The Seattle Missed Opportunities Blew Another One Against The Astros

On Saturday, the Mariners literally dropped the ball, resulting in the exact difference in the final game score.  On Sunday … I don’t even know.

The Mariners loaded the bases in each of the first two innings; they knocked the starter out of the game after those first two innings; yet they managed to only scrape across two runs in those first two innings, and then zero runs the rest of the way.  The Astros’ bullpen had to account for 7 innings of relief and they combined to give up a whopping 3 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 7.

The Mariners obviously couldn’t compete with that, because these are the fucking Astros.  They’re GOING to score more than 2 runs, and it’s not even going to be that difficult.

To be fair, the umpires both in Seattle and at the head office in New York, fucked up yet another replay challenge.  In the second, with the bases loaded, Robbie Cano hit a would-be bases-clearing double.  Two runs scored easily, with the third called out after a slide at the plate.  Initially, he did look out, but upon replay, he pretty clearly looked safe.  I think you have to work harder to make an argument that the replay was inconclusive than you do to get the fucking call right.  You’re supposed to be allowed to use multiple different angles to get to the correct decision, and yet, Major League Baseball seems to throw all of this out the window and simply side with the Umpires on the field.  I mean, how do you explain it when everyone at home, on Twitter, can see clear as day that the guy was safe; but the people in charge – who are supposed to have the same angles and the same ability to slo-mo the shit out of it – see something completely different?

I’d like to see the version of this game where Cano plated 3 runs and was standing at second base with Nelson Cruz coming to home plate and the Astros going out to make a pitching change.  Maybe nothing would’ve changed; but relievers are different animals with inherited runners than they are coming into a clean inning.

Ariel Miranda – after being rock solid the first time through the lineup – got Astro’d in the fourth inning.  A George Springer solo homer.  A Jose Altuve infield single-turned-double on a throwing error.  A Carlos Correa double to right to tie the game.  A couple promising outs to hopefully limit the damage, but then a Yuli Gurriel 2-run bomb to left to put the game out of reach.

Miranda settled down to go 7.1 innings, while giving up just those 4 runs, which for him (and against the Astros) is pretty fucking good.  But, obviously, he got no help from his offense.

James Pazos had a giant meltdown in the ninth, but it didn’t really matter.  This Astros bullpen is apparently untouchable, so the game was beyond out of reach with them leading by 2 runs.

In Nagging Injury news, Danny Valencia has been out of the lineup the last couple days with a bum wrist.  Also, Ben Gamel was given yesterday off after his 15-game hitting streak was snapped.  He’s apparently got some kind of groin thing bothering him, which is supposed to be minor.

Thankfully, the Mariners get 2 whole days off this week, including one today, followed by a 2-game series against the Phillies, followed by an off-day Thursday, followed by a 3-game trip to Anaheim, followed by another 7-game homestand next Monday, followed by the All Star Break.  Here’s to the Mariners taking advantage.  It didn’t hit me – what with all the home games this month – but the M’s just finished up 20 games in 20 days.  So, yeah, I’m sure these guys are beat up and sore as all get-out.  It’s nice they get this comfortable stretch, especially with the month of August looming on the horizon.

Also, not for nothing, but I’m happy I get a couple days off this week from writing about baseball.

The M’s are back to .500.  Here’s to getting back over the hump again against the hapless Phillies.

The Mariners Finally Won A Game

Why do we put ourselves through this?

Why do we put ourselves THROUGH this?

WHY do we put ourselves through this?

I like to ask this on occasion – hell, it’s the motto of the fucking website you’re reading! – because sometimes I honestly don’t know why we put ourselves through this.  Boredom?  A need to live vicariously through genetically-superior wonders of human creation?  Sadomasochism?

Ultimately, it’s explained – waxing poetically – that we put ourselves through this because it’ll all be worth it when we reach the peak.  When the team we root for finally busts through and wins its respective world championship, then all the pain and suffering is worth it.

But, honestly, that’s just Cleveland talk, before the Cavs won.  That’s Buffalo talk.  That’s that sweet, sweet San Diego talk.  I’m a Seahawks fan, and the Seahawks won the Super Bowl recently, but I don’t feel fundamentally different as a fan.  I don’t feel more enlightened or more at peace.  I’m a junkie chasing after his next score!  I’m the son in Requiem For A Dream stealing his mother’s old tube TV to pawn for drug money!  Nevermind the fact mom’s got her own demons and my girlfriend’s getting fucked at parties with a double-ended dildo; THIS IS MY LIFE!  My life as a sports fan.  It’s a fucked up existence, but it’s all I know and I’m too far gone to quit now.

