The Mariners Bounced Back With A Series Win In Oakland

The six-game losing streak really took it out of me, fanwise. To be fair, the three-game losing streak to just the Tigers caused the most damage, since that was probably the last time I watched a full game. I missed the entire Padres series, then the first two games of this past Athletics series, before dipping my toe back in those Mariners waters. So, of course, I missed the two victories, while the bad taste in my mouth remains.

Yusei Kikuchi had another solid outing on Monday, going 6 innings, giving up just 1 run. He might’ve gone longer, but had some sort of back issue that prevented him from going any further, but it shouldn’t keep him from his next start, which is nice. Kikuchi has EASILY been our most reliable starter this season, which is great to see since this is his big option year. 7 of his 9 starts have officially been Quality Starts (at least 6 innings, with 3 runs or fewer given up), and if he keeps this up, he will easily earn the remainder of his contract from the Mariners.

This game featured homers by Kyle Lewis and Jarred Kelenic, as well as doubles by Mitch Haniger, J.P. Crawford, and the return of Ty France. Of course, the bottom third of the lineup is a complete wasteland of nobodies not even worth mentioning here, but at least there are 6 hitters now who I don’t totally loathe. The M’s won 4-2, as the bullpen (minus Graveman, who is another one of those COVID casualties) managed to lock it down. Erik Swanson in particular is more dominant than I’ve ever seen him; he got out of an 8th inning jam by striking out the side.

Tuesday featured another mediocre start by Logan Gilbert, who has yet to get beyond the 4th inning or throw more than 80 pitches in any of his three starts. He can’t seem to avoid giving up a big inning or two in each of his appearances, and the team is obviously unwilling to push it by having him try to pitch through trouble the third time through the order. Technically, this was his best start, as he only gave up 2 runs in 4 innings, while striking out 4, walking 0, and giving up only 4 hits. But, obviously, that’s a low bar to clear. The bullpen once again showed up in a big way, giving up just 1 more run over the remaining 5 innings.

The M’s scratched out their runs on 11 hits, with Kelenic, Crawford, and France all having multi-hit games. It’s nice to see France healthy and Kelenic finally have some success at the plate. He’ll be hitting over .200 in no time at this rate!

The afternoon get-away game on Wednesday was a 6-3 defeat, and hopefully the final bullpen day for a while. Robert Dugger gave up 5 runs in 3.1 innings, and that’s obviously not going to fly. He just didn’t have it, but we had to stick with him just to eat up a few innings. It sounds like Marco Gonzales will be back in the next turn of the rotation, so that’s a bit of happy news.

This game was particularly brutal because it looked like so many other Mariners defeats, in that we didn’t put up any runs until the 8th inning. It is what it is, though. This offense is rarely going to be competent.

This Time It Makes More Sense: The Mariners Were Swept By The Padres

When the Mariners got swept by the Tigers at home immediately preceeding this weekend series down in San Diego, it was coming off of a 3-game series win against a pretty good Cleveland Indians squad. While overall the Mariners have been in a free-fall over the last month (since April 24th – when we were 13-8 – we have gone 8-18), that little 3-game oasis had the looks of a possible turnaround. Or, a pulling up from the nosedive. Instead, it was just a mirage, as now the Mariners have lost six in a row.

Losing all three to the Tigers is an outrage. Losing all three to the Padres is pretty understandable. That’s a great baseball team right there!

The Mariners are also – not for nothing – a fucking mess right now. There’s the hitting woes. The shuttling of position players to and from Tacoma (Taylor Trammell continues to fucking rake for the Rainiers, and even Luis Torrens hit a grand slam over the weekend; thus continues the trend of players who leave Seattle and go on to better things *sarcasm emoji*). There’s the injury woes, particularly to our pitching staff (but, obviously, seeping into the everyday players as well). There’s the pitching woes, with the shuttling of relievers to and from Tacoma. That red-hot bullpen was never going to be sustainable, but now even our very best reliever – Kendall Graveman – has landed on the IL.

And, to top it all off, there was a COVID outbreak, of sorts, late last week. One guy either got it or came into contact with someone who had it, and he and his unvaccinated close contacts on the team were forced onto the COVID IL. The Mariners are one of the least-vaccinated teams in all of Major League Baseball which just … I don’t even know. Trying to explain it is only going to make me angry, for a variety of reasons. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for anti-vaxxers in general. Maybe go to medical school and get a legitimate degree before you start thinking you’re smarter than scientists or doctors. Oh, you’re a baseball player? Then shut your fucking mouth and get the fucking shot.

