Looking At Some Numbers And Stuff About The 2018 Mariners

The Mariners’ season ended with a whimper over the weekend.  The M’s took 3 of 4 against the Rangers to finish 89-73.  That’s good for 14 games behind the Astros for the division and 8 games behind the Athletics for the second wild card (also, 1 game behind the Rays for the first runner up position to that second wild card, but that’s neither here nor there).

The Mariners were -34 in run differential, which comes out to a pythagorean win total of only 77.  They were 45-36 at home and 44-37 on the road.  They were 36-21 in 1-run games and a whopping 14-1 in extras!

Somehow, the Mariners had a winning record against every single team in the division:

  • 10-9 vs. Houston
  • 10-9 vs. Oakland
  • 11-8 vs. Anaheim
  • 10-9 vs. Texas

The Mariners were 23-9 against the AL Central, 19-15 against the AL East.  But, as I talked about before, the Mariners were a dreadful 6-14 against the National League (which, again, if you flip that, then we’re tied with the A’s for that second wild card spot).

Here’s the month-by-month:

  • March/April:  16-11
  • May:  18-11
  • June:  19-9
  • July:  10-13
  • August:  12-16
  • September:  14-13

And just to rub some salt in the wounds:

  • Pre July 4th:  55-31
  • July 4th onward:  34-42

I like to point to July 3rd as the high-water mark, but it was really just the beginning of the end.  The REAL high-water mark was at the conclusion of our game on June 5th, where we beat the Astros in Houston and took a 2-game lead in the A.L. West.  We, of course, lost to the eventual champs the very next day and after another week of hovering around first place, we ended up dipping below for the duration of the season.

*Sigh* those were wonderful, delightful times back in early June.  I was so young and naive in those days!

Let’s move on to some individual accolades.

  • Jean Segura is your 2018 Mariners batting champion, with a .304 average
  • Robinson Cano is your 2018 Mariners OBP leader with .374
  • Mitch Haniger is your non-suspended 2018 Mariners OBP leader with .366
  • Nelson Cruz is your slugging champ with .509
  • And Haniger is your OPS champ with .859 (narrowly besting Cruz’s .850)

Here are all the guys who had 10+ homers:

  1. Cruz – 37
  2. Haniger – 26
  3. Ryon Healy – 24
  4. Kyle Seager – 22
  5. Mike Zunino – 20
  6. Segura – 10
  7. Cano – 10

With all of that, the Mariners were just 11th in the AL in homers.

Some other individual numbers:

  • Cruz beat Haniger in RBI, 97-93
  • Haniger beat Seager in doubles, 38-36
  • Dee Gordon beat Denard Span in triples, 8-6
  • Segura edged Haniger in total hits, 178-170
  • Segura also edged Haniger in runs scored, 91-90
  • Gordon topped Segura in steals 30-20

My MVP has to go to Mitch Haniger, who was amazing this year.  He finished with a 6.1 WAR, which was easily the best on the team, and looks to be just scratching the surface of a great MLB career.

On to the pitchers:

  • Your ERA champ among qualified starters was Wade LeBlanc with 3.72
  • James Paxton led the team in strikeouts with 208
  • Mike Leake led the Mariners in innings pitched with 185.2
  • Marco Gonzales led the team in wins with 13
  • Leake led the team in quality starts with 18

Here’s your pitching section just devoted to the miracle that was Edwin Diaz:

  • (Obviously) led the Mariners in saves with 57
  • 57 is tied for 2nd all time in a season in MLB history
  • He fell 5 short of the all-time leader, Francisco Rodriguez
  • He led the team in pitching WAR with 3.2
  • Paxton was second with 2.9
  • He led the team in K/9 with 15.22
  • Only Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances had higher K/9 in the A.L.
  • Even though he’s just a reliever, and pitched fewer than half the innings of the starters, Diaz’s 124 strikeouts was still good for 5th on the team (one behind King Felix, who pitched 82 more innings)
  • The next-closest reliever in strikeouts was Nick Vincent with 56
  • He led the team in WHIP with 0.79
  • He led the team in ERA with 1.96
  • He led all pitchers in games played with 73 (Vincent was second with 62)

Without making it a whole thing, here are some props to some non-Diaz relievers who had great seasons.  Alex Colome, Roenis Elias, and James Pazos all logged in some serious innings for the Mariners and all had sub-3 ERAs.  I know that stat doesn’t mean much anymore, but I mean, those guys were dealing more often than not.

