The Seattle Mariners had a hell of a 2014 season. They were a surprise contender who overcame an awful season-opening slump to storm back as one of the top teams in the American League, despite playing in the game’s hardest division. But all that was for nothing, as their season ended on July 27th with a loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Or so you’d think, based on what people are saying. Morale is low amongst Mariners fans right now. Nothing wrong with that, of course, given what the team has been up to lately. But consider this cold streak within the context of the season as a whole. The Mariners are 54-51, which means they’ve been a winning team and it’s August on Friday. Funny how that miracle gets lost in translation.
Make no mistake, this is agonizing. It was cute when the Mariners lost that Mets series, but part of the deal was always that they’d make up for losing to good teams by beating good teams. We allowed ourselves to adjust and get used to the Mariners as a virtual playoff lock who’d need a losing streak to be within striking distance of a losing record. The Mariners, somehow, got us to trust them simply by playing better-then-decent baseball for a few months. But, of course, they’re still the Mariners.
Dustin Ackley and Mike Zunino led the Mariners with three hits apiece, which was a big part of why the Mariners scored… oh, they only scored two runs. Right. Robinson Cano drew two walks, and boy is he ever something. Kyle Seager, bless his heart, reached base a couple times as well. Chris Taylor showed up in the lineup and smacked a couple balls around. A few offense-y things happened in this game, to be sure.
But James Jones hit leadoff, struck out twice, didn’t hit, didn’t walk, and has now been a worse-than-useless player on the year. He’s actively hurting the team. The same can be said about DH-as-RF Corey Hart, and DH-as-1B Logan Morrison, and though he’s still “new” around these parts, DH Kendrys Morales doesn’t appear ready to give the M’s that much either. Endy Chavez will probably be back soon, and he’s been a nightmare. A lot about this offense has been a nightmare, yet hasn’t been replaced.
Roenis Elias did his part, striking out six in five innings while allowing one run on four hits and three walks. His now-inflated ERA has kind of taken the shine off his still-impressive breakthrough season. He’s striking out more than eight batters per nine frames as a starter who skipped AAA and was never really a heralded prospect. See, the Mariners do some things right!
Yoervis Medina got the ball in the tenth, after the Mariners and Orioles couldn’t decide who’s two runs were more valuable during their regulation nine frames. Medina loaded the bases and allowed an easy sac fly to seal the M’s fate. Zach Britton struck out the side to end the game. The second wild card certainly isn’t out of reach, but it is two teams away now. And the Mariners aren’t exactly not fading.
The Mariners have the day off as they travel to Cleveland to take on Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, and Zach McAllister. This Indians team is certainly no worse than the current Mariners, but it’s important to remember that the cold streak ends as soon as the team starts to win. That could be tomorrow. That could be in 2019. The fun is that we don’t know!