After being swept right on out of Los Angeles, the Seattle Mariners are finally back at home. Yeah, yeah, it was a short road trip, but it feels like a long time since the M’s have been in Seattle due to the fact that we’ve spent their entire absence stressing. This team is supposed to be good, but so far, this team has not been good. What the hell! Commence freak out.
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We have no idea how this team is, of course. They’re either good, or bad, or just okay, unless they’re excellent, or terrible. It’s nine games! You know how at any given point in the season the newspaper will show how a team has done in it’s last ten games? There still haven’t been ten Mariners games yet. You wouldn’t react to the L10 column like it was telling you anything about a team’s overall composition, right?
The M’s are coming home, and they’re coming home to feast. Hopefully, anyways, as they’re slated to face the Texas Rangers for the next few days. The Rangers were expected by most to be middling (at best), and so far they’ve been the same injury-wrecked disaster that they were at this time a year ago. I know, I know, L10 and all, but the Rangers have looked pretty much like what they were supposed to be.
So how do the Mariners go about avoiding a repeat of the embarrassment they just underwent in Los Angeles? More hitting, for one. Better defense and less boneheaded mental mistakes (looking at you, Robinson Cano). But pitching, too. Pitching more than anything.
Tonight’s game features J.A. Happ and Yovanni Gallardo, and did you know Happ has the rotation’s lowest ERA thus far? He’s followed by King Felix Hernandez, who starts against Colby Lewis tomorrow. Sunday’s 1:10 game features James Paxton and Ross Detwiler. Those are the guys with the hardest job this weekend.
This team will go as far as their starting pitching will carry them, and so far the pitching has gone nowhere. Happ needs to follow up his first start with another effective turn, while Felix can’t get away with a second straight turbulent start. Paxton is in dire need of a rebound after getting shelled last time out. Starting pitching was the obvious, enormous strength of this team a few short weeks ago! It should still be, even if the first nine games’ worth of results have been frustrating, to say the least.
Starting pitching should key a turnaround, but there’s also the issue of the lineup. Robinson Cano leads the list of names who are way underperforming right now, but that list also includes Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, Mike Zunino, Justin Ruggiano, Austin Jackson, Rickie Weeks… even Kyle Seager isn’t where we’d want him to be just yet. That’s a list seven deep of either every day or most day players, and most of them are currently batting well under .200.
Luckily those Rangers starters Seattle will be facing haven’t exactly been great so far, so the offense should have a chance to find itself. And as for the Texas offense, well, Adrian Beltre can’t do it all by himself, though he’ll absolutely try. A bad team means a good opportunity, basically. This weekend is a good opportunity to turn it around.
Good luck, Lloyd McClendon and company. Hit better! Pitch better! Win! That’s what I want. It’s what you want too, right? Thought so. Go M’s.