What is that about anything that can go wrong will go wrong? Something tells me that quote originated before the Seattle Mariners were even in existence, but they were definitely saying that about the Seattle Mariners; I know it in my gut.

The Mariners lost 16-1, 6-4, and 9-2. I don’t need to talk about these games. Truth be told, I didn’t see one second of any of them. If anyone was curious, this series dropped our run differential to -52, which is third-worst in all of baseball. I know it’s a long season, and this year isn’t about getting a high draft pick, but if things continue to spiral out of control like this, we could be looking at a VERY high draft pick anyway. Not the worst consolation prize, considering we weren’t going to win a World Series regardless.

In our immediate future, we’ve got a relatively easy slate of games. Six against the A’s (but we usually play them pretty tough), four apiece against the Rangers and Angels (both bad), and then three-game sets against the Tigers, Indians, and Twins. If I had any confidence in the Mariners whatsoever, I’d say this is the part of the schedule where they should rack up a bunch of easy wins. But, now I’m thinking we’ll get a good glimpse into just how bad the M’s really are.

Good teams are supposed to beat the bad teams, that’s what we always say. But, if you’re bad and you lose to the bad teams? That’s laughingstock territory. That’s Guys Losing Their Jobs Land. That’s Panic Moves Ahoy! Wanna see how the cookie crumbles? I’ve got a dried out, expired box of Nilla Wafers ready to meet its maker at the garbage dump.

The Mariners’ Hitting Is Fucking Atrocious

Welp, the Mariners were no-hit. Again. They have a team batting average of .198 on the season, easily dead last in all of baseball (that’s including worse than the entire National League, which regularly has pitchers bat where a Designated Hitter would be more appropriate). They have an on-base percentage of .279 on the season, easily dead last in all of baseball (that’s in spite of the fact that their organizational motto is to Control The Zone or Dominate The Zone or whatever the fuck is supposed to boil down to: swing at pitches inside the strike zone, don’t swing at pitches outside the strike zone). They have an OPS of .639 (dead last in all of baseball), they’re 22nd in runs scored, they’re tied for 8th in most times striking out, I’m sure I could go on and on, but I don’t have the time nor the patience to get into the weeds of all the advanced analytics.

The long and the short of it is what’s right there in the headline: the offense is fucking atrocious.

Sam Haggerty is practically an everyday player at this point, thanks to the litany of injuries the M’s have suffered; he’s hitting .185.

Jarred Kelenic isn’t yet the savior we kinda sorta expected him to be right out of the gate; he’s 5 for 28 to start his Major League career.

Luis Torrens was supposed to be one-half of a dynamic catching duo that was supposed to be the LEAST of our worries. He’s hitting .178 and was just demoted to the Rainiers because not only does he stink with the bat, but he’s also among the worst with his glove. Tom Murphy, meanwhile, is somehow even more God-awful at the plate, hitting .130, but he’s too much of a veteran to send to the minors.

Dylan Moore was just put on the IL; he was starting to come around, and yet his start was so poor he’s only hitting .168.

Taylor Trammell was demoted when we called up Kelenic; he’s been tearing the cover off the ball in Tacoma, but he was only hitting .157 in Seattle.

Evan White is on the IL for God knows how long; his miserable start to 2021 saw him hitting .144.

Jose Marmolejos was just DFA’d because he SUUUUUUCKS at literally everything; he was hitting .139.

Jake Fraley is on a rehab assignment for his IL stint; he was hitting a cool .100 in his 5 games to start the season.

And those are just the guys hitting UNDER .200. Not counting the recent call-ups who aren’t even worth mentioning because the expectations for these players are less than nothing.

If you want to delve into the semi-productive disappointments, there’s Ty France – who hasn’t been the same since he took a fastball off of his forearm, and who currently finds himself on the IL – whose average has dipped to .229. There’s Kyle Lewis – whose first month of the season found him largely on the IL – who is hitting .239. There’s the inherently streaky J.P. Crawford who’s hitting a robust .247. Even our very best and most productive hitters – Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger – are only hitting .224 and .256 respectively. Obviously, batting average isn’t really the best indicator of a hitter’s productivity, and can largely be dependant upon luck on balls hit in play. But, when the team is collectively hitting under .200, I don’t give a flying piece of shit what sabermetrics you give me. THESE GUYS ARE ALL OF THEM FUCKING TERRIBLE!

