I didn’t think it was remotely possible! But, here we are!
King Felix took the mound, and was rocky in the first inning, giving up 2 of his eventual 3 runs across 6 innings of work. Thankfully, he settled in and allowed the offense to do its job. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day of work, as he spread out 7 hits and 2 walks, while getting 6 strikeouts. Not a Classic Felix game, but a Good Enough game.
Led by Jean Segura and Nelson Cruz, the Mariners chipped away at the deficit, eventually pulling even at 3-3. Then, Mike Zunino launched a solo homer the other way in the sixth, and the bullpen was able to carry it home from there. James Pazos has followed some early-season struggles with real dynamite pitching, keeping teams scoreless over his last 5 outings (accounting for 7 innings pitched). Juan Nicasio, I’m told, looked the best he’s looked all year yesterday in holding down the 8th. And Edwin Diaz apparently had no trouble getting his 10th save of the season, leading all of Major League Baseball in that category.
With 4 games in Cleveland left in the month of April, the Mariners are 5-1-2 in their series so far (with a make-up game in Minnesota in a few weeks that should clear up one of those ties). The Mariners are 13-10 right now; at the end of April last year, the Mariners were 11-15. Of course, taking a shit against the Indians might eliminate all of this good will, but you get the idea. The Mariners feel different right now. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they feel like a playoff team, but they sort of feel like a team that’s not going to blow as many winnable games. It would’ve been VERY easy for the Mariners to not only lose this series against the White Sox, but to get swept! Remember, the White Sox were 4-14 heading into this 3-game set! And we damn near got swept.
But we didn’t. That’s the key here. I feel like last year’s Mariners would’ve DEFINITELY gotten swept. I know this isn’t any reason to throw a fucking parade or anything, but it’s encouraging. While I still don’t hold out any reasonable hope that the M’s are going to make the playoffs this year (and even if they did get a Wild Card spot, there’s no fucking way in hell they get past the ALDS, even if they were fortunate enough to win the play-in game), it’s always more fun when the Mariners win more games than they lose. So, if this is what we’re in for the rest of the way, gladly sign me up!
Semi-Competent Baseball! Comin’ Atcha!
Also, not for nothing, but I’ve maybe seen 30% of these games in person or on TV, so maybe I’ve got a healthy detachment going as the primary reason why I like this team as much as I do. Not living and dying with every game, every pitch, every call by these hu-man umpires. The Mariners are best appreciated at a distance; I understand this now. Being a super-fan of the Mariners is only grounds for an early grave.
Lots more early start times this series; I’ll get to see more of the Mariners and Indians than I ever cared to!