I shouldn’t BE this agitated in the first week of April, with the Mariners now improving to a whopping 1-3 on the season.  Yet, here we are.  My name is Steven, and I’m addicted to really mediocre and disappointing sports teams.

You know baseball season is getting into full swing when watching every minute of a game ceases to be of utmost importance.  Last night, instead of watching from first pitch, I made time to hit the gym.  When I got back, I checked the score, then I watched an old episode of the Simpsons as I ate dinner.  I flipped back and forth between watching the game and diddling around on the Internet.

For instance, I missed Ariel Miranda giving up the second leadoff homer to George Springer in four games, and I also missed Mitch Haniger’s first homer in a Mariners uniform.  But, I did see Marwin Gonzalez’s go-ahead solo homer, as well as Miranda load the bases with nobody out in the fifth inning.  I turned it off when I heard Altuve was coming up to bat, because I figured nothing good could come of me witnessing that, but how wrong I was!  He induced a miracle double play and got out of the jam completely unscathed!

From there, the Mariners found themselves in yet another bases loaded/no out situation in the top of the sixth, and once again could only muster a single run – on a fielder’s choice – to re-tie the game at 2-2.  It remained that way through the 8th inning, and it looked like the game was going to hit extra innings for the second day in a row.

Then, the top of the 9th happened.  A walk and a hit batter, with a couple of corresponding pinch runners, put speed on the basepaths with one out.  Jarrod Dyson then singled to give the Mariners the lead, and eventually Jean Segura also singled to put the Mariners ahead 4-2.  It was quite the relief (getting that second run), because we were bringing out Edwin Diaz – who’d just pitched two innings the night before – and you just never know what you’re going to get with a Diaz outing (sort of like you never know what you’re going to get with any closer).

I should also point out that we did this against Houston’s closer, Ken Giles, who collected saves in the first two games and looked damn near unhittable doing so.  Giles somehow avoided that 13-inning catastrophe the night before, so he should’ve been rested, but he ended up throwing an inordinate amount of off-speed pitches last night, which was a little odd because he didn’t really have amazing control of his off-speed pitches.  You would’ve thought he would go back to his fastball, which had been so dominant in his first two outings.  But, you know, I’m not complaining.

Diaz had no such struggles.  He set the Astros down in order, doing what De Jong failed to do the night before:  end the game by striking out Nori Aoki, thus preventing the lineup from turning over to master cocksmith George Springer again.

The offense for the Mariners obviously still isn’t where it needs to be, but I dunno, maybe we chalk that up to the Astros having a really fucking good pitching staff from top to bottom.  Maybe they bust out of the slump as early as tonight in Anaheim.  Really, the only guy who was worth a damn in that series was Segura, who currently leads the team in hits, average, RBI, and slugging.  Gonna need more than just him to step up here.

Great game from Haniger last night, with a homer, a single, a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored.  He also nailed an outfield assist on a hit and run where Nori Aoki got caught running with his head down.

Nevertheless, the Mariners were 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position, making them 3 for 36 on the series.  They also left 7 men on base, giving them a total of 35 on the series.  A series where they scored all of 8 runs in 4 games.

On the plus side, the pitching has been fine for the most part.  Ariel Miranda went 5 innings, giving up 2 runs, which is kind of a best-case scenario for a Major League team using it’s 6th starter.  James Pazos appeared in his third game of the series, going 2 shutout innings.  Dan Altavilla made up for his performance on Wednesday by going 1 scoreless.  And, that brought us to Diaz with his first save of the season.  All told, the Mariners only gave up 12 runs in 4 games, which:  sign me up for that for a full season!  Aside from De Jong’s blown save, the bullpen has gone 15 innings, giving up only 3 runs, which is pretty outstanding.  Keep it up, boys!

Can’t stop, won’t stop, as the Mariners head to Anaheim for a weekend series with the Angels.  Then, it’s the home opener on Monday.  Let’s have a better weekend, huh?

