all day).
Look, these things happen, and I get that. But, as I’ve been preaching all week, this team is in desperate need of the bottom of its lineup to start pulling its weight. I hope, like I’ve never hoped before, that we eventually get to see this team at full strength, with Cruz, Zunino, and Gamel all back to full strength and starting everyday (along with all the other starters we have going now). I have no doubt Cruz is a major upgrade over anyone else at DH; same with Zunino over anyone else at Catcher; same with Gamel over the likes of Ichiro or Heredia in left field. At that point, I think the weakest part of the lineup is at first base, and I’m not so sure we wouldn’t be better off with Vogelbach getting the lion’s share of starts over there (with Healy in a strict platoon against left-handed pitching).
Also, I’ll say this: if Ichiro doesn’t get hot at the plate in a hurry, I think he could be waived just as soon as Gamel is ready to come off the DL. Clock’s ticking for our Hall of Famer; I hope the Mariners do the right thing here.