You want I should look on the bright side, or focus on the negative?
On the bright side, last night’s 1-0 extra innings victory salvaged a 7-3 homestand. All things considered, if the Mariners go 7-3 in every set of 10 games the rest of the way, we should be in great shape for the playoffs.
Conversely, we were lucky we managed that narrow victory last night, and by all rights probably should’ve been blown out in all three games against the Yankees.
The M’s just didn’t look competitive, at all! There was so much hope heading out of that Pittsburgh series – that we could actually hang with the good teams – but the Yankees were a great test of that hypothesis, and we failed miserably.
The question we’re left with is: was it a matter of our pitching just being off for a couple games? Or is their hitting so good, it likely won’t matter what pitchers we throw out there against them?
Bryce Miller has had as hot a start to a Major League career as you can get. And the Yanks absolutely destroyed him. Miller had gone 6 or more innings in all five of his previous starts; on Monday, he couldn’t make it through five. Miller had given up 4 runs combined in his five previous starts; on Monday, he gave up eight. Miller had given up 13 hits combined in his five previous starts; on Monday, he gave up 11, including two homers (two more than he had given up to that point). It was a nightmare. You almost expect to give up some hard contact to the top of that lineup, but when Jake Bauers of all people is torching you, you know you probably don’t have it.
Things stopped looking so fluky on Tuesday, when we lost 10-2, a day after losing 10-4. This time, it was Logan Gilbert getting beaten to a bloody pulp (4 innings, 7 runs, 5 earned, including 2 more homers). We had to send Juan Then back down to Tacoma to make room for a long reliever, which was really perfect timing when you think about it. Darren McCaughan mopped up the final 3 innings – giving up 3 runs – and was subsequently returned to Tacoma for Matt Festa the very next day.
I’m not super interested in what the offense had to do this series, because the pitching never really gave us a chance to win. Until Wednesday. When we got the start of a lifetime from George Kirby.
He went 8 shutout innings, giving up only 3 hits, while striking out seven, all on 95 pitches. If he were a little more established in his Major League career, I bet we could’ve squeezed another inning out of him. Either way, it was absolutely what this team needed.
Unfortunately, the offense never really got going. We challenged them at times, but with only 5 hits and a walk on the day, it’s not like there were a ton of opportunities. Nevertheless, we were 0 for 5 heading into the 10th with runners in scoring position, before Cal Raleigh stepped up to the plate and knocked home the ghost runner from second with a single into right field. It wasn’t quite the playoff-clinching home run from last year, nor was it the 13 inning 1-0 barn-burner from earlier last year, but it was pretty damn exciting, and something this team sorely needed.
Now, we take a day off before starting our southwest road trip. First up: the first place Texas Rangers. We’ve already seen them once and lost two of three by a combined two runs. Still, they are 15 games over .500 already and just playing phenomenal baseball. I don’t think we can afford to lose this series.
After that, we’ve got two down in San Diego against the underperforming Padres, before heading to Anaheim to hopefully put some distance between us and the Angels (in the positive-for-us direction, naturally!).