The Astros Are Better Than The Mariners At Baseball

If you learn one thing from this series, it’s that the Astros are destined for greatness and the Mariners are destined for something … less than.  You can tell me it’s early all you want, but this is a great Astros team, and they’re not even playing all that well right now!  Altuve has yet to do anything, the rest of their lineup has been spotty at best, and yet they’ve still been able to demolish the Mariners through three games, with the fourth coming tonight.  Just imagine what this team is going to look like when all elements are firing.

The enraging thing – the thing that’s bound to prove my point even further – is going to be when the Mariners sweep the Angels this weekend and everyone will say, “See!  Nothing to worry about!  It was just one series in early April!  These games CLEARLY don’t matter as much as the games in September!”  And for a while, people will relax, because it’ll look like the Mariners are back on track.  Except, here’s the thing:  I never said the Mariners are terrible; I just said that the Astros are really fucking good and there’s no way we’re going to top them this season, short of the Astros suffering a slew of key injuries while the Mariners from this day forward remain relatively healthy.

This series is the fork in our division-winning hopes.  The Mariners are simply worse than the Astros, and quite frankly they have been since the Astros joined the A.L. West.  Even when the Astros were fucking God awful, they were still better than the Mariners.  It is our cross to bear.

So, now we know, with 159 games to play, it’s Wild Card or Bust.  I just hope there aren’t many more teams like the Astros on the schedule to give us fits.  If we can’t figure out a way to win some divisional games – thank you Unbalanced Schedule – not even the Wild Card will be on the table.

Last night’s game might have changed my mind, had the Mariners scratched out the win, but instead it only reinforces my resolve that the Astros are the better team.  We had everything going for us in that game, and by “everything” I mean James Paxton.  He looked fucking phenomenal in throwing six shutout innings, while giving up 2 hits, walking 1, and striking out 5.  If he’d only been able to keep his pitch count under control, this really should’ve been a 7- or 8-inning performance.  But, it’s his first start of the season, so stopping him at 100 pitches is the right thing to do.

I’ll tell ya, though, Paxton was something else.  He was pounding the inside corner of the plate like I’ve never seen!   The Astros had, what I distinctly remember as an all-right handed lineup, and Paxton didn’t bat an eye!  He even managed to power through some of those unlucky Paxton-esque moments without allowing a run to score; like in the second inning, when a 1-out walk managed to reach third base on an out and a wild pitch; or when Springer reached on a strikeout in the dirt and advanced to third base on a double (he had to get through Altuve and Correa to get out of that jam unscathed!).  These are the kinds of minor inconveniences that – in the past – would somehow come around to destroy a Paxton start.  But, last night, he locked those shits down!

(of course, that isn’t to say those types of things won’t ruin him in future starts, but this was an encouraging way to bring in the new season for a guy known for his inconsistency)

The Mariners managed to not only score a run with a hit out of the infield, but they hit their first homer of the season!  Jean Segura hit an opposite-field 2-run homer that was remarkable in the way it kept carrying.  For such a little guy, he has a surprising amount of power.  On top of that, it was the Mariners’ first lead of the season!

It didn’t last long.

As I noted above, Paxton was finished after six innings, but the Mariners went right to their best set-up man, Evan Scribner … who promptly gave up back-to-back hits and was pulled for Scrabble (our next-best set-up man), who did his job and got the first out of the 7th inning.  That brought us to Dan Altavilla (our third-best set-up man), who gave up a single to load the bases and a double to tie the ballgame.  He ended up getting out of the jam after that with the tie intact, but the blown save damage was done.

From there, it was a comedy of poor clutch hitting through the 12th inning.  Pazos was brought in, even though their entire lineup was right-handed.  He gave up two hits before being pulled.  Casey Fien cleaned up the mess without incident.  Then, Edwin Diaz got his first action of the season, and was forced to go two scoreless innings as we plowed into extras.  That brought us to Nick Vincent, who somehow pitched out of a Runner On Third With Less Than Two Outs jam (of his own creation) and ended up going two more scoreless innings.

At that point, the only reliever left was Chase De Jong.  The Mariners, in the 13th inning, managed to eke out a run on four consecutive walks with nobody out, but could not play add-on, and thus you know how this game concluded.  With a tenuous 3-2 lead, Chase De Jong – who was making his Major League debut, who has all of 1 appearance in AAA (i.e. who was – for all intents and purposes – making the leap from AA to the Majors) – got one quick out, walked the next batter, induced the following batter to foul out, and gave up an opposite-field single to Nori Aoki.

