And we’re back!
I was listening to the Brock & Salk show this week, and one of the callers bemoaned the fact that the Mariners keep winning these series, but they’re totally incapable of sweeping them. And, while obviously the hosts were right to laugh at him because when you think about this organization … I mean, your expectations can’t be that high! It’d be like the Cleveland Browns starting to turn around their fortunes and being upset they’re not immediately in the Super Bowl. These are the MARINERS, just be happy they’re winning any games at all!
And yet … I kinda sorta get where that caller was coming from!
Dating back to the first series of the year, the Mariners had chances against the Indians in that loss, but the offense couldn’t push us over the top. Then, in the finale against the A’s, we lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to lose out on the sweep. There was the finale in Texas where Erasmo Ramirez stunk up the joint; the opener against the lowly White Sox where Mike Leake stunk up the joint; and once again against the Indians, where a late rally against Kluber & Co. fell just short. Then, we had Paxton’s 16-strikeout game against the A’s that should’ve given us the sweep, until finally we get back to this Toronto series.
Game 1 – no hitter. Glorious. Game 2 – sigh.
The headline of Game 2 was: Juan Nicasio melted down in the 8th inning with a 2-1 lead, giving up 4 runs and costing us the game. But, I’m here to argue it never should’ve come to that. The Blue Jays were running out a starter on a terrible streak – Jaime Garcia – and we had MULTIPLE chances early in the game to put him away.
Bases loaded in the first, but only managed 1 run. Multiple runners on in the third, but again managed just 1 run. Two more walks in the fifth, but couldn’t push a runner home. Garcia allowed runners in 4 out of 5 of his innings pitched, but in the end all we could muster against a guy who walked 5 and hit 1 batter was a measly 2 runs (1 earned). I mean, that was the game right there, and it was vastly overshadowed by people bemoaning our bullpen woes.
And I get it. We have two guys – Nicasio and Diaz – and right now Nicasio, I’m not sure, is the guy we thought we were getting. He’s been fantastic most nights, but he’s been shakier a whole lot more often than we were hoping. And I don’t know if anyone else is really stepping up. Nick Vincent maybe, but I feel like we need more right now. Hopefully James Pazos can be a guy like that, though he’s got to handle all of our left-handed duties with Scrabble sucking as hard as he is.
It’s a shame too, because we wasted a really good start out of Wade LeBlanc. Sure, he only lasted 5 innings, and sure he threw less than 60 pitches, but he held the Blue Jays to 1 run off 4 hits with 0 walks and 3 strikeouts, and I agree with the decision to turn it over to the bullpen at that point, with a narrow 1-run lead. The fact that the offense let it remain so close is what’s really the overriding factor of why we lost that game.
Too bad, too, because we ended up crushing Game 3.
7 out of 9 guys had at least 2 hits (only Cruz and Heredia lost out on the fun). Seager hit two homers, including a first inning grand salami, and most importantly everyone kept piling on the rest of the way, scoring in 6 out of 9 innings. We knocked J.A. Fucking Happ’s ass out of there in a hurry, and went on cruise control the rest of the way.
Mike Leake rebounded in a big way, going 7 innings, giving up just 2 runs. And, some shaky bullpenning in the 8th inning notwithstanding, we got out of the series with a much-needed win against a potential Wild Card rival. I said it before, but keeping the Blue Jays at bay is going to be critical to our chances, as we need to keep it to a 2-team race for that second wild card, between us and the Angels.
The Mariners are in Detroit right now and already had one rained out, so there’s supposed to be a doubleheader today. We’ll see how this goes. The Tigers are bad, so we gotta find a way to squeeze out another non-sweep series win!