The Detroit Tigers have the third-worst record in all of baseball. They have the VERY worst run differential (-57) in all of baseball. And yet, they just came into Seattle and swept the Mariners in a 3-game series, including the aforementioned no-hitter (the second time the M’s have been no-hit this season, that’s a little over a quarter of the way completed). I will not be going game-by-game on this series, because what’s the fucking point? It was an unmitigated embarrassment from the top of the organization on down.

The Mariners should be fucking ashamed of what they’ve done. They should fire every coach who has ever even referenced the concept of hitting to these players. And that’s all I have to say.

The end of May is generally when I’m my most annoyed with the Seattle Mariners, because that’s usually when they’re exposed for the frauds that they are (if they haven’t been exposed beforehand). So, by most every season’s expectations, this is coming right on cue. Nevertheless, watching so many of the potential core players flounder like this is especially demoralizing (rendered even more hopeless as key guys suffer injuries to further skew our results to the negative). Thank Christ the weather is improving and I won’t have to give as much of a shit that we’re watching the return of the Same Old Mariners.

The Mariners Bounced Back With An Impressive Series Win Over The Indians

I didn’t have much in the way of high hopes for this 4-game home set, in spite of Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert getting the call-up. Nevertheless, Thursday’s game held the highest anticipation for me since Opening Day; it did end up disappointing, however.

The 4-2 defeat looks better than it actually was; the Mariners were held hitless through seven innings before a J.P. Crawford single and a Dylan Moore homer made it remotely interesting. Things got moderately more interesting in the ninth, as the M’s walked the bases loaded, but the Indians were able to escape.

Gilbert struggled somewhat in his four innings of work, giving up all four runs. His stuff looked good, though I would argue he kept catching too much of the plate, and hitters at this level aren’t going to miss when you do that, regardless of how hard you throw. No walks and five strikeouts are both great; but, obviously the two homers are far from ideal. Mixed bag of a first start for a guy the Mariners plan on handling with kid gloves (he was limited to 71 pitches, which is well below even what the plan was heading in; somewhere around 85, I believe).

As for Kelenic, he’s apparently our leadoff hitter now! Right out of the box, no slow ramp-up, no soft landing. Fucking, right into the fire. He went hitless in 4 at-bats, with a strikeout; but the Mariners all day only had 2 hits, so whatever.

The tide changed immediately afterward, starting on Friday, with a 7-3 victory. Kelenic went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a homer, two runs scored and three runs batted in. THAT’S the guy we all expected to see, and that’s the guy we figure to see a lot more of as he gets used to playing at this level. Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager both hit homers as well, as the team combined for 10 hits.

Chris Flexen gave up only 1 run in 5.2 innings, and Kendall Graveman followed with 1.1 shutout innings. Erik Swanson added another inning of shutout relief before J.T. Chargois (never heard of him) stumbled in the ninth. Rafael Montero had to come in to lock it down for the 1-out save.

The Mariners followed this up with another 7-3 victory on Saturday. Kelenic had another rough day (no hits, 3 strikeouts), but Haniger and Dylan Moore both had homers, and recently called-up Donovan Walton had a triple to lead the way.

Justus Sheffield came away with a quality start (6 innings, 2 runs) and the bullpen did its job.

I was all set for the series split on Sunday, with Shane Bieber getting the start for the Indians. But, the Mariners had an excellent approach to the Cy Young winner, roughing him up for 3 runs in 4.2 innings, which turned out to be all the M’s would need on a bullpen day. Rafael Montero gave up our only two runs; everyone else pitched a shutout in the 3-2 victory.

I’ll say this much: Erik Swanson is looking like our second-best reliever at the moment (so, watch for the jinx to fuck him the next chance it gets). Rafael Montero should probably be DFA’d at some point, as other relievers return from injury, because he looks like a total lost cause.

It was another 0 for 5 for Kelenic in the weekend finale; he’s down to .167/.167/.444 in his 4-game career. I wouldn’t expect that to continue, but I also wonder how much longer we opt to keep him as our leadoff hitter. I get the team is excited and they want to cultivate excitement in the fanbase, but putting him at the top of our lineup right out of the gate seems a little extreme and unnecessary. We’ll be just as excited to see him batting 7th as we are now.

