I don’t respond to every single comment – however rare they find their way into my posts on this blog – but I thought I’d answer a question someone left in my most recent entry.
For what it’s worth, I USED to think the Mariners would make the playoffs this year. I thought they were a shoo-in! Then, they had a 10-13 month of July (not to mention a 6-8 month of August), while the Oakland Athletics went from 34-36 on June 15th, to now being 72-48 heading into August 15th (a record of 38-12 in two months’ time) and now we’re talking about the M’s being 3.5 games behind the A’s, with 8 more games against them the rest of the year.
I might have held out a little hope heading into this 3-game set against the A’s – coming off of that 4-game sweep down in Houston – but losing the first two games has really dampened my spirits. Not just that, but obviously the WAY the Mariners have lost.
On Monday, we lost 7-6, but it was 7-1 heading into the 8th inning. You can take that two ways; you can laud the late comeback against a pretty formidable bullpen, or you can lament another poor pitching performance. Marco Gonzales has been pretty remarkable this season, but his last two outings have been terrible. He followed up a 5-inning, 7-run performance down in Texas with a 5-inning, 4-run performance in Oakland. Everyone’s saying he’s tired, that 140 innings is by far the most he’s thrown in the Majors, but come on man, this is his JOB! He’s a Major League starting pitcher for Christ’s sake! I don’t want to be Get Off My Lawn guy, but it really feels like coddling if we have to give him a rest in the middle of a fucking playoff chase.
Also, I don’t know what the opposite of Pouring One Out is – maybe Pissing On The Grave? – but piss one out for Casey Lawrence, who is (I’ll say it) the WORST long reliever I’ve ever fucking seen. Any time you ask this guy to go more than a single inning, he falls apart. The point of a long reliever is to come in, eat up innings, and keep your team in the ballgame, in the off-chance that the offense gets its shit together and jumps back into the game. Well, if Lawrence had done his JOB on Monday, we might’ve seen a remarkable come-from-behind victory against the very team we’re chasing for that wild card spot! Instead, he added more gas to the dumpster fire, and here we are, one run short of a comeback. Sending his dumb ass down to Tacoma was the best thing the Mariners have done all week.
Of course, if that wasn’t bad enough, last night James Paxton took a line drive off his forearm, and is poised to hit the DL for a start or two (or more?). Luckily, we still had King Felix stretched out, so he was able to go 5.2 innings of 2-run ball to keep us in it (FANCY THAT, A LONG RELIEVER WHO DOESN’T SUCK!). He’ll slide right into Paxton’s spot in the rotation until he’s able to come back, at which point it’ll probably be September and we’ll be able to expand our roster beyond the 25 guys we have now. Maybe, if Felix can hold it down, we go to a 6-man rotation, to give everyone a little break and ease Paxton into the home stretch.
Or, maybe we’ll go right back to seeing the Felix that struggles, at which point we’ve swapped out our best starter for our worst starter, and our odds of making the playoffs got that much worse. If I’m betting the Taylor Family Farm, I’m betting on the latter, as sad as it is to say.
I guess the only bit of good news is Robinson Cano returned last night. He started at first base and got a hit while batting second in the order. Seems unnecessary to move him off of his regular spot in the order (if you’re doing it to punish him, then bat him 5th or 6th), but I guess if you’re going to move him all over the field, then why not move him all around the batting order?
I just ultimately don’t think the boost we’ll get from Cano will be enough. Too many bats are struggling – Seager, Zunino, Gordon, even Segura has significantly cooled off since the All Star Break – and with the pitching staff looking as iffy as we all expected it to be coming into this season, it all adds up to a total and complete collapse in the second half of this season.
So, no, no playoffs for the Mariners again in 2018. The real question is: how long will the neverending streak of losing Mariners teams continue?