That was the game.  It wasn’t the subsequent 3-run homer by George Springer; it was letting that snake in the grass Aoki, in the 9-hole, weasel his way on base to turn the lineup over.  You get Aoki, you win the game, you get your first career save, and they’re showering you with the Champagne of Beers in the locker room.  Instead, you leave one out over the plate, it gets crushed, and you’re living in your own personal Hell.  Welcome to the Big Leagues, son.

(also, not for nothing, but does this happen if Dillon Overton’s wife doesn’t have that kid this week?  Is it too much to ask to get the C-section a week early?  Okay, I’m horrible, I’ll move on)

I mean, what can you say?  I can’t get angry at De Jong; that’s an impossible situation to enter into as your Major League debut!  Yeah, it’s his fault, but it’s not really his fault.  He probably shouldn’t even be up here in the first place.  In a perfect world, Drew Smyly is healthy and Ariel Miranda is the 8th man in the bullpen.  But, I can’t even blame our own bad luck, because this offense is SERIOUSLY shitting the bed like I haven’t seen since 2010.  Except it’s a million times worse, because whereas the 2010 M’s had shitty hitters, the 2017 M’s have really good ones!  And they’re doing JACK SHIT right now.

Take a look at the blown scoring opportunities in this game alone:

  • 1st Inning – Haniger at 2nd with 1 out; Cano strikes out, Cruz grounds out
  • 2nd Inning – Zunino doubles with 2 outs; Dyson pops it up to the short stop
  • 4th Inning – Cruz leadoff double; stranded at second
  • 7th Inning – Martin walked & stole 2nd with 1 out; stranded at second again
  • 12th Inning – Dyson singled & stole 2nd with 1 out; stranded
  • 13th Inning – 4 walks to lead off the inning & score the go-ahead run; Valencia fly out, Zunino strikeout, Dyson strikeout

That’s just unforgivable.  The pitching this series hasn’t been perfect – not like it needs to be, apparently – but it’s been BEYOND good enough.  It’s even more aggravating because you know the pitching isn’t going to stay this good over the long haul.  We’re fucking SQUANDERING games that we should be winning!  And don’t tell me it’s early, because a loss is a loss is a loss; they all count the same fucking way regardless of whether they’re in April or September, so fuck off with that nonsense.

0-3 as we head into the next two days with our worst two starters.  Oh, this should be fun.

The Mariners Somehow Made Opening Day Feel Like The Dog Days Of August

What a God damned wretched experience last night was.  I saw my first-ever NCAA bracket contest championships wither and die along with Gonzaga’s dreams and the concept of good refereeing.  And, as an appetizer, I got to watch the Mariners stink up the joint for almost three hours.

For starters, what the hell happened to the Mariners opening up every season against the Oakland A’s?  While it rarely made for exciting baseball, you could at least count on a win for the good guys!  The last two years, we’ve opened up with games against Texas and Houston and have seen our Opening Day winning percentage suffer accordingly.

It seems particularly cruel to have the Mariners start in Houston of all places, where we traditionally play like warm, pureed garbage.  It’s like Major League Baseball wanted to deflate all of our hopes like so many New England Patriots footballs, before the season even truly started.

Dallas Keuchel looked like his usual, dominant self.  I’m always amazed when it’s pointed out that the Mariners actually HAVE had some success against that guy; I seem to only remember the times he’s absolutely murdered us.  The Mariners only had one opportunity to get to him, and a poor choice in our lineup’s construction saw to it we wouldn’t capitalize.

In the 4th inning, Cano, Cruz, and Valencia loaded the bases with two outs, on a single and a couple of walks.  I was okay with the lineup 1-6, with Valencia batting behind Seager in that 6-hole.  Where I have the problem is batting Leonys Martin 7th, ahead of Mike Zunino.  I understand the allure of having Zunino’s power so low in the lineup, combined with the desire to limit the pressure on him at the plate by having him near the bottom, but Leonys Martin is a hot fucking mess at the plate.  On top of that, he’s a lefty trying to do SOMETHING against the likes of Dallas Fucking Keuchel.  There’s something to be said for going lefty-righty-lefty in your lineup, but not with the 7-8-9 hitters!