The Tigers come to town for three starting tonight; they are truly awful. So, this looks like a great opportunity to pick up some easy wins!

The Seahawks’ 2021 Schedule Was Released

As I get older, I’m less and less enthusiastic about the annual spring ritual of the NFL making it a huge fucking deal to release that season’s schedule. Why is this a thing? Why do teams have to make dumb viral videos? People are going to talk about it regardless, you don’t need the annoying fake hoopla. It’s especially pointless when we know what the opponents will be for each team well in advance; essentially it’s just a huge ado over the order and game times.

Yawn.

  • Week 1 – @ Colts (10am)
  • Week 2 – Titans
  • Week 3 – @ Vikings
  • Week 4 – @ 49ers
  • Week 5 – Rams (Thurs)
  • Week 6 – @ Steelers (SNF)
  • Week 7 – Saints (MNF)
  • Week 8 – Jaguars
  • Week 9 – BYE
  • Week 10 – @ Packers
  • Week 11 – Cardinals
  • Week 12 – @ Football Team (MNF)
  • Week 13 – 49ers (SNF)
  • Week 14 – @ Texans (10am)
  • Week 15 – @ Rams
  • Week 16 – Bears
  • Week 17 – Lions
  • Week 18 – @ Cardinals

I have no idea how tough or easy this schedule will be. The Colts and Titans look like strong opponents right out of the box. The NFC West is obviously always a fucking minefield. The Saints, Packers, and Steelers are almost always good. And, teams like the Bears, Lions, and Football Team are wild cards (lots of new players could make them better than they were a year ago).

From a construction standpoint, I like the BYE landing in the middle; I’m less-enthused by the early-ish Thursday Night Game, but maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe a Thursday game later in the year – when you’re beaten up by playing so many games already – leads to a higher incidence of injury; who’s to say?

I’m QUITE intrigued by there only being two 10am games on the schedule. Not that I’m overly concerned about them anymore, but I wonder if it’s a fluke, or if it’s a sign the NFL is trying to help out the West Coast teams a bit more. My guess is it’s a fluke; two of our road games – Steelers & Football Team – are in primetime, that would otherwise be early starts. That Packers game will almost certainly be the FOX Game Of The Week (unless Aaron Rodgers gets traded and the Packers stink), and the Vikings are a midwest team that probably don’t mind playing late once in a while.

Obviously, the Seahawks have Russell Wilson and D.K. Metcalf, so they’re fodder for as many primetime games as the NFL can schedule. You can’t complain about the Seahawks not getting respect nationally, because pretty much since 2013 or so, it’s been this way every single year. When you have superstars, you win a lot of games, and you play those games in exciting ways, you’re going to get notice nationally. That’s just the way it works.

There are fun reasons to watch most of these games! The least-interesting ones to me are the games against the Football Team, Bears, Lions, and Texans. But, it’ll be cool to see what the Jags look like this early into their rebuild, I’ll be interested in how the Saints look post-Brees, and I’ll be really interested to see if Carson Wentz can resurrect his career in Indy, that looked so promising just two years ago.

Anyway, that’s that. I’ve done my civic duty of talking about the Seahawks’ schedule. Now, we can all move on with our lives until August.

The Mariners Are Showing Their True Colors

Based on pre-season expectations, the Mariners were playing out of their minds through approximately a month of the 2021 season. That is decidedly not the case since a 13-8 start, as the Mariners have lost 11 of their last 16 games. You can make the argument that the level of competition has been tough throughout – it makes sense, for instance, that the Mariners would get swept in a 2-game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers – but this losing skid has been a long time coming, and cracks are starting to show against even the poor teams (2-4 in six games against Baltimore and Texas should never happen).

It doesn’t appear to get remarkably easier, as the next few weeks are littered with series against quality teams (including the Indians, starting tonight), so we’re at a bit of a crossroads here with this year’s Mariners squad. The Mariners are under .500 for the first time since April 8th; will they right the ship – with the addition of Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert, effective today – or will they continue their long slide into obscurity?

The last two days were as demoralizing as it gets. There’s an argument to be made that the M’s should’ve won on Tuesday. Even though we were going up against an elite starting pitcher, we still touched him up for 4 runs on 3 homers, and in these types of games, you need to make that limited number of runs stick.

