8-1. This was the disaster scenario: Kansas City won, Detroit won, Oakland won, and the Seattle Mariners were steamrolled in the first game of their series in Anaheim. The message of the day was loud and clear: there is a group of teams who “belong” in the playoffs, and the Mariners are not part of that group. At two full games back in the wild card, the Mariners odds haven’t been lower since their eight-game losing streak in April.
This implosion came against an unexpectedly good rookie pitcher, as Matt Shoemaker shut down the offense for 7.2 innings, with the only Seattle run coming on a Humberto Quintero groundout. Yeesh. Hisashi Iwakuma, meanwhile, fell apart and allowed seven runs between the third and fourth innings, leaving frame number four with two runners on and one out recorded. It was more than a mess – it was a calamity. This was exactly the game everyone quietly feared would happen.
So is this it? Was that the last game? Imagine this scenario: the Mariners win today and the Royals lose. Then if the same thing happens the next day, the Mariners are right back in playoff position. Three Mariners wins and three Royals losses means the Mariners are in sole possession of a playoff spot! It’s hard to be encouraged by the way this team is playing right now, and by no means is their schedule going to do them any favors. But making up two games in two weeks isn’t impossible. It’s not even that wildly improbable.
Roenis Elias vs. Cory Rasmus tonight at 7:05. Cory Rasmus? Like, the reliever? This is how the Angels have withstood the loss of ace Garrett Richards – stick a middle reliever in the rotation and win every game he starts. A successful bullpen game every fifth day, from a team that started the season with a gaping black hole of a bullpen? Sounds great. Good job, Angels. A loss today and the sun burns out. Fingers crossed the sun doesn’t burn out, because it’s been a hell of a trip.