Nevertheless, Edwin Diaz is my Mariners Cy Young Award winner and it’s not even close.

Finally, let’s take a look at how some of these Mariners greats stacked up against the rest of the American League:

  • Segura was 7th in batting average, and one of 8 in the A.L. to hit over .300
  • Haniger was 9th in WAR
  • Segura was 15th in WAR (with 4.3)
  • Haniger was 10th in OPS
  • Cruz was 14th in OPS
  • Cruz was 8th in homers
  • Diaz (again, obviously) led the league in saves (2nd place had 43)

So, that’s that.  Another playoffs-less season in the books.  Do it all again in 2019?  Sure, why not?  What the hell else do I have going on in my life?  Might as well continue to root for a mediocre baseball team some more.

I Dunno, Mariners. I Just Don’t Know

The Mariners took 2 of 3 from the Diamondbacks; that’s good news, right?  But, of course, the Mariners still managed to lose ground to both the A’s and Astros; that’s … less good.

The Friday game happened opposite the Seahawks’ third pre-season game, so while I had it on a smaller TV, it largely went unnoticed.  I guess Erasmo Ramirez had a pretty good game, and the bullpen was lockdown.  The M’s managed a 4-run rally in the 3rd inning, and played add-on with a couple solo homers after that to keep the Diamondbacks at bay.  6-3 win to kick things off.

The Saturday game happened opposite a pretty raging marathon of the card game spades; quite honestly I forgot the game was even on!  Wade LeBlanc bounced back with a solid effort, the bullpen was a little shaky, but we were able to come from behind in the 9th with a Kyle Seager 2-run double to send it into extras, where we won it in the 10th on a Denard Span homer.  This was the one where Edwin Diaz got his 50th save, so I guess Scott Servais gets a free haircut or something.

The Sunday game was on, but I opted for a Kingsman movie marathon instead; I tried following along with the action on Twitter, but wasn’t too invested.  With a chance to sweep away Arizona, Mike Leake just didn’t have it.  He gave up a 5-spot in the 3rd and that was that; the M’s lost 5-2.  Of course, what hurts about this one is that we loaded the bases in the 9th (after scoring that 2nd run) with no outs, but Haniger ripped a line drive to the third baseman and Cano bounced into a double play.  Just a crusher.

Yesterday, the M’s got to enjoy their second off-day in less than a week.  Today we have a 2-game set in San Diego before 4 games in Oakland.  So, a pretty big week.

But, like I said before, I dunno.  Feels like this week is doomed to go sour in a hurry, which should effectively end the season for the Mariners.  17 seasons in a row – from 2002-2018 – with no playoffs.  Still no appearance in a World Series (to say nothing of having zero titles).  The farm system is among the worst in all of baseball.  We’re paying a ton of money to just a few guys who aren’t really helping a whole lot, and we’re set to give away truckloads more to a guy who can only DH and is certainly not getting any better from here on out.

It’s bleak.  I’d say it couldn’t get much bleaker, but talk to me again in a week.

The Mariners Keep Losing Series After Series

It’s been a week since I checked in on the Mariners, because it’s obviously no fun talking about this team blowing its latest and best playoff opportunity.

Since that 12-inning thriller against the A’s to at least avoid a sweep in that series, the M’s have gone 2-4, losing to both the Dodgers and Astros at home.  From a series perspective – dating back to early July – the Mariners have won exactly 2 of their last 13 series (with 2-game tie vs. the Giants mixed in).  It’s been absolutely brutal, and no amount of road sweeps against an injury-depleted Astros team (that for some mysterious reason hasn’t been all that good at home this year anyway) will make up for the fact that the Mariners SUUUUUUCK right now, and probably forever.

That Dodgers series, for instance, was a fucking joke.  The Dodgers won 2 of 3 games, yet the point differential in that series saw the Mariners at -20, thanks to two miserable fucking blowouts (11-1 and 12-1).  The only saving grace was a 10th inning walk-off balk after our two best relievers blew a 3-run lead in the final two innings with 3 solo homers.  If that isn’t a harbinger of things to come, I don’t know what is.

