In two games in Japan, the Mariners swept the A’s to make the most of our “home-field” advantage (in spite of the fact that Oakland had to sacrifice their actual home games). Then, in a 4-game home opening series against the World Series champs, the M’s beat the Red Sox in 3 out of 4 and quite honestly probably should’ve won 4 out of 4.
Oh yes, that’s right, those rebuilding Mariners are 5-1! And now the calendar flips to April.
I’m still standing behind my belief that this offense will come crashing down to Earth at some point. But, boy was that a fun series! This is, indeed, a fun-looking team. But, as we all expected, the infield defense is a trainwreck, and the bullpen is going to be an adventure.
Hunter Strickland, the only guy in this ‘pen with any real closing experience, was in fact injured in our only loss of the season last Friday, and has since found himself on the Injured List. It’s apparently a Grade 2 strain of his shoulder and it looks like he could be out a couple months, if not more. This is, obviously, terrible news, as it makes a thin bullpen all the weaker. It’ll be Closer By Committee for the foreseeable future, which a lot of fans seem to clamor for. Well, you got it! Too bad teams usually only employ them in these types of situations, where everyone is pretty mediocre. Then, when it fails, teams can say they tried it, but it rings more hollow than if this strategy was used with an elite ‘pen.
Anyway, I’m chalking this weekend up to the Red Sox just having a bad slate of starting pitching. They’ll turn their season around, just like ours will take a turn for the worse at any time. Enjoy this while you can, I suppose. And hope the offense keeps it up, because we’ll need ’em if we want this season to remain fun.
It’s an interesting roster that’s been constructed for the M’s. Our starters, by and large, are going to keep us in ballgames, but I can’t envision them really dominating teams too often. This offense actually looks like it has the potential to be better than it has the last couple years, which is exciting, and should continue keeping us in ballgames. But, I just can’t shake the feeling that this bullpen is going to blow a lot of games, with an assist from the hot corner.
Third base has 5 total errors so far, through 6 games. That is an unsustainably high pace, but also might be attainable with Ryon Healy and Dylan Moore (he of the 3 errors in the 9th inning on Saturday that brought the game to within 1 run). My concern is the Mariners are gonna be forced to bring in an Andrew Romine type just to give our defense a fighting chance, which will severely limit our offensive potential. Let’s not cross that bridge until we have to though.
For now, good times all around! Let’s see if we can keep pounding against the Angels this week.