Seattle Mariners At Toronto Blue Jays Series Preview


Here’s the thing about losing a series: to have lost a series means to have lost more games than were won over a given stretch, and more losses than wins means a worse record than before. The Seattle Mariners just lost two of three against the Baltimore Orioles. They’re now one win further from where they want to be, which, realistically, is .500. We thought the M’s would be fighting for the AL West crown, but no, it’s the good ol’ fight for .500. At least we know the words to this song.

Not like their stay in Baltimore was entirely miserable. Seth Smith hit a home run and robbed a home run in the same inning! Seth Smith, one can reason, is like Mike Trout, but better. Trout did both in the same game? Smith did it in the same frame. Nelson Cruz got a massive standing ovation and then hit a dinger. It was a fun game, and I guess they did almost come back yesterday. Or, rather, they came back, tied the game, and then lost. Stupid Mariners. Okay, so perhaps that series did kind of suck.

Next up are the Toronto Blue Jays, who have not made the postseason since 1993. That’s the longest of any major league team, but of course Seattle is right behind them. The Mariners haven’t been since 2001, when they won an unthinkable 116 games and set a benchmark for what it takes to get themselves past the regular season. The M’s need to win (at least) 116 games to make the playoffs, based on recent precedent. Seems like a lot! But so it goes for the Mariners.

The modern-day Blue Jays are known mainly for two things: hitting lots of home runs, for one, and never living up to expectations, for another. The Jays are in last place right now after a flashy offseason. Sound familiar? Of course it does, because this, like, just happened. Either they go all in and lose ninety games or they tread water and go 81-81. Same story every year for twenty-plus years. You don’t need this preview to know what the Jays are up to, because they’re up to what they’re always up to.

Toronto’s best players so far have actually been their two big offseason acquisitions, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson. Devon Travis, who they quietly nabbed from the Tigers, has been their out-of-nowhere sensation and is single-handedly saving their second base position from it’s typical spot as the weakest single position in all of MLB. Jose Bautista is hitting, and Edwin Encarnacion is… well, he’s not totally slubbing, but he’s off his mark. Overall, though, the offense is fine. Dingers. They’re always fine.

Michael Saunders update: Saunders is hurt, but differently so than he was earlier. He’s making the Mariners look good with a .194/.306/.194 line in 36 plate appearances. Bummer. You were the only Blue Jay I was rooting for, Michael. And speaking of guys I’m not rooting for, Justin Smoak update: .226/.328/.377 in 61 PA, doing some pinch hitting and making occasional starts. That’s a 99 wRC+, which means Smoak’s still a bat-only player with an average-at-best bat. Good riddance.

Toronto’s best pitcher has been nameless/faceless reliever Roberto Osuna, who’s got an 0.83 ERA and has yet to allow a long ball. Their second-most valuable arm so far has been starter Drew Hutchinson, who has a 6.06 ERA and a better-but-still-not-awesome 4.19 FIP. The Blue Jays have used nineteen pitchers so far. Nine of them have been “worth” negative WAR, while four more sit at 0.0. Reliever Liam Hendricks is third on the team at 0.2 wins above replacement. This group has just straight up sucked.

R.A. Dickey has been one of the worst starters in the league, and Mark Buehrle‘s barely been better. Aaron Sanchez isn’t getting it done. This team gave Todd Redmond a start. The rotation’s in shambles, so they’re borrowing from a bad bullpen. Not a winning strategy. Things are getting pretty gross pretty fast, and as usual it’s a problem that you can’t simply fix by hitting it into the outfield bleachers.

Happy Felix Day! It’s Felix Hernandez vs. Marco Estrada today at 4:07pm local time. Tomorrow is Canadian national James Paxton vs. Mark Buehrle, and Sunday’s matinee features somehow-still-a-major-leaguer Taijuan Walker going against Aaron Sanchez. The M’s have the better pitcher on the mound each day, unless Walker decides not to show up. He’s probably not going to show up. Someone want to explain to me why they can’t just give Mike Montgomery a couple starts?

A sweep gets the Mariners all the way up to one game under .500, and would likely give them some seperation from the ghastly Rangers team that they’ve been almost as bad as so far. Seriously, the M’s are closer to Texas than they are to Anaheim, let alone Houston. The Astros still have the best record in the American League, by the way. It’s 2015, and baseball has taken weird to the next level. Win some games, M’s. We’re starting to get desperate.

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