The Astros series was only marginally better – in that we didn’t get fucking blown out in any of the games – but the result was still the same:  losing 2 of 3.  Felix gave us something close to a quality start in his first game back after his lone bullpen appearance in relief of the injured Paxton.  He went 6 innings, giving up 4 runs, and Cano bashed a 3-run dinger late to break up the tie.

We were saddled with the dreaded bullpen game the next day, with both teams dealing with injured starters (Mike Leake was actually too sick to pitch, because even in the dead of summer, guys still get colds).  Nick Vincent got the Opener role, going 2 scoreless innings before giving way to a minor league spot start in Ross Detwiler.  Det went 6 innings, giving up 3 runs, and it’s truly unfathomable that we would go on to lose this game just giving up those 3 runs.  Somehow, some way, this offense could only muster up 2 runs and that was that.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

PLAYOFF.  TEAMS.  DON’T.  LOSE.  THESE.  TYPES.  OF.  GAMES.  HAND CLAP EMOJI!

Bummer for Detwiler was he got released the next day, because things are tight in the bullpen right now and we always have to be on the lookout for a mediocre start.  Like, for instance, Marco Gonzales, getting the nod in the rubber match!  He’s been on just a fucking trainwreck of a streak, so the team held him back a few days to rest his arm a bit.  It … did not help.  He went 3 innings, gave up 8 runs on 11 hits, and pretty much single-handedly lost us this game, as we would mount a futile comeback before losing by the score of 10-7.

Yeah, Root Sports, you COULD say the silver lining from this series was that the bats looked better.  Then again, I dunno, we only scored the 2 runs against a bullpen day.  And, it feels like no small coincidence that this surge of runs came about because the red hot Ben Gamel was called back up and started all three days, so MAYBE HE NEVER SHOULD’VE BEEN SENT TO TACOMA IN THE FIRST FUCKING PLACE, PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU’VE BEEN IN THE TANK SO LONG OFFENSIVELY, YOU FUCKING DOLTS!

Look, it’s as over as over can be.  The Astros weathered the storm and they’re steadily getting their regulars back from the DL.  The A’s aren’t going anywhere; this clearly is not a hot streak, but just a better approximation of what they are:  a really fucking good team.  We’re 4.5 games out of the wild card and 5.5 games out of the division; once again it’s Close But No Cigar for the Seattle Mariners

I hate this team so fucking much.

Did The Mariners Save Their Season With Yesterday’s 12-Inning Victory?

I dunno, maybe more like delayed the inevitable, but you have to admit that a 2.5-game deficit is much more tenable than a 4.5-game deficit.

Yesterday’s was my favorite type of baseball game.  Just a clean, scoreless bout through 11 innings until the Mariners busted through with a 2-spot in the 12th.  LOVE me some pitcher’s duels!  With the Seattle offense still mired in a ridiculous slump, they needed every bit of Mike Leake’s 8 innings of shutout ball (2 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts); it’s just too bad I had to work and couldn’t see any of it.

I did catch the entirety of the extra innings portion of the game in my car ride home, which was fun, if a little odd.  The Seattle to Tacoma slog down I-5 usually takes anywhere from 60-90 minutes depending on the severity of traffic (there’s always a backup in Fife, for instance, but if that backup extends all the way up into Renton and beyond, good fucking luck), so to make it all the way home (in time to catch the 12th inning on TV) was a bit of a miracle.

I mean, these are the A’s!  They’ve been winning games in remarkable fashion for a while now.  How Khris Davis or Jed Lowrie didn’t walk it off is beyond my mortal comprehension.

Following Leake’s stunning performance – which saw his ERA drop under 4 for the first time since early April – Colome got 4 outs (including Davis to lead off the 10th before being pulled for a lefty), Zach Duke did diddly squat, Nick Vincent got 4 outs, and James Pazos got a critical strikeout of – YOU GUESSED IT – Khris Davis!

If all of that wasn’t amazing enough, the fact that we witnessed a Mike Zunino walk, followed by a Dee Gordon 2-run home run, takes this game right into fantasyland (although, the Gordon homer was certainly a wall scraper in every sense of the phrase).  From there, it was Edwin Diaz with a single and 3 strikeouts to get his 47th save, one shy of the Mariners’ single season record (with 40 games left to play).

