It’s Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better For The Mariners

The Mariners just finished a 3-6 road trip, then proceeded to follow that up with a 1-2 weekend against the Twins. Now, we’ve got a dominant Orioles team in town for three, before an annoying weekend set against the Blue Jays, and a 2-game series down in San Diego before finishing up the first half against the Angels.

It’s not great for the Mariners right now. This might be the worst stretch of baseball we’ve seen from this team this year, especially on offense. But, the thing is: this is who the Mariners are. This is who they’ve been all year. Maybe there’s been a few extra hiccups on the pitching side of things, but that was always going to happen. They weren’t going to be THAT elite all season long. You can say they’re tired, you can say they’re over-stressed and forced to pitch in too many high-leverage situations (brought on by the offense’s inability to ever accrue a comfortable lead), but even in ideal conditions, they were always going to have some slip-ups.

But, the offense? That’s been a constant all the way through. For a while there, the pitching was good enough – and, quite frankly, this team was lucky enough in so many clutch situations – to help the team amass an 8.5-game lead in the A.L. West, and to climb up to 13 games over .500.

Now, our lead is 3 games. And, in just 12 games, we’ve dropped to 7 games over .500.

It’s gotten so bad, Julio’s been dropped to 7th in the lineup. He’s got his personal hitting coach here (who, quite frankly, sounds like he’s REALLY FUCKING SHITTY at his job, given what’s happened to Julio’s mechanics this season), he’s got Edgar Martinez in his ear, he’s taking a bunch of extra batting practice this week. And, none of it’s working.

The Mariners just got shut out 2-0 tonight. That miserable schedule we’ve got coming up is only going to make matters worse. Everyone’s clinging to the fact that the M’s have yet to be swept in a series, but I think that meaningless streak is going to end very soon, maybe even two days from now.

And yet, for as bad as it is right now – and I’ve outlined just how atrocious it is – it will get better. It doesn’t feel like it now, but it will.

This isn’t me trying to convince you that this is a good team. It’s not. Not really. I’m not sitting here telling you that the offense will come around. We’re beyond three months into this thing, and the offense has been exactly the same. With Brant Brown, without Brant Brown. With warmer temperatures, with cooler temperatures. At home, on the road. Tinkering with the lineup, giving guys regular rest, believing in veterans who should be fully capable of playing up to the level of their baseball cards. Nothing’s worked. This offense sucks! It’s not the worst offense ever; nothing will ever out-suck 2010. But, given the circumstances, given how good the pitching has been, this might be the biggest let-down an offense has ever laid on us.

And yet, I still believe it’ll get better. Not because I believe the Mariners will go out and make significant deals before the trade deadline. Not because I think there’s help among the minor league ranks. Not because Julio’s bound to turn it around and get hot for at least a month. But, just because: that’s baseball.

This is the same team that was killing it through June 18th; they can get back to 13 games over .500 again. They can figure out ways to scrape together some wins. And, not for nothing, but the second half of the season is loaded with sub-par teams who will eventually give up all hope.

We just have to weather this storm. It’s gonna suck for a little while longer, and then it’ll be fine again.

Just be glad we’re not facing the red-hot Astros in this stretch of games, because if there was ever a team that would be all too happy to sweep a hapless Mariners brood, it would be them.