We had the bases loaded with 2 outs and a left-handed hitter coming to the plate.  Martin, as is his wont, swung at the first pitch and grounded out to second base, because of course he did.  Now, imagine that same scenario with Zunino up there and the bases loaded!  Granted, he also went hitless yesterday, so maybe he too would’ve grounded out to end the inning.  But, I have a shitload more confidence in Zunino against Keuchel than I do Martin against Keuchel.  You should be stacking the lineup with as many right handed hitters in a row against a guy like Keuchel!  STOP FUCKING AROUND, SERVAIS!  This year is too fucking important for your shenanigans!

If it looks like I’m in Panicky Mariners Fan midseason form, that’s because this game had the feel of every midseason Mariners game you’ve ever seen in the last 10+ years.  Three hits, four walks, seven runners left on base, hitless with runners in scoring position; Felix struggling against the Astros, Felix leaving the game with a groin injury while trying to cover first base on a grounder to Valencia …

Speaking of which, I’m at the point now where I’m ready to let those go as infield hits, rather than have the King run to first base, because it seems like damn near EVERY FUCKING TIME he walks away from that play limping!

The only other scoring opportunity the Mariners saw was in the 8th inning, down 3-0, against reliever Luke Gregerson.  After two quick outs, Dyson and Segura got on base and advanced on a wild pitch.  With runners on 2nd & 3rd, Cano stepped up to the plate and worked the count in his favor.  He was one pitch away from working a walk to load the bases for Cruz, but he saw a pitch he liked and he roped it on a line to right field, right at the right fielder for the final out of the inning.  The Astros would bring in a fireballer to close it out and make almost all of the 9th inning batters look like idiots, and that was the end of it.

I’ll hop right into the random observations.

I thought Felix looked okay.  The first homer he gave up, to the first batter of the game, was a mistake plain and simple, right in the middle of the plate.  The other homer was hit on a good pitch, up and in, off the plate.  He didn’t walk anyone, and he struck out six guys, including Altuve twice!  Obviously, the groin issue is a concern, and will probably be something he has to deal with all season – until it finally forces him onto the DL – as I’m sure he’ll re-aggravate it every time he has to cover first base, so that sucks.  Short of that, I thought he had a couple more good innings left in him easy.

I think the Mariners, and the broadcast team in particular, are putting WAY too much pressure on Mitch Haniger.  Yeah, his Spring Training was fantastic, but he’s still someone who has yet to have any Major League success whatsoever.  Why don’t we let him get some at bats under his belt before we start calling him The Prize Of Our Offseason Acquisitions, or whatever the hell it was Dave Sims was trying to say last night.  Jesus Christ, if he isn’t the guy who mows down Spring Training only to turn back into a pumpkin come the regular season, I don’t know who is!

Good on Jean Segura for getting a couple hits!  He’s your real prize of the offseason, you mope!

It would be ideal for Jarrod Dyson to start getting hits off of lefties, so we can just leave him at the top of our lineup, push Martin down to 9th, and Haniger down to 7th or 8th, but I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen.

Nick Vincent struggled.  Get ready to say that a lot this year.

James Pazos looked good!  I hope he’s able to stick around for a while; I like what I saw.

I don’t know if I’m as excited about Casey Fien.  He looked all right, I guess, but boy is he coming off of a down year.  Also, not sure if I saw much of an out-pitch out of him, but then again, with how aggressive the Astros are, he only had to throw 8 pitches.

Three more games in this Houston series.  I feel like best case scenario is a 2-2 split.  I also feel like we might come out on the short end of that stick.

The Mariners Don’t Have Time For Bullshit Rookie Mistakes

Felix starts against the Astros of late – even when it looks like he might be going well – are still tense affairs that can turn on a dime.  I mean, Jose Altuve is batting over .500 against him for his career, and the rest of the heart of their lineup is solid-enough to take Felix out of his comfort zone.  So, when you’re in a situation like we were in yesterday, where Felix was into the 6th inning with a 4-2 lead, you thank your lucky stars and you hope nothing happens to derail him.  Even the slightest breeze by the Astros’ meaty part of the lineup can turn what would’ve been a surefire victory just two years ago into a 6-run nightmare that effectively eliminates you from serious contention.

Bottom of the 6th, Altuve leads off with a single.  Because of course he does.  Carlos Correa follows with another single, pushing Altuve to second, and you’re just glad he didn’t hit a 2-run homer to tie it.  Put those two guys on, fine!  Just as long as they’re not both in scoring position, you can probably get out of this inning with a lead.  Felix then gets Evan Gattis to strike out and now you’re in business:  you’re just a double play away from getting out of the inning perfectly unscathed.  Of course, double plays are hard to force, but Felix had already induced two to that point.