That wrapped up a 20-games-in-20-days stretch of baseball for the Mariners that saw them go 9-11, which obviously isn’t going to cut it.  And while there won’t be a stretch of games that daunting the rest of the way (the most they face in a row is 10 games in 10 days to close out the regular season), the opposition doesn’t get a whole helluva lot easier.

Up next, we’ve got a weekend series against the very good Dodgers, followed by three more at home against the Astros.  Then, it’s back on the road against the division-leading Diamondbacks.  Looking ahead, we play Oakland 7 more times, the Yankees 3 times, the Angels 4 times, the Astros 3 more times in September, and the Rangers 7 more times (which, yeah, they have a terrible record, but they also ravaged the M’s just a week ago).

If you’re looking for soft landings the rest of the way, we have 4 games against the bottom-feeding Padres and 3 games at home against the hapless Orioles.  That’s 7 out of 40 of what you could call push-overs.  Against everyone else?  The Mariners are going to have to continue to scratch and claw.  I can’t say that I have a lot of hope, but maybe they’ll surprise me.

The Mariners Messed With Some Of Texas

The last time I wrote about the Mariners, they just lost a demoralizing “home” series against the Blue Jays and were setting out on a 10-games-in-10-days road trip through the teeth of the American League West, starting with 7 down in the state of Texas.  So, let’s get into it.

Well, it feels like a million years ago, but last Monday we got a much-needed 12th inning win to open up the series against the Rangers.  Wade LeBlanc pitched exceedingly well, but was pulled with one out in the 7th after giving up just 2 hits all day on 82 pitches.  Newcomers Adam Warren and Zach Duke continued their Sucking For The Seattle Mariners campaign, giving up the tying runs, but the rest of the bullpen was good enough to keep it scoreless the rest of the way.  In the 12th, the M’s manufactured the go-ahead run, and Edwin Diaz came in to lock down his 42nd save.

Well, it feels like we’ve talked about it a million times, but last Tuesday was Felix’s last turn in the Mariners’ rotation for a while.  He got off to a great start, keeping it scoreless through two innings, then he (and the defense, thanks Kyle Seager) just fell apart.  Since our bullpen was so wiped out from the previous evening’s game, Felix had to wear it, giving up 11 runs (7 earned) in 6 innings.  I wish I could’ve seen the game where we had a clean defensive effort, because even though Felix was giving up hard contact, it was right at guys (Seager) who should’ve made those plays.  I know you can’t assume double plays (which is why he gave up as many earned runs as he did), but if we did assume some of those double plays, I think Felix would’ve looked a lot more competitive.  But, it is what it is, and you don’t yank a legend from the rotation based on one start alone.  He was essentially going start-by-start, and might’ve indeed been on borrowed time based on his prior outings.  You know how I feel about it; it makes me sad and I never would’ve pulled him from the rotation no matter how he pitched, but I’m in the obvious minority and it has no basis in reality or rooting for this team to succeed.  In almost every situation, I’m a fan of the team first and the player second; in this case I’m a Felix Hernandez fan first, and a Mariners fan, like, 10th.

In spite of that effort, the M’s had a chance to at least win the series, with the reliable Marco Gonzales on the mound, but it wasn’t meant to be.  He just didn’t have it – giving up 7 runs in 5 innings – and while the Mariners were able to put up 7 runs of our own, that wasn’t enough to power through these new bullpen arms.  Zach Duke gave up 4 runs on 4 hits in the 7th inning while only getting 2 outs, and there’s your ballgame.  What a fucking disaster of an addition.

So, yeah, heading into a 4-game series with the Astros, it was looking pretty grim.  On top of it, the Astros apparently shuffled their rotation so we had to run the gauntlet.

Game 1 – Paxton vs. Verlander.  The M’s knocked Verlander out after 2 innings (giving up 6 runs in the process), and we were able to hold on for an 8-6 win (Diaz got his 43rd save).

Game 2 – Leake vs. Cole.  Cole pitched into the 8th inning, but we were able to touch him up to the tune of 4 runs.  Leake went 6, giving up 2, and the bullpen held on for a comfortable 5-2 victory (Diaz got his 44th save).

Game 3 – LeBlanc vs. Morton.  Again, the M’s were able to get to their starter a little bit, as Morton went 6, giving up 3; and again, the Mariners’ starter held his own (LeBlanc went 5, giving up 2).  Both bullpens were clean in this one, and we won a nailbiter, this time 3-2 (Diaz got his 45th save).

