It started Friday night, which I alluded to in my last post: Paxton leading the way to victory. Considering we blew the game on Thursday, this one was a Must Win. But, then again, pretty much every single Paxton start from here on out is a Must Win. It was true before Felix went back on the DL with bicep tightness, and it’s even MORE true now.
So, yeah, that sucks about Felix. It also sucks because we never bothered to go out and trade for a proper rotation arm, but here we go, let’s have a look at the two losers we brought in.
Saturday’s game was rained out, which I understand was quite the ordeal. I spent Saturday afternoon at the Beer & Tater Tots festival in Beacon Hill, followed by Saturday evening drinking more beer and playing some Texas Hold ‘Em with my dad, so I’d say I really wasn’t missing the Mariners too much.
On the fun side, that meant a Sunday Double Header. Marco Gonzales got the start in Felix’s spot, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. Of course, I fully expected to NOT be impressed, so it all ended up as I’d figured. The Mariners, thankfully, jumped out to a huge 7-0 lead in the first two innings, thanks to a Valencia 2-run homer, a Seager solo homer, a wild pitch scoring a runner from second base, and a Cruz 3-run homer. Gonzales got through 4 innings, giving up just the 2 runs, but then he let the first three runners on in the fifth inning before being pulled, and all three of those guys ended up scoring. 4 innings, 5 earned runs, a fastball around 91 mph, a change up that looked okay, but ultimately a guy who is going to get bashed around pretty good each and every time he makes a mistake. Fucking brilliant.
From there, the bullpen had to work overtime. Pazos got out of the fifth just giving up the Gonzales runners. Zych worked a clean sixth. David Phelps got one out in the seventh before leaving with an arm injury. He’s headed back to Seattle to see what’s wrong exactly, but word is he hasn’t felt quite right the last few outings. Then, I proceeded to mock the Mariners for trading Steve Cishek for Erasmo Fucking Ramirez (what’s that? you traded from a position of quote-unquote STRENGTH? uh huh). Pagan and Scrabble were able to work their way out of the seventh inning, which took us to Nick Vincent’s wild adventure in the eighth. Luckily Cruz hit his second homer of the day in the top of the seventh to give the Mariners 8 runs, because Vincent gave up a 2-run homer to make the game 8-7. He proceeded to get out of the jam with the lead intact, and thankfully Edwin Diaz is still en fuego, so he was able to lock down his 23rd save of the season.
The victory secured at least a series tie, and from the looks of the second game of the doubleheader, the Mariners were happy to just get out of there with the split.
Erasmo Ramirez followed up his previous garbage start with one that was even worse. 5 innings, 5 runs, including 3 homers. The M’s could only muster 1 run on 4 hits, so the rest of the game was handed over to our loser relievers Casey Lawrence and Cody Martin. Martin gave up the other 4 runs in this 9-1 debacle. The only good thing you could say about this one is that it was over after 2 hours and 39 minutes.
The Mariners have an off-day today, thank Christ, followed by a mini 2-game set in Oakland before a week’s worth of games at home (the only home games all month).
At the start of the day on Sunday, the Mariners also made a couple post-July trades. The first one was for Yonder Alonso, a first baseman and an All Star this year. He has 17 doubles and 22 homers in what has been a breakout season for the veteran, from a power perspective. As he bats left-handed, he figures to go into a time-share with Danny Valencia. I don’t know if I saw first base as a HUGE area of need for this team (it’s not like it’s Starting Pitcher or anything), but if Alonso can give us an offensive boost, I’m all for it. I appreciate the fact that Valencia has given us the back of his baseball card as far as his production this year – in other words, he didn’t fall off a cliff as soon as he became a Mariner; he’s essentially been what he’s been the last two years, which is fine – but I think it’s pretty clear this team could use a little more out of its offense, what with the struggles our pitching staff has given us. In a way, it’s easier to just pump up the bats even more than to go out and find a competent starting pitcher, so that’s what the M’s have done.
In exchange, the A’s get Boog Powell, so no big loss. It’s unfortunate that Yonder Alonso is only on a 1-year deal, but if he likes it here and we like him, I don’t see why we couldn’t re-sign him to a modest 3-year deal at the end of the year.
The other move was for some AAA guys. Ryan Garton is a relief pitcher who was sort of okay in 2016 (his first year in the Bigs), but has been pretty dreadful in 2017 in 7 games. He’s been putting up some fantastic AAA numbers the last couple years, so obviously there’s something there. I wonder how long he’ll be in Tacoma, what with this David Phelps injury hanging over us. The other guy the Mariners brought in from this trade with the Rays is Mike Marjama. He’s yet to crack the Majors, but in his first year in AAA this year, he’s doing pretty well. He looks like an upgrade over Tuffy Gosewisch – who was waived to make room on the 40-man – so that’s not so bad. The Mariners gave up 2 low-minor league guys and a player to be named later, so we won’t know if we’ve screwed ourselves over for at least a few years.
All in all, a real mixed bag of a weekend, in what’s been a real mixed bag of a season. The pull of the impending football season grows ever stronger.