I know, I know, what’s with this “suddenly” business? Hasn’t it felt pointless all along? Hasn’t this entire 21st century felt pretty pointless, from a Mariners fan perspective?
You can certainly make that argument. But, I’ve just had this wide range of emotions this year, far surpassing any other season that I can remember. Excitement, disappointment, elation, dread, anger, boiling anger, uncontrollable rage, sadness, on into lethargy. Being a lethargic Mariners fan is nothing new; we tend to hit that point every year around this time, if not sooner. When you realize contention is a pipe dream, and even if by some miracle they did make the playoffs, knowing they don’t have the horses to do anything about it once they get there.
But, this is a totally different sense of lethargy. This is knowing the Mariners COULD be a good team, but they never will, because of the stacks on stacks on stacks of injuries that are relentless, debilitating, and come from out of nowhere.
2017 Mariners Misery Tracker
- Drew Smyly – 60 day DL
- Steve Cishek – started season on DL, just returned
- Tony Zych – started season on DL, since returned
- Shawn O’Malley – 60 day DL
- Jean Segura – On DL for 2 weeks in April
- Mitch Haniger – On DL for at least 1 month
- Felix Hernandez – On DL, just had setback
- James Paxton – On DL for at least 1 month
- Evan Scribner – 60 day DL
- Evan Marshall – 60 day DL
- Hisashi Iwakuma – On DL for 4-6 weeks
- Ryan Weber – On DL after very first start was cut short due to injury
- Robinson Cano – On DL with quad injury
This was something we all saw coming. Robbie had missed 5 games going into yesterday, and was no closer to returning, so might as well shut him down. It’s bullshit that you can only make it retroactive to 3 days prior, but this is baseball, and baseball MUST have dumb rules that make no sense.
This has thrust Taylor Motter back into an everyday role – almost immediately after I complained about his lack of playing time – and while I wouldn’t say he’s been bad (he’s still getting hits here and there), he hasn’t had an extra base hit since taking over for Cano, and his strikeouts are way up. While guys like Seager, Cruz, Segura, and Valencia to a lesser extent are trying to keep this offense afloat, our younger players have cratered a little bit of late. I’m looking at Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia, Jarrod Dyson, and the aforementioned Motter. Which is understandable, because none of those guys have been everyday players until this season; you had to expect some rough patches. Which makes losing Cano at this critical juncture all the more debilitating.
But, this is still an offense that COULD withstand the loss of someone like Cano for a short period, IF they had the pitching to pick up the slack. Which gets back to my original point about this whole thing being fucking pointless, because they DON’T have the pitching. I will regret to my dying day writing this post, because it couldn’t be further from the truth. The Mariners are no closer to solidifying that bullpen, not one little bit. In fact, you could say they’ve gotten REMARKABLY worse since I published that God-foresaken ode to the bullpen. Partially, of course, you have to blame the starters for being inept, but blaming the starting pitching of the Seattle Mariners is starting to feel like blaming the offensive line of the Seattle Seahawks; at some point, you’ve beaten that dead horse so much it’s starting to turn into a warm, rancid paste.
Edwin Diaz just lost his closer’s job because he has no control of where his pitches go. He has to totally rework his wind up to find his release point. On the one hand, he should theoretically be able to control his pitches better, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t be shocked if he loses some MPH on his fastball. At which point, are we trading one ineffective reliever for another? Time will tell, I suppose.
The Mariners were going to go to a Bullpen By Committee, but since half the guys have been worked to death this week, we were left with the just-called-up Steve Cishek, making his second appearance in as many days, and his second appearance since being called up from the DL. In other words: his second appearance of the SEASON, for a guy who never really had a proper Spring Training, unless you count bouncing around between Arkansas, Tacoma, and some off-day bullpens in Seattle.
So, yeah, Cishek blew it. The Mariners were down 4-1 for practically the entire game, managed to cobble together 3 runs in the seventh to tie it, and took the lead on a Seager solo blast in the eighth to give the team an opportunity for an unlikely win; all tossed aside as Cishek got clobbered by left handed hitting Matt Joyce. He was eventually pulled for Scrabble, who got clobbered by right handed hitting Blah Blah Blah. If there are two pitchers on this team who SHOULDN’T be facing opposite-handed hitters, it’s Cishek and Scrabble. I’m sure there was a more appropriate way to handle that ninth inning last night, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give any more thought to it. The bottom line is, Nick Vincent and Tony Zych were both unavailable due to recent over-use. And, is James Pazos really a better option? I doubt it.
Regardless, Steve Cishek should be able to get three fucking outs without giving away a billion runs. Marc Rzkciaydadsofnpzki should be able to get three fucking outs without giving away a billion runs. Steve Cishek is making $6 million this season, the most money of any relief pitcher on the team, and fourth-most among all pitchers on this team behind Felix, Kuma, and Gallardo (for some reason making $11 million). Marc Rzoiadnoiasdfnikai is making $5.5 million, or second-most of any relief pitcher on the team. For your reference, the third highest paid reliever is Nick Vincent at $1.325 million (no one else is over a million), meaning the duo of Cishek and Rzadfoinoaidsfnki each make respectively over 4 times more than the third highest paid reliever on the team.
And they couldn’t get three fucking outs without giving up five fucking runs to close out the game.
That’s why this season suddenly feels so pointless. Because you can do everything right; you can scrap and fight to get back into a game you’ve been dominated in for 2/3 of the time, you can even take the lead in regulation to steal a game you had no business winning, but you’ll still get fucked over trying to get those final three outs.
Where is the help? Where’s assistance coming from? I guess Edwin Diaz figuring it the fuck out will be a plus, but how long is that going to take? And, like I asked before, will he even be the same guy?
And, from a starting pitching perspective, where do you look? Sure, it appears as if James Paxton will be back soon, maybe even by the end of the month! But, Iwakuma sure as shit won’t see the mound in Safeco until July at the earliest. And who the fuck knows when Felix’s arm will allow him to pitch again. I’m betting on both of those guys needing season-ending surgery at some point. And don’t even get me started on Drew Smyly; I’m not even convinced that guy is a real person!
Everyone keeps saying Doug Fister isn’t really an option, because if he was good, he’d be signed by now. And, even when he does sign, he’ll need time to build his arm back up. But, you know what? If we’d gone and signed Fister when this first became an issue, his ass would be plenty warmed up by now! Is he an ideal option? Of course not. But, is he better than Chase De Jong (10 runs in 11 innings over his last two starts), Christian Bergman (3 runs in 5 innings in his only start), Dillon Overton (2 runs in 3.1 innings in his only start), or Whoever The Fuck (TBD runs in TBD innings)? I’d have to think so.
Then again, what’s the point, right? Fister, no Fister; returning starters, Tacoma guys, it’s all the same. If they don’t reinjure themselves, someone else will fall in his place, and we’ll continue scrambling to fill the void.
God I hate baseball.