Remember in 2002 and 2003, when the Mariners led in the A.L. West for the vast majority of those seasons, yet down the stretch we played right around .500 ball as the Oakland Athletics went on insane, crazy-hot streaks to overtake us and keep us out of the playoffs?
Well, it’s 2018, the Mariners have yet to make it back to those playoffs, and while we haven’t been leading the A.L. West, we’ve been comfortably entrenched in the 2nd Wild Card spot for the vast majority of the season so far, and that’s dwindled down to a one game lead as of this morning.
No, it’s not the Anaheim Angels we should fear (though we do see them for a 3-game set starting tonight), but the Oakland Athletics, who are currently 61-43, having won 27 of 34.
The Mariners are 8-10 in the month of July. We’ve enjoyed 6 off-days in the last two weeks, the trade deadline is next Tuesday, and we’re officially starting the Home Stretch. To kick things off: 20 games in 20 days, with road series against every team in our division, as well as a week’s worth of home games against the Astros and Blue Jays. Shit’s getting real. At 61-41, the Mariners have 60 games to go. All of them are important, but the 10 games against Oakland will be pivotal. Although, at this point, with the way they’re playing, I’m wondering if it’ll even make a difference.
We all marvelled at how well the Mariners were playing after Robinson Cano went down. We were 19-9 in the month of June, for fuck’s sake! Well, chickens are coming home to roost, as the offense has been a disaster pretty much the entire time, except now we’re seeing cracks in the pitching staff as well. Paxton is on the DL, with a recent set-back that’s keeping him out at least one turn through the rotation. The bullpen is long overdue for a really hazardous stretch of pitching. And, we’re still about 3 weeks away from Cano’s return. This team needs HELP.
Help that may or may not be coming by the deadline on Tuesday, but regardless doesn’t figure to be too big a name.
To catch up on the week, the M’s have played exactly 2 games since last weekend. We split a series against the Giants, where their fans did the best Blue Jays Fans impression I’ve seen in a long time, invading our stadium and making M’s fans miserable in the process (while lining the pockets of Mariners executives, who have the gall to extort taxpayers for 180 million MORE dollars for a new lease agreement with Safeco Field; at this point, just fucking go. I’d rather have the Sonics back anyway).
Game 1 on Tuesday was a bullpen day (thanks to Paxton’s back), with Roenis Elias getting the spot start. He went 3.2 innings, giving up 2 runs. The game was tied 3-3 after 6 innings, but the battle of the bullpens went the wrong way as our offense couldn’t get its collective shit together. Edwin Diaz gave up the losing run in the 9th on an error and that was that.
Game 2 on Wednesday was an afternoon affair that went a little better. Mike Leake pitched into the 7th, giving up 2 runs, and though the game was tied after 7, this time we prevailed in the later innings, taking the lead in the bottom of the 8th. Edwin Diaz got his 38th save.
I’m having Vietnam flashbacks when it comes to those A’s teams of the Moneyball era (that movie can still suck all the dicks); I just can’t envision a scenario where the Mariners don’t blow this. If that’s the case, with all the good vibrations we were feeling through the first three months of the season, it’s going to be the most brutal choke job yet. At that point, I’ll be calling on all the nay-sayers – who’ve doubted this Mariners team all along – to really make their voices heard in telling everyone they told us so. I should’ve been there with you! I don’t know what to say; I’m a fucking moron!
Go to Hell, Mariners. Go straight to fucking Hell and eat shit and die.