Game 4 – Ramirez vs. Keuchel.  Erasmo Ramirez took Felix’s spot in the rotation, coming back from the DL.  Ramirez didn’t look great in the minors, but the M’s didn’t need great, they just needed reliable.  He gave us all more than we ever could’ve expected, going 5 shutout innings before giving way to the bullpen.  Alex Colome had pitched the three days prior, so he was out.  That left everyone else in play, which equates to Diaz (for a 4th game in a row) and a bunch of twits.  We were able to get 2 runs off of Keuchel, in his 7 innings of work, but we couldn’t hold that 2-0 lead for long.  Pazos and Vincent were the turds in this one, giving up 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th.  Shockingly, Warren and Duke were real heroes, putting up zeroes in multiple innings of work for each of them (by multiple innings, I mean 4 outs apiece).  The Mariners were able to spoil a save opportunity in the 9th, with a homer by Ryon Healy to tie it; and we took a 1-run lead in the 10th on a double by Haniger (with Dee Gordon running on the pitch from first base).  That was all we needed, as Diaz got his 46th save on the year (so close to an emaculate inning).

So yeah, that’s an interesting week of baseball to say the least!

The good news is, obviously, we picked up 4 games on the Astros when we absolutely needed them.  The bad news is we’re still 4 games back in the division.  We go to Oakland for a 3-game set (1.5 games out of the second wild card), almost certainly without the services of Edwin Diaz at least for Monday’s game.

It feels unfathomable – even with all of Houston’s injuries – that the Mariners should win ANY games down there, let alone sweep all four.  They’re going to need that impossible magic to continue if we hope to chip away against the A’s.

The Mariners Are Why Seattle Is Sports Hell

It’s hard for me to believe that the Mariners are just in a slump, because with their run differential (-19), it feels like they’re just playing to expectations at this point, and really this is who they are.  They’re a team that loses 3/4 to the God-awful Toronto Blue Jays, at home, with their Canadian fans totally overwhelming our home fans in attendance.

The annual fucking embarrassment is over, so that’s the good news.  But, we’re living in Hell right now, in case you didn’t know.  Seattle sucks again, and the Mariners are the primary culprit.

On Thursday, Felix did the bare minimum (5 innings, 2 runs) and Juan Nicasio blew it in the 7th, giving up 2 runs in less than an inning.  He’s since been dumped on the DL with a knee issue, and I hope it’s for the rest of the fucking year, because he’s a fucking worthless pile of shit and is actively killing this team.  The final score was 7-3.

It was somehow even worse on Friday, as Marco gave up 4 runs in 7 innings, and the offense just did absolute jack shit.  A late-game meltdown was essentially meaningless as we lost 7-2.

And, LOOK AT THAT, it got even worse on Saturday.  Paxton went 7 innings, giving up 3 runs, but we lost 5-1 as it appears no one in our bullpen could get anyone out this series.

We somehow salvaged a win on Sunday even though Sam Gaviglio was going for Toronto and essentially equalled Mike Leake’s production through his rotation turn.  It was 3-3 heading into the bottom of the 7th before Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager blew it open.  We got the game to Edwin Diaz who was able to shut ’em down for his 41st save in a 6-3 win.

This team is just a garbage fire right now, and it’s about to get a whole lot messier as we head out on a road trip through the A.L. West.  Texas, then 4 in Houston, then Oakland, with no days off (only to come home to the Dodgers and Astros again).

Oh yeah, by the way, we’re now 2.5 games behind Oakland for the second Wild Card spot.  Neat.  They say the best time to visit Sports Hell is in the summer, when the weather is nice, the people are content, and the baseball team is sucking a non-stop train of dicks.

The Mariners Are Now Tied For The Second Wild Card Spot

Sigh.

That’s right, after being 11 games up back in June, we’re now tied with the A’s for the second wild card spot.  The A’s have won a million games in a row and the Mariners have lost every single day since I can remember.  Everything sucks and now Toronto and their shitty fans invade our stadium for the next four days.