Third baseman Yulieski Gurriel walks to the plate.  He hits a grounder to the short stop, Ketel Marte.  With Cano already standing at the second base bag, Marte foregoes the easy flip and instead takes it to the bag himself in plenty of time:  one out.  He makes a strong throw towards first that pulls Adam Lind off the bag; Lind is unable to secure the ball and it goes behind him; Altuve scores.  4-3 Mariners.  We can still get out of the inning, but then Felix follows that with a walk.  Then an RBI single.  Then a numbnuts error by Lind, followed by 4 unearned runs, all attributed to Felix Hernandez.  Before you know it, our offense goes in the tank and Vidal Nuno is in the game, mopping up yet another defeat.

ALL COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED, if either Marte flipped to Cano, who had an easy turn with plenty of time to get it to first base; or if Marte had just done his fucking job and made a good throw to first himself.  But, this is the same sort of bullshit we’ve seen out of Marte since he was brought up last year.  He has failed to improve his defense, and really that should be the ONLY fucking reason he’s up here right now, because it sure as shit isn’t his bat!  His line is .258/.288/.325!  He can’t hit for power, he can’t take a walk, he BARELY hits for a decent average, and all the good he brings you on the basepaths is 10 times negated by his shitty defense.  He’s no wizard with the diving backhand, and he all too frequently bungles the routine play.  Last night was another example of a routine play being botched by a little bitch who can’t focus on what needs to be done.

Ketel Marte is the reason why the Mariners spent most of the July trade deadline trying to get a deal done with Cincinnati for their short stop.  Ketel Marte is most certainly the reason why the Mariners will try again this offseason.

Ketel Marte is not a Major League short stop.  He’s, at best, a bench guy you use to pinch run in later innings.  But, really, he belongs in the minors, or out of baseball entirely.  Because if he’s not good at defense now, if he struggles to make the routine plays at his physical peak, what makes you think he’s going to be any BETTER in the seasons to come?

There is nothing about Marte’s game that leads me to believe he has a future as a successful Major Leaguer.  Maybe if he was given a brain transplant, but I don’t think we have the technology for that just yet.

It’s unfortunate to have your season derailed by a rookie you’re forced to depend upon.  This team is one of the most veteran teams in the league, we’re rock solid up and down the lineup and all around the field.  Where our outfielders fail defensively, they make up for it at the plate, and this month we have reserves to put in during the later innings for a little defensive boost.  But, at short stop?  It’s Marte, or it’s O’Malley – who may be smarter with the routine play, but has even LESS range than Marte, so is not really that much of an upgrade – or it’s someone even worse.

I’m telling you, we needed this game last night.  Had we secured the double play, we would’ve been up 4-2 after six.  Felix’s pitch count would’ve been low, the bottom of the order was coming up with no one on base, it would’ve been a WHOLE DIFFERENT GAME!  I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t have gotten the King through 7 innings, leaving us with just two innings of bullpen work to go to get the save.  Plus, Houston’s bullpen usage might have been different had they been trailing, so maybe we score more runs to boot?

And don’t tell me it’s Felix’s job to overcome bullshit defense.  For starters, Houston has the best approach to Felix’s arsenal of any team I’ve ever seen, and he was on a massive slump against them.  So, for peace of mind he needed a clean game from his defense.  Giving any team extra outs, regardless of the pitcher on the mound, is never going to be helpful.  But, given the circumstances, the Mariners really found a new way to let down their ace (usually it’s by the offense taking a huge shit, or the bullpen blowing a lead).  Except, the thing is, THIS ISN’T NEW!  He’s been dogged by shitty defense seemingly all season!  9 of the runs he’s allowed have been unearned!  That doesn’t take into account all the other errors he’s managed to overcome, as well as the plays like Marte’s (where you can’t assume the double play, so he technically wasn’t awarded the double-error he so rightfully deserved).

What did this cost the Mariners?  Well, putting the final nail in the Astros’ coffin, for starters.  They’re a half-game behind us with one more game to play this morning.  The Tigers easily defeated the Indians last night – thanks to the Indians clinching the night before, and resting all their starters against Verlander as a reward – so we’re 1 game behind the Tigers again.  AND, the Orioles lost to the Blue Jays, so we missed out on an opportunity to be 1 game back of the second wild card.

