Seattle Mariners Head Home Seeking Answers


You know when something is really hard to swallow, because it’s too dry or slimy or whatever? Well, that’s how the Seattle Mariners’ 11-17 record feels right now, and there doesn’t seem to be a glass of water in the room as the scuffling ball club lost another tough game to the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim on Wednesday.

Aug 15, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher

Mike Zunino

(3) is congratulated by shortstop

Chris Taylor

(1) after scoring in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, following a four-game sweep by the division-leading Houston Astros, a bewildered Mariners ball club made a couple of moves. Moves that were intended to provide the team a “shot in the arm” according to manager Lloyd McClendon. The team sent struggling, young relief pitchers Yoervis Medina and Tyler Olson to AAA Tacoma, welcoming veteran lefty-specialist Joe Beimel back to the ‘pen and the talented shortstop Chris Taylor up to take most of the future work at his position. In addition, after placing centerfielder Austin Jackson on the DL, the team called up reliever Mark Lowe, who is in his second stint with the club.

These moves were meant to wake up a Seattle Mariners roster that has been asleep in the first month or so of the 2015 season. The team continues to lose close games, time and time again finding ways to let W’s slip from their grasps. After a 5-7 start, people were dissatisfied, but anybody that knew anything about the game wasn’t ready to press the panic button yet.

But now, as we enter the middle of May, the Seattle Mariners are 11-17, putting them back in last place in the West and seven games behind the young Astros that just swept us out of Texas in four heart-wrenching games. At this point in the season, it is time to press the panic button and that’s exactly what Mariners leadership did with the roster moves this week.

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We didn’t see either of the bullpen additions until the final game of the series in Anaheim, but we can be happy with what we saw. Beimel had a typical 2014-type outing, quickly retiring the left-handed bat of Kole Calhoun. Replacing Beimel was Mark Lowe, and he sat at 94 mph on his way to retiring the two men he faced–Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. The other addition, Chris Taylor, started all three games in the series and went 1-10, although he was robbed of a crucial extra-base hit late in the final game by the amazing Mike Trout.

These moves were intended to bring the Seattle Mariners up to the level that their roster implies they are capable of playing at. If that level is losing twice in a row on walk-offs hit by two guys I’ve never heard of before, then it’s going to be a really, really, REALLY long season…

Not to be misunderstood, I am certainly not throwing in the towel on this team by any means. We are now almost 30 games into 2015, which is still less than 20 percent of the regular season. It only takes a couple of solid months, say five or six games over .500 in each, to right the ship and get back into this thing heading into August and September.

Apr 6, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) stands in the dugout during the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Los Angeles, 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

So far, when the team has had chances to win a handful of games in a row and figure things out, they have faltered. One night, too many runners are left in scoring position, leaving a gem of a pitching performance laid to waste. The next night, the bats light up and send three or four balls out of the yard, but the starting pitching can’t get in a groove and leave it too close all night, only for the bullpen to allow a crucial hit or a lead-off walk that renders the rest of the team’s efforts useless.

Really, you can interchange each part of those scenarios however you would like, and you can pretty confidently bet that the Mariners have had a game like that this season. Bottom line is that things aren’t going well for the Seattle Mariners, a team that was considered by many to be a favorite to win the American League West, if not the American League as a whole.

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When things aren’t going your way in the game of baseball, things go really, really bad… But there’s a reason there are 162 games. Sometimes that reason is so that teams can struggle through every single game of yet another disappointing season while fans sit and watch in anguish the entire time. But sometimes, that reason is so that teams have a chance to rise from their early-season slumber, as the summer sun rises high in the deep blue sky and the warm rays beat down upon the diamond, and rise to greatness over all who once thought themselves better.

As you sit there in your sadness, pondering the true meaning as to why the Seattle Mariners’ season has started like this… Why a team that has never been to a World Series can’t catch a break, when they finally have a solid, well-rounded roster and a supposedly dominant pitching staff… Why it is so hard for the Mariners to win a game right now… I will leave you with this slice of pie from the late, great Yankees catcher Yogi Berra. “It ain’t over till it’s over”.

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