Apr 6, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Chris Young (53) pitches during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners lost to the Oakland Athletics yesterday, shifting the balance of power in the AL West a little more towards California. With yesterday’s game vaulting the A’s to the top of the division, the Mariners entered play today knowing that they were one win away from regaining control of the division. It can be said, then, that the Mariners were highly motivated to not lose this baseball game. Yet here we are, with Seattle a game and a half back in the suddenly crowded West, having just been shut out by a probably-way-better Oakland team.
None of this should be particularly surprising, including the Mariners getting shut out by a strong pitching team, or the Mariners failing to hold onto first place for all too long. It’s easy to take the first few weeks of the season at more than surface value, since those first few weeks represent our earliest glimpse at the season to come. Over the first few weeks the Mariners have been a first place team in a tough division, getting amazing pitching performances from their rotation and a major boost from the new superstar in town. But they’re also a team that was consensus picked to finish fourth in a strong division. The first few weeks give us an idea of what the Mariners would have to play like all season in order to contend. Today gave us a reminder of what the 2014 Mariners are expected to be like, at least a lot of the time.
Against Scott Kazmir, the M’s sucked. Before his triceps tightened up and ended his day, Kazmir pitched six walkless frames, striking out nine. He allowed all of two hits, back to back singles by Brad Miller and Robinson Cano in the fourth. The A’s used four relievers, who combined to allow one hit. Going into the season, the A’s bullpen looked to be some kind of terrifying. So far it’s been just that, Jim Johnson struggles aside. Eventually the Mariners are going to need to do some damage against good pitchers. Not too much to ask for, certainly, but also not a certainty.
Chris Young made his first Mariners start and was okay, more or less. Young matched Kazmir’s six innings, but only struck out two versus three walks. That’s no good, of course, though there won’t be many moans and groans due to the fact that he only allowed four hits and no runs. The A’s did their damage against the bullpen, most notably a two-run shot from Yoenis Cespedes off of Charlie Furbush. Want to talk about that? Me neither. Ugly game, ugly loss. Moooooooving on.
While the Today Mariners were unwatchably awful, the beauty of baseball is that we can still keep our hopes up for the Tomorrow Mariners! At 5:05pm the M’s and the Texas Rangers will square off at the newly-renamed Globe Life Park in Arlington. Roenis Elias takes the mound, as does Colby Lewis, though the odds of both men doing so at the same time is quite low. The Mariners have a better record than the Rangers, and perhaps more importantly, the Mariners have one less Hector Noesi than the Rangers. Now that Noesi, Loser Of Ballgames is a Ranger, the Rangers project worse than the Astros. Well, they don’t but pretend. Use your imagination. It’s good to make-believe. Mariners World Series 2014.