All because little Ketel Marte made boom boom in his diapers instead of finishing a double play that would’ve kept us in the race.  Now, we’ve got 5 games to go, and pretty much need a miracle to pass the two teams we’re trailing.

If the Mariners are going to make a go of it next year, they need guys they can count on.  They can’t be going with useless rookies who don’t excel at any aspect of baseball.  But, even then, will it be enough?

Mariners Continue To Flush Season Down The Toilet

Watching the Mariners these days is worse than trying to get motivated to write on a Monday morning before I’ve had a chance to suck down a large coffee.  Of course, they’re not always going to look as bad as they did on Sunday, where they had 4 errors and grounded into 5 double plays and left the bases loaded twice without scoring either time and gave up a grand slam to Carlos Gomez of all people and once again let Jose Altuve beat them when the game was still somewhat in doubt and had a starter once again fail to go beyond 5 innings pitched.

If it weren’t for an incredible pitching performance on Saturday – highlighted by one of Iwakuma’s good starts, going 7 shutout – the Mariners rightly should’ve been swept yet again by the superior Astros.  It’s not even close how much better they are than the Mariners right now; luckily we don’t have to face them again until late September, when we’ll be so far out of contention it won’t even matter anyway.

Word to the wise:  if you want to preserve what little sanity you have left as a diehard Mariners fan, DON’T WATCH THE NEXT TWO GAMES!  The White Sox come to town tonight for a 3-game series, and I bet you’re thinking, “What’s he talking about?  The White Sox aren’t anything special!”  And that’s very true.

However.

They have two of the best starters in the American League right now in Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.  Two pitchers who are undeniably great, and two pitchers who seem to take it to another level when they play the Mariners, especially Sale.  When you consider the Mariners have The Two Wades going (LeBlanc tonight, Miley tomorrow), just save yourself a lot of pain and anguish now and plan to be doing literally ANYTHING other than watching the Mariners the next two nights.

That way, come Wednesday afternoon, you’ll be nice and refreshed for Felix Hernandez’s glorious return!

Don’t Look Now, But The Mariners Are The Best Team In The History Of Sports

Look, I don’t have to tell you guys and gals; you’ve got eyes!  Unless you don’t have eyes, in which case I’ll thank you to give me and my family the privacy and prayers we need right now in this difficult time of embarrassing gaffes due to my false assumptions.  But, I think it’s pretty clear what we’re witnessing right now:

THE GOD DAMN SEATTLE MARINERS ARE NEVER GOING TO FUCKING LOSE A GAME EVER AGAIN O’DOYLE RULES!!!

I know me personally?  I can’t comprehend what’s going on rn.  I see this Mariners team, second in the American League in runs scored, third in the American League in fewest runs allowed, and it doesn’t compute!  Not MY Mariners!  My Mariners stink!  They never have enough pitching and their hitting is twice as shitty!  They get bullied by other teams’ bullpens and give up more walk-off victories to their opponents than anyone in baseball!  I’ve been a Mariners fan since 1995, but I’ve been a local sports blogger since 2008, so I feel like a completely different type of fan than I was as a teenager.  Young fans have the good fortune to be experiencing everything for the first time, so when they’re older, they get to enjoy all those good memories of better times.  But, young fans don’t REALLY appreciate how good they’ve got it (if, indeed, they had it as good as I did, from 1995-2003).  As a fan from my mid 20s to mid 30s, having suffered through the dregs from 2004 on, much more knowledgable than I was as a kid, dialed into the daily grind while better able to put things in proper perspective, because I CAN compare this to different eras I’ve witnessed, I’ve grown accustomed to a Way Of Life for these Seattle Mariners.  And that Way Of Life has been as a laughingstock.

Those Pat Gillick teams from the turn of the century feel like a million years ago.  This right here, what we’ve been watching over the last 20 games, this is what THOSE Mariners looked like, in the before time; in the long, long ago.  Dominating pitching performances, heroic hitting performances, late-game magic, pushing runs across with two outs, gagging up a huge deficit and REFUSING TO FUCKING LOSE.

There have been contending Mariners teams – teams that ended up with records over .500 – between 2004 and 2016, but those teams never looked or felt like this team.  Those teams were barely scraping by.  They’d hover right around the .500 mark, but were always one bad streak away from completely falling apart and never really mattering much in the end.  2014 was as close as this team has come in the last 12 years to approaching playoff-calibre, but if you saw that team, you know they wouldn’t have had a prayer in the post-season.  This team?  If they can hold up?  There’s a lot to like.

