You can’t really say this past road trip was a “worst-case scenario” because that would’ve been going 0-6. We beat the team we were supposed to beat: we took care of business down in Oakland. But, we failed to beat the team we really NEEDED to beat, and now, man, I don’t know.
We came into that Texas series tied with the Rangers. Now, we’re three games back of them for the division lead. We’re lucky that the Astros somehow found a way to lose all three to the Royals (and five of their last six, and seven of their last nine, and nine of their last twelve, against the Orioles, the Royals again, and the A’s), so we’re only a half-game behind them (with three to go against them starting tomorrow in Seattle). But, now we’re 2.5 games behind Toronto, and at the moment on the outside looking in at a playoff spot.
This isn’t what I wanted. I don’t want the wild card, I want the division! I also don’t want to fall ass-backwards into a wild card spot because some other team collapsed. I want to go out there and earn a playoff spot!
It’s starting to feel hopeless, though. We’re fucking 1-8 against the Rangers, and 28-8 against everyone else in the A.L. West; how the fuck is that even possible? Texas was the coldest team on the planet like two weeks ago; all of a sudden, they’re world-beaters again? How does one team have our number like that (and that team isn’t the Houston Astros)?
I don’t even think it’s that, though. I just think the Mariners are cooked. Woo and Miller are showing us they’re tired. Their arms are wearing down, and they’re just not as sharp or explosive as they were earlier. The same could be argued for Kirby and Gilbert. Luis Castillo is really the only starter who looks like he’s getting stronger here in this stretch run.
As for the bullpen, as we’ve been talking about for the last couple months, it’s just not nearly as deep as it’s been the previous two seasons. Once again, I have to point to the Paul Sewald trade. I still think it was a good idea at the time, but clearly our return in that trade hasn’t been what we needed. Canzone has had a few big hits here and there, but he’s sub-replacement level at this point in his Major League career, and his September has been trash (granted, the September for most of the Mariners has been trash, but that’s neither here nor there). Josh Rojas had a pretty hot August, but he’s reverted to being useless again this month. As has every other fringe big leaguer on this roster; I’m looking at Caballero, Haggerty, Ford, Moore, and I’m even lumping in Ty France here, because his career has fallen off the face of the fucking Earth not just this month, but all season.
I couldn’t even tell you who’s been doing good in this stretch run, because I refuse to sift through all these game logs. Figure it’s J.P., Julio, Teoscar, a little bit of Cal, and maybe some Suarez. But, it’s not consistent. It’s not like it was in August, when we were torching teams and Julio was a god among boys. We’re 8-14 in September, with 7 games to go. We have to figure out a way to at least tie Houston in record by season’s end (which will give us the tiebreaker thanks to our season record against them), or else we’re done.
Which more or less means we have to sweep the Astros this week, because we’re sure as shit not beating the Rangers ever again! If we can sweep Houston – and they manage to lose one of their final three games against the Diamondbacks – I think we can back in as the third wild card.
But, I’ve sure as shit lost any hope of winning the division. Not with Texas playing three games against the Angels this week.
What a stone cold bummer this month has been. After that August, I didn’t think there was any way we could blow it. But, in true Mariners fashion, as soon as a little excitement gets generated, they do everything they can to make us resent them.