The Seahawks’ Pre-Pre-Season Preview takes a little break today, but we’ll be back at it tomorrow digging into the defense. For now, the Mariners’ Weekend That Was.
The hapless White Sox were in town for a 3-game set coming out of the All Star Break, so the table was set for the Mariners to get right again, after that stumble in the prevous 10 games or so.
Wade LeBlanc got the start on Friday, and boy does he look like the real deal! 7.1 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 4 hits, and 10 strikeouts! The usual suspects closed it out and the offense had just enough in the tank as we won 3-1 in a picture of efficiency.
Felix started on Saturday and looked dominant though three innings. But, he gave up a 4-spot in the 4th and that was that. The Sox shut us out 5-0 as the offense never really got it up in this one. Felix was pulled after 5 and it’s looking increasingly likely that if we do make the playoffs this year, he won’t be involved in a starting capacity, which is just too depressing for me to handle right now, so I’m just not going to think about it.
Marco Gonzales took the hill in the rubber match and continued his streak of greatness, this time going 6.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk, while striking out 6. The bullpen took care of business and Ryon Healy was finally able to bust this one wide open as he hit two 3-run home runs, including one in the bottom of the 8th inning to spare us the need of using Edwin Diaz for a second time this series. It was Healy’s 20th homer of the season, and is anyone else surprised by how high that number is?
I know we’ve all been lamenting the lack of pop in this lineup, particularly of late as the M’s have struggled, but we’ve got five players with double-digit homers, including four players with 16 or more homers with 62 games remaining. That’s not terrible.
The bottom line, I think, is that this team really needs Robinson Cano back in the lineup everyday. It’s a shame that it’ll largely come at the expense of Ryon Healy – as I believe Heredia is really the biggest piece of dead weight at the plate, and this team would be so much better off if we could play Dee Gordon in center again.
In a sense, yeah I get it, Cano is eliminated from the post-season, so we have to keep Gordon fresh at second base, but does it really mean we have to play him there EVERY day? Why can’t he do both second AND center? Play him in center maybe 4 days a week, and toss him in at second 2-3 days a week just to keep him sharp. Is that really going to fuck with him so bad? Utility guys bounce around from position to position and don’t seem to be struggling too much.
At this point, with Oakland surging the way they are, just making the wild card game isn’t the foregone conclusion it was a month ago. So, while I understand that this team needs to focus on the post-season, it needs to focus MORE on just making it in the first place! Having the best lineup in there on a daily basis is going to be of utmost importance, and that’s gonna mean having Cano, Dee, and Healy in the lineup at the same time. You can only do that by having Dee play in the outfield (unless you really want to sit Nelson Cruz regularly, which I think would be bananas).
It’s obviously a good problem to have, as this team should be able to rest players pretty regularly from here on out, but that doesn’t mean it’s not actually a PROBLEM. At this point, not letting Cano play at second base but once in a blue moon feels more like a punishment towards him for getting popped, but it’s to the detriment of the team and I hope we come to our senses before too long, or else I’m afraid this season will really get away from us.
Also, not for nothing, but at 100 games into the season, we’re 20 games over .500, with a run differential of +1. Baseball is dumb.