Indeed, behind a strong Yusei Kikuchi start, we held a 4-1 lead heading into the 7th, and a 4-3 lead heading into the 8th. It’s unfair to malign the bullpen too much, since they’ve carried this team in a lot of ways, but it was disappointing all around. I’m disappointed in Scott Servais for trying to squeeze an extra inning out of Kikuchi (he had gone 6 innings, giving up just the 1 run on around 90-or-so pitches before returning to start the 7th; he got one out but traded it for 2 additional runs in the process thanks to shaky bullpenning). I’m disappointed in the choice to go to Anthony Misiewicz – our primary left-handed bullpen arm – to follow a left-handed starter in Kikuchi, especially with runners on (he has not proven himself capable of regularly getting out of these types of jams unscathed in the past). If you’re going to go with Misiewicz, give him a clean inning to start with! I’m also disappointed in Misiewicz himself, who got off to a red-hot start this season before faltering in recent outings. I’m disappointed in Rafael Montero being just a Blown Save Machine for this team (his fifth in six weeks’ worth of baseball). I’m disappointed in the overall bullpen construction – where Kendall Graveman is the only actual quality reliever we have on the roster, and he can’t go 2 innings per save ever fucking time – because there really is no bridge guy to get us to the ninth. A lot of disappointment to spread around, all adds up to a 6-4 defeat that didn’t have to be.

The finale yesterday was a 7-1 drubbing. We couldn’t really touch their starter, and Justin Dunn had another one of his … outings. If he ever puts it all together, he’ll be a Cy Young-calibre player. But, I’d say the odds of that happening are remote, because he just can’t get a handle on where his pitches end up. Once the Dodgers went up 2-0 in the fourth, the game felt over. With the way the offense has performed … all season? Dunn couldn’t even get more than one out in that fourth inning, which meant a lot of opportunity for a faltering bullpen to continue being a sieve.

I would imagine the hot streak that J.P. Crawford had been on is officially over. Mitch Haniger continues to plug away with his power numbers, but his batting average and on-base percentage are dipping considerably. Kyle Lewis hasn’t done a whole lot, Kyle Seager is giving us his usual output, and Ty France looks absolutely lost at the plate (while giving us very little in the field). Beyond that, Haggerty, Moore, Trammell (who was just today sent down to Tacoma, thank Christ), White, Marmolejos, and Murphy are all hitting under .200, with Torrens hitting a robust .208. It’s … pretty fucking bad.

That having been said, it’s SUPER FUN to see Kelenic and Gilbert get the call-up today! I can’t wait for tonight’s game. I know the team is looking forward to these guys possibly igniting things with the ballclub, but they should be more interested in how this will translate to the die hard fans like me. I would have 0.0% interest in watching tonight’s game – or any of the games this series against the Indians, who have one of the best pitching staffs in the American League – were it not for a couple of our young stars being here. This should fire up the fanbase as much as the team itself; I just hope that it translates to more wins for this team.

Because things are looking QUITE bleak otherwise.

Jarred Kelenic’s Tacoma Rainiers Career Is Complete

Word has been trickling out this week that Jarred Kelenic is going to be called up to play for the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Assuming this is true, if you live in/around the Tacoma area and failed to go to a Rainiers game in the last week, it looks like you missed your opportunity to see Kelenic play for cheap.

The Rainiers have gone 3-3 against the El Paso Chihuahuas over the 6-game homestand. In that time, Kelenic had 27 at bats, posting the following line:

  • .370/.414/.630/1.043, 10 hits (1 double, 2 homers), 5 RBI, 6 Runs, 2 stolen bases, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts

The standard rhetoric from Jerry Dipoto and the rest of the Mariners brass – before and after the whole Kevin Mather hullabaloo – has been something to the effect of: we’re not straying from our plan, we want to make sure Kelenic is REALLY SUPER-DUPER READY so we’re not losing a year of team control somehow setting him back in his development, and we just really want to see how he handles the AAA level.

Well. Based on those numbers, I’d say he handled the AAA level pretty well.

The long national nightmare is over, Mariners fans! Jarred Kelenic is finally getting his opportunity (are you SURE you don’t want to see how he handles a AAA road trip? Or are six home games enough?), the Mariners control his rights through the 2027 season, and now they can begin the long road of trying to rebuild and repair the relationship.

Kelenic is a surefire stud and future MLB superstar. I have no doubt in my mind! When 2027 rolls around, he’s going to command the highest salary in Major League history, and he’s going to be worth it. So, Mariners, can we PLEASE try not to fuck things up anymore than you already have?