That series with the Astros started off promising enough.  James Paxton out-duelled Gerrit Cole to take the first game 2-0.  It was all down hill from there, though.  We got a very Mike Leake-y start the next day (6 innings, 3 runs) and the offense couldn’t do shit.  The bullpen gave up a 2-run ding dong late, and we lost 5-2.  That left us with an opportunity to still win the series, with folk legend Wade LeBlanc on the mound.  Bad time for him to have his worst start of the season, though, as he was knocked out after 4.1 innings, having given up 7 runs in the process.  He left meatballs out over the plate all day and was getting crushed accordingly.  The offense had few opportunities to make a comeback, and couldn’t take advantage of any of them as we lost 8-3.

So, that’s that, then.  The A’s are here to stay, and the Mariners are pretty much done.

This is just the worst feeling, you guys.  We’re talking about a team with the longest playoff drought in all of the major North American professional sports.  A team that – FINALLY – 17 years later, got off to just a torrid start.  Heading into the 4th of July holiday, the Mariners were 55-31.  They were locked into that 2nd wild card spot with no enemies in sight.  We were talking about maybe even challenging the Astros for the division!  Sure, it was a pipe dream, but those were simpler times!  We could afford to daydream, because THIS was the year!  We were finally going to break the curse!

We’re also talking about a team, mind you, with a very narrow window for contention.  The farm system is garbage.  Some of our very best players are getting up there in age (and some of them are over the hill already).  There’s a nice core of guys in Haniger, Segura, Diaz, Gonzales, and Gordon, but by and large this team is made up of guys no one else wanted.  We’re not laden with young, superstar talent like the Astros or Yankees or Red Sox or Athletics.  The Mariners are a fragile ecosystem that needs everything to go right just to eke out a victory; but if even one little thing goes wrong, it all implodes and we lose by a ton!

This wasn’t a team built for the long haul; it’s a team built for 2018 and that’s it.  We’re 18 games over .500 with a -9 run differential; it’s not a sustainable model and it never has been!  This is a once in a generation type of team that’s been coasting on the very best luck the league has seen in years.  You could make carbon copies of every single player on the roster and try running it all back again in 2019 and you know what you’ll get?  A Mariners team desperately trying to stay around .500.  We were always going to be screwed in 2019 and beyond; at some point, it’s going to crumble, and with no help on the horizon in the form of a development system, the Mariners will crater and be among the very worst teams in all of baseball.  That time is coming, and it’s coming very soon.

Which is what made 2018 so important.  If we don’t break this playoff drought this year, it might not happen for another decade or more.  That’s why this sucks as much as it does.  Because it now feels inevitable that the A’s are going to keep on winning, and the Mariners are going to play .500 ball the rest of the way.

Sure, the hitting has been abysmal, and even with the return of Cano, how much better can we reasonably expect it to get?  Jean Segura is starting to slow down from his unsustainably hot pace.  Same with Dee Gordon.  Ben Gamel had been one of the team’s hottest hitters of late, and they just sent him to Tacoma for no fucking reason, just so we could keep the black hole that is Guillermo Heredia on the roster.  Nelson Cruz still has plenty of pop in his bat, but his average is dipping down into the .260s (showing his age, and the need for this team to probably move on from him after this season is over, if for no other reason than to move Cano to DH next year).  Haniger’s been slipping, Healy is an 0’fer on most nights, we’re mired in Seager’s very worst year as a Major Leaguer, and Mike Zunino STILL can’t manage to bust through the Mendoza Line!

That’s not even factoring in how we have absolutely no business having any faith in any starting pitcher not named James Paxton or Marco Gonzales.  LeBlanc has been ridiculously good, but that can’t last.  Leake is who he is, and Felix looks like he’s just about done.  And you think Erasmo Ramirez is going to save this rotation?  Please!  Also, I love Edwin Diaz as much as the next one, but a string of blown saves is coming, mark my words.  No closer is this good for this long without at least a little hiccup along the way.  We won’t be able to blame using him in tie games for his struggles, is all I’m saying.

It’s all darkness and evil thoughts.  Thank God football season is starting back up again.

The Mariners Wrapped Up The July 31st Trade Deadline By Getting Cameron Maybin

Yesterday, I talked about the trio of relievers we brought in.  Then, in the afternoon, one more deal trickled through the cracks.  We went back to the Miami Marlins well, this time for centerfielder Cameron Maybin.

Again, it’s not a huge deal (we gave up minor league infielder Bryson Brigman and some International Slot Money), but it’s something.