Now, obviously, the pitching – particularly the bullpen – isn’t going to continue to be this lights out.  But, I don’t know if that’ll matter as much as it has in years past.  Because the hitting is truly remarkable, and is going to keep this team in games it would’ve had no business being in before.

I mean, just take a look at last night’s game in Houston.  Wade Miley was okay, but he couldn’t get Jose Altuve out to save his life, and ended up going 6 innings of 2-run ball (to be fair, literally no pitcher in the history of the world could’ve gotten Jose Altuve out, because he is the bane of my fucking existence).  The Mariners managed to scratch and claw their way to a 1-1 tie going into the bottom of the 6th inning, when Altuve scored on an RBI single and things started to look a little dire.  Houston with a 1-run lead going into the final three frames?  In 2015, the Mariners would’ve quietly pissed the bed and then laid there until dawn, before sneaking the sheets into the washing machine before mom woke up.

In 2016?  These Mariners hop right back out there in the top of the seventh, load the bases on the Houston bullpen, and push through two runs off of a tough lefty thanks to Seth Smith’s single to right field.

Now, granted, these Mariners aren’t without their faults.  Joel Peralta with his 4th appearance in 5 games is just a LITTLE bit of an oversight on the manager’s part, mostly thanks to Benoit and Zych’s concurrent DL stints.  Peralta gave up a leadoff double and a walk while getting only one hitter out before giving way to Nick Vincent – who certainly should’ve been the one who started the inning in the first place, because this was only his second appearance in five days, and anyway he’s been fucking awesome this year.  Vincent ran into the buzzsaw that was Jose Altuve, who knocked the tying run in, and very nearly gave the Astros the lead if the other runner hadn’t been thrown out at home.  With Altuve out of the way, Vincent was free to close out the inning and get us to the top of the ninth with the score still tied.

That’s where, again, in 2015, the Mariners go quietly into that good night against the Houston closer.  But, this year?  This year, we load the bases against that closer, for Cano, with 1 out, who proceeds to hit a bases-clearing 3-run double into dead center field for the winning margin.  Cishek in for his 9th save, and here we are, 17-11, first place by 2.5 games, with three more games to go against the Astros this weekend.

Not too shabby, huh?

Mariners Tidbit 30: Got Swept By Astros

What an awful 4-day weekend!  I suppose that’s what happens when you’re deprived of a Felix start, but at this point, I wonder if even the King would’ve made much of a dent.

The Astros didn’t just beat us, they broke our wills.  Game 1 on Thursday came with it an opportunity to climb back to .500.  We scored 2 in the first, Paxton gave us 7 quality innings, but in the end they took it from us in the 10th thanks to Jose Altuve and his usual bag of Mariners-killing tricks.  There isn’t a whole lot to say about this one except for Paxton, again, seemingly righting the ship.  Let’s see if it lasts.

On Friday, the Mariners were in an early 3-0 hole.  Going into the 9th, it was 4-1 Astros.  Cruz and LoMo hit solo homers off of their closer, but it wasn’t meant to be.  On the plus side, Elias managed to go 6 innings while giving up only the 3 runs (striking out 8).  Also on the plus side, Nelson Cruz is still the best hitter in baseball.  Other than that, not a lot of fun.

Saturday was some kind of sick joke.  The Mariners managed to hit 4 homers in the game, yet we only scored a grand total of 4 runs.  Nice.  This was only the second time a Mariners game has been decided by more than 3 runs; coincidently enough, both of those games were blowout losses that Taijuan Walker started.  He’s got two pretty good starts and three recklessly horrible starts to his name thus far this season.  So, pretty much what we should have expected, even if it’s not what we hoped for.

And, yesterday figured to be the big breakout.  Down 6-1 after the fourth inning, the Mariners pulled even after seven.  Much like last year’s Kyle Seager game in Safeco, we all kinda hoped the Mariners would complete the comeback and it would set us on a course for better days.  Instead, the Astros hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 8th and the Mariners were sunk.

We’re now 10-15 and 8 full games behind the surging Astros, who have won 10 games in a row and 14 of their last 15.  At some point, you figure they’ve gotta start losing and we’ve gotta start winning, but I dunno.  I really dun-no.