In the meantime, the M’s are 18-18, with one more game down in Los Angeles to go later tonight. After a 13-8 start, we’ve gone on a 5-10 skid, as luck and regression have not been our friends. We’re currently third in the A.L. West, 3.5 games behind Oakland for the lead. Would the Mariners’ record be any better with Kelenic up here from day one? Given the number of skids we’ve had to play in left field at times, I think unquestionably! Will any of these games we’ve given away come back to haunt us down the line? That remains to be seen.

From a team standpoint, playing around .500 ball in the pre-Kelenic portion of the season is probably better than our wildest dreams could’ve conjured up, especially when you factor in the vast number of pitching injuries we’ve had to sustain in such a short and unfortunate time. Kelenic won’t solve all of our ills, but sometimes a hotshot young player gets called up and lights a fire under an exciting and volatile team. I’m hoping that’s the case going forward.

2021 isn’t about contention. It’s about gaining experience and knowledge about which players are legitimate parts of the rebuild vs. which ones are trade fodder or future roster casualties. Nevertheless, 2021 isn’t NOT about contention either. We’re not tanking for draft picks. We’d LOVE to foster a culture of winning. And, above all, sports are supposed to be entertainment. There’s a lot of season left, and I, for one, would love it if the Mariners remained entertaining. Frankly, they’re only entertaining when they’re winning, so let’s get back to doing that. I know Jarred Kelenic can help in this charge.

The Mariners Blew A Series To The Rangers

I’ll be honest, man, I was out of commission the entire weekend. I don’t know if I saw more than a few minutes of the series while at a bar or restaurant. Dates, Mother’s Day, life!

The Mariners won 5-4 on Friday and the series was off to an expected start. Chris Flexen had a very Flexenesque outing: 6.1 innings, 4 runs on 10 hits and 1 walk, with 2 strikeouts. The bullpen shut it down, and the offense did just enough. J.P. Crawford has been hot of late (and earning an improved spot in the batting order as a result), Kyle Lewis has started to come on after returning from injury. Ty France is hopefully pulling himself out of the funk he’d been in for a few weeks.

The Mariners lost 9-8 on Saturday, which was the game we NEEDED to take. Unfortunately, we lost another fucking starter to injury, thanks to Ljay Newsome going on IL after an inning of work. The Bullpen Day approach to these sixth starts clearly leaves a lot to be desired; I don’t know why the Mariners are so married to this 6-man rotation when they BARELY have five competent starters when everyone’s healthy, but I don’t see how it can continue indefinitely.

The M’s had 11 hits in this one, but still were 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Half our runs scored via the homer, and that appears to be a trend with this team in general. If we’re not hitting homers, we’re not scoring, and if we’re not scoring, we’re not winning.

The finale was a 10-2 drubbing where Justus Sheffield shit the bed over 5 innings (7 runs, 5 earned). Between the three Mariners errors in this one, and the mistakes in the Saturday game, there was a lot of boneheadedness going on in this series that ultimately lost it for us. That’s not a super concern, but it’s unfortunate. If we miss the playoffs by a game or two, it’s a series like this one where we’ll look back and go: there’s one we should’ve had.

Yesterday’s off-day was well-earned. Now, we wrap up the road trip with two games in L.A. against the Dodgers, before returning home. Spoiler alert: Jarred Kelenic will get the call-up and first Major League start on Thursday, May 13th against the Cleveland Indians at T-Mobile Park. Will the Mariners have a losing record in the pre-Kelenic portion of their season? I can absolutely wait to find out!

I Saw Jarred Kelenic’s First Game With The Tacoma Rainiers

Also the Mariners recently lost 2 of 3 to the Orioles, including getting no-hit on Wednesday, because their offense fucking sucks.

UNRELATED (note: not unrelated at all), Jarred Kelenic – the uber-prospect who has been Major League-ready for two years now, allegedly – hit two homers in his AAA-debut. If you could bet legal tender on a player hitting a home run in his AAA-debut, I would be a rich man right now. Because who couldn’t see him hitting a homer in this game coming a mile away?

The fact that he hit two homers? And almost single-handedly won this game for the Rainiers? Well, that doesn’t surprise me either.

Kelenic batted leadoff and played left field. He definitely strikes me as a guy who will hit anywhere from 2-4 in the Major Leagues, but it makes sense to bat him leadoff for Tacoma. You want to maximize the number of AB’s he gets, as quickly as you can. Because I guarantee he will be playing in Seattle inside of the next 2-3 weeks. He will not make it into June in a Rainiers uniform (barring injury), I can say that much.

