This was more or less what you might expect from the Mariners against a good team. Lose a game 2-0, then win a game 6-1.
The shutout was pretty rare compared to what we’ve seen over the last three months. It certainly harkens back to those dark days of April and May, but the Mariners have been remarkably improved since then, as we’re all well aware of. That being said, I don’t think the shutout in a vacuum was all that shocking. Yu Darvish has had a lot of success against the Mariners in his career. When he’s healthy, he’s one of the game’s best. In this one, he showed that in spades, going 8 innings, giving up 2 hits and 0 walks, while striking out 7.
We didn’t stand a chance. It was cool to see Logan Gilbert go 5 innings and limit their offense to just the one run, but obviously that ended up being one run too many.
It was awesome to see the bounce-back yesterday, with Luis Castillo leading the way. 6 shutout innings on 4 hits and 1 walk, with 9 strikeouts. Julio Rodriguez led off the game with a homer, Eugenio Suarez continued his torrid power pace with a 2-run bomb later in the first inning, and Carlos Santana proved he’s still among the living with a 3-run dinger in the fifth.
This was kind of a cool week for the Mariners, even though it’s a little unsatisfying for us fans. Off-day Monday, 2-game series, off-day today. Right before we go on the road to play 10 games in 10 days. We have our final four games against the Angels (just in time for Mike Trout to be the hottest he’s ever been at the plate), three down in Oakland, and then three in Kansas City. All of those teams should be pushovers, but we still have to go out and get the job done.
Then, we get an off-day, before the closing stretch of the regular season. Three vs. Texas, three vs. Oakland, and four vs. Detroit in three days (what in the fuck is baseball thinking putting a doubleheader on the second-to-last day of the regular season?). This is it! Then, we finally, FINALLY break the streak of playoff-less seasons!
We’re 80-62. We are a half-game behind Toronto (in the win column) for the top wild card spot. We’re a full game up on Tampa. But, most importantly, we are 5 full games ahead of Baltimore (the first team out of the playoffs). With 20 games remaining. That’s as sure of a thing as it gets.
Now, we get to obsess over seeding. Do we want to be the top wild card team – to host the 3-game series – but have to go to Houston in the ALDS if we advance? Or, do we want to be the last wild card team – to go on the road against the worst divisional winner for the 3-game series – and get a crack at the relatively slumping Yankees?
I know everyone is gung ho about the Mariners hosting a series and that’s everyone’s first choice, but it’s not mine! I want to give the Mariners the best chance to win. We’re better on the road than we are at home. Also, the best A.L. Central team is worse than ANY of the wild card teams. When you combine that with the chance to avoid Houston for as long as humanly possible, it’s no contest. Give me the worst wild card slot, hands down! And, who knows, maybe someone else might do our dirty work for us and take out Houston in the ALDS, so we could play a lesser team in the ALCS.
Of course, these are the Mariners, and even when things are going good, we can’t have REALLY nice things. So, we’ll almost certainly end up as the second wild card team, and get fucked five ways from Sunday.