With Cano out, and Dee Gordon sliding back to second base, we’ve had what I’m told is a pretty big black hole out in center.  Guillermo Heredia has gotten the lion’s share of starts and we’ve seen his offensive production slip pretty dramatically since starting off the season pretty strong.  Most people had him pegged as – at best – a team’s 4th outfielder, and they don’t appear to be wrong.  The league has seen enough of Heredia, and they KNOW how to get him out.

What’s surprising to me is that his defense is also not great?  That really doesn’t pass my smell test, but I don’t get to watch all the games, so maybe I’m missing something.  Also, “Smell Test” isn’t really a sabermetrically-sound way to determine who’s good and who’s not.  The nerds will tell you Heredia isn’t helping matters even with his glove, and considering he was probably the best defensive centerfielder we’ve had all year, you can only imagine how much our outfield defense has declined when Haniger, Gamel, and Span have been out in center (saying nothing of Gordon, who I also thought was fine, but was indeed learning a brand new position at the Major League level).

So, how much of an upgrade is Maybin?

Well, he’s a veteran hitting .251 this year, as a mostly-everyday outfielder.  I think that’s about what you can expect of him going forward (anything more than that is gravy).  He’s 25 points or so better than Heredia (who’s trending ever downward the more he plays, so that number could increase as the season goes on), so right away we should expect a bit of an offensive boost.  He’s in no way a power threat, so he’s more Denard Span than Mitch Haniger in that regard, and I GUESS you could say he’s a speed threat on the bases, but he’s only got 8 steals against 5 caught stealing this year, so that’s pretty far from elite.  The best thing going for Maybin is that he walks pretty regularly, so he should be MUCH more of an on-base machine than Heredia.  That, if nothing else, makes this a nice little upgrade to the offense.

Again, though, the big upgrade is coming in two weeks when Cano returns.  There’s no way around it, Cano HAS to play everyday upon his return.  If that means sitting Ryon Healy’s home-runs-every-10-days production, then so be it; the other 9 days he sucks, so that’s not a guy you HAVE to keep in your lineup.

I’ll say this about Maybin:  he makes our lineup look a lot better:

  1. Gordon (2B)
  2. Segura (SS)
  3. Cano (1B)
  4. Cruz (DH)
  5. Seager (3B)
  6. Haniger (RF)
  7. Span (LF)
  8. Zunino (C)
  9. Maybin (CF)

There’s a lot you can do with a lineup like that.  You can flip-flop Maybin and Gordon, for starters (as Gordon isn’t really tearing it up like he was earlier in the season).  You can bump Segura up to the top and move Haniger to the 2-hole if need be (or Maybin in the 2-hole, or Span for that matter).  There’s a lot of flexibility, is what I’m saying.  As Maybin is a righty, you can always start Ben Gamel in his place in a pinch (if, again, you want to sacrifice some defense).  I’m told Maybin is certainly an improvement in the field, but I’m also told he’s not some remarkable phenom or anything.  As he is with his bat, he’s a marginal improvement over Heredia with his glove.  Considering the cost (a low minor leaguer), it’s not too shabby for a guy who will be a free agent at the end of the year.

There is, of course, the potential for more deals in August (a la Mike Leake last year).  These would be players who pass through waivers unclaimed (most likely due to onerous contract situations).  Everyone talks about the money saved by Cano’s suspension as a catalyst for getting more of these types of deals done (maybe for another starter?), but we’ve made a bunch of deals already!  There can’t be all that much money left!

If we see a deal that takes on significant salary, I’d be willing to bet the team is going into the red, which is admirable.  Let’s hope it pays off.

This Is Fine: Mariners’ Season Going Down In Flames

Remember in 2002 and 2003, when the Mariners led in the A.L. West for the vast majority of those seasons, yet down the stretch we played right around .500 ball as the Oakland Athletics went on insane, crazy-hot streaks to overtake us and keep us out of the playoffs?

Well, it’s 2018, the Mariners have yet to make it back to those playoffs, and while we haven’t been leading the A.L. West, we’ve been comfortably entrenched in the 2nd Wild Card spot for the vast majority of the season so far, and that’s dwindled down to a one game lead as of this morning.

No, it’s not the Anaheim Angels we should fear (though we do see them for a 3-game set starting tonight), but the Oakland Athletics, who are currently 61-43, having won 27 of 34.