Kelenic finished 2 for 6 with two homers and three runs scored. The game itself was pretty enjoyable! It was a glorified bullpen day for both teams, and both bullpens looked pretty solid between the Rainiers and the El Paso Chihuahuas. Kelenic’s first homer in the fifth inning gave the Rainiers a 1-0 lead, which stood until the top of the 7th, when the Chihuahuas scratched two runs across. But, Kelenic’s second homer tied it at 2-2 in the bottom half of the inning.

It was all set up: Kelenic, with two outs, bottom of the ninth, coming to the plate with a chance to win it in regulation. He gave some MIGHTY swings, but ended up striking out against a dude throwing absolute smoke.

With those funky extra innings rules – where a runner starts on second base – El Paso was able to score two more runs in the 10th, and that looked like the end. My two friends left at some point not long after the bottom of the 7th, but my dad and I stayed until this point. So, unfortunately, we missed Cal Raleigh’s 2-run homer in the 10th to re-tie the game. We missed both teams scoring a run apiece in the 11th, and we missed the 2-1 12th inning to seal it for the Chihuahuas. A 2-2 game in regulation ended up a 7-6 defeat for the Rainiers.

Nevertheless, a mighty fun night at the ballpark! You can see some mediocre pictures from my phone here, including shots from Kelenic’s and Raleigh’s first official at-bats in a Rainiers uniform. And, if you follow me on Snapchat (and why wouldn’t you?!), you can see both Kelenic homers in all their shaky-cam glory … for a few more hours, anyway.

If you haven’t been to a Rainiers game, it’s a GREAT night at the minor league ballpark. I can’t recommend it enough. Tickets are super cheap, seats are fucking amazing, lots of great food options. There’s even a cool bar in left field where you can drink and watch the game. Get your ass down here sometime! Tacoma isn’t all aromas and criminals!

The Mariners Took The Weekend Series Against The Angels

The Mariners continue to surprise in delightful ways. No one really knows how they’re doing it, but they’re getting it done and keeping things interesting, against pretty solid-looking competition.

Last Friday’s game against the Angels was a perfect example. Our starter managed to go only 4 innings, our hitters were 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position, with 10 left on base, and yet the Mariners somehow managed to win the game 7-4. How does that happen? In this case, 3 solo homers and taking advantage of other hitting opportunities as they come about (and a whole lotta bullpen dominance).

Chris Flexen didn’t totally have it in this one, and was smartly pulled before the Angels could inflict any more damage. He went 4 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk, with 0 strikeouts. There’s a lot of really good hitters – especially in the upper half of the lineup – so exercising caution is always the prudent way to go.

This was one of those rare games where we got contributions throughout, and particularly by the bottom of the lineup. Sure, Haniger had two hits (including one of the homers), but Moore, Crawford, and Murphy also had two hits apiece (those four players combining for all five extra-base hits).

The bullpen went five innings, giving up just one run in the process, as the Mariners hitters took the lead and played add-on late. I mean, don’t look now, but this is the best bullpen in baseball through a month and change! That won’t last, but it’s fun to watch so far.

Ljay Newsome REALLY didn’t have it on Saturday, giving up 8 runs over two innings. He’s not a starter, but he’s clearly better than this. I just think the Angels pose a tricky matchup for him (on top of him just having a bad day). I was fully expecting the Mariners to have to use a position player or two to get through all nine innings, but the bullpen (with fresh reinforcements coming up to replace injured pitchers on our team) held the Angels to just 2 more runs over the final 7 innings. That afforded the Mariners an opportunity to pull the game to 10-5 over the final couple innings, but clearly the damage was done at the beginning.

The rubber-match was a thrilling 2-0 victory – the first shutout of the Angels this season – where Justus Sheffield battled his way through 6 innings. The bullpen was even more dominant, giving up just 3 hits across the final three innings (I was a particular fan of Kendall Graveman’s work through the heart of the lineup in the 8th; if he was locked into an exclusive 9th inning closer role, a lesser pitcher might’ve been in there gagging the game away).

The hitting remains an issue, but in this one the Mariners were able to scratch across just enough runs to do the job. I won’t be happy until Jarred Kelenic gets the call-up, but in the meantime I hope to see him play in person for the Tacoma Rainiers sometime very soon.