The Mariners are 8-10 in the month of July.  We’ve enjoyed 6 off-days in the last two weeks, the trade deadline is next Tuesday, and we’re officially starting the Home Stretch.  To kick things off:  20 games in 20 days, with road series against every team in our division, as well as a week’s worth of home games against the Astros and Blue Jays.  Shit’s getting real.  At 61-41, the Mariners have 60 games to go.  All of them are important, but the 10 games against Oakland will be pivotal.  Although, at this point, with the way they’re playing, I’m wondering if it’ll even make a difference.

We all marvelled at how well the Mariners were playing after Robinson Cano went down.  We were 19-9 in the month of June, for fuck’s sake!  Well, chickens are coming home to roost, as the offense has been a disaster pretty much the entire time, except now we’re seeing cracks in the pitching staff as well.  Paxton is on the DL, with a recent set-back that’s keeping him out at least one turn through the rotation.  The bullpen is long overdue for a really hazardous stretch of pitching.  And, we’re still about 3 weeks away from Cano’s return.  This team needs HELP.

Help that may or may not be coming by the deadline on Tuesday, but regardless doesn’t figure to be too big a name.

To catch up on the week, the M’s have played exactly 2 games since last weekend.  We split a series against the Giants, where their fans did the best Blue Jays Fans impression I’ve seen in a long time, invading our stadium and making M’s fans miserable in the process (while lining the pockets of Mariners executives, who have the gall to extort taxpayers for 180 million MORE dollars for a new lease agreement with Safeco Field; at this point, just fucking go.  I’d rather have the Sonics back anyway).

Game 1 on Tuesday was a bullpen day (thanks to Paxton’s back), with Roenis Elias getting the spot start.  He went 3.2 innings, giving up 2 runs.  The game was tied 3-3 after 6 innings, but the battle of the bullpens went the wrong way as our offense couldn’t get its collective shit together.  Edwin Diaz gave up the losing run in the 9th on an error and that was that.

Game 2 on Wednesday was an afternoon affair that went a little better.  Mike Leake pitched into the 7th, giving up 2 runs, and though the game was tied after 7, this time we prevailed in the later innings, taking the lead in the bottom of the 8th.  Edwin Diaz got his 38th save.

I’m having Vietnam flashbacks when it comes to those A’s teams of the Moneyball era (that movie can still suck all the dicks); I just can’t envision a scenario where the Mariners don’t blow this.  If that’s the case, with all the good vibrations we were feeling through the first three months of the season, it’s going to be the most brutal choke job yet.  At that point, I’ll be calling on all the nay-sayers – who’ve doubted this Mariners team all along – to really make their voices heard in telling everyone they told us so.  I should’ve been there with you!  I don’t know what to say; I’m a fucking moron!

Go to Hell, Mariners.  Go straight to fucking Hell and eat shit and die.

The Mariners Have Sucked As We Head Into The All Star Break

Look for my post later this week:  Are The Mariners REALLY Going To Blow Their Playoff Spot To The A’s Again?

The Mariners are 3-8 in their last 11 games following that 8-game winning streak, which followed their 3-7 stretch against the Red Sox & Yankees.  I think we all understood why the M’s went 3-7 against two of the three best teams in all of baseball; but 3-8 against the Angels and Rockies?  I know those teams are okay, but they’re nowhere near as good as the Sox & Yanks!

The first half was punctuated by a 3-game sweep in Colorado over the weekend.  On Friday, it was an underwhelming spot-start by Christian Bergman.  The offense had it, but the pitching was terrible, and we lost 10-7.  Then, on Saturday, the pitching was okay – LeBlanc was far from spectacular though – but the hitters did nothing and we lost 4-1.  Finally, on Sunday, mediocrity across the board!  Leake had a quality start, but Nicasio gave up our 1-run lead, and Vincent allowed the Rockies to walk it off in the bottom of the 9th.  The hitters were once again terrible with RISP (3/11) and it was a 4-3 loss.

Tough breaks all around.  Yeah, you could say the Mariners are in desperate need of a half a week off.  You could also say I’m in desperate need of half a week off from the Mariners, so let’s enjoy ourselves, everyone!

I’ll be back on Friday to talk about the M’s & A’s, now 3 games separating one another from that second wild card spot.  Wouldn’t it be so Mariners to have such an awesome record and still find a way to miss out on the playoffs?