Headed down the final stretch of the 2010 season, there wasn't a whole lot to play for. Not that there's ever a whole lot to play for when you're as bad as the Mariners, but at least in 2008, there was the potential for Stephen Strasburg. Two years ago, the Mariners entered the final weekend with the worst record in baseball and a Hall of Fame talent waiting on the other side. In 2010, there was no such talent, and besides, as terrible as the Mariners were, they couldn't keep up with the Pirates anyway. The Pirates had the top pick all but secured weeks in advance, and the M's were battling for pick #2 in a deep and not topheavy draft.
What the Mariners did have going for them, if nothing else, was a group of young reinforcements from Tacoma. Justin Smoak got some action. Matt Mangini got some action. Dan Cortes, Anthony Varvaro, and Greg Halman got some action. The M's were still putting out a lousy product, but it was at least a slightly different lousy product than it had been for much of the season before. That was something.
But it wasn't enough to keep people interested. None of the young guys were potential future superstars, and while Michael Pineda was up with the team, he was inactive, simply watching and soaking it all in from the dugout. Over the last week, and certainly after Felix's final appearance on September 28th, the only real reason to stay tuned in was a sense of obligation. That, hey, you'd made it that far, so you might as well try to ride it out.
Following Felix's last start, the M's dropped the series finale to Texas, and prepared for the last series of the year - a four-game home set against the A's. They'd kick off that set with an 8-1 loss that saw Doug Fister get shelled while Gio Gonzalez spun seven shutout innings. That brought us to Friday, October 1st, where Trevor Cahill went up against Luke French.
And Cahill, naturally, was effective, keeping the M's off the board while the A's racked up the runs against French with a mammoth second inning. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first, the A's left the second up 7-0, with the big blow being a grand slam by Daric Barton. They'd add another run in the fourth, and for the second night in a row, the Mariners found themselves on the pointy end of a humiliating blowout.
It was an eight-run game in the top of the fifth, when Kurt Suzuki led off with a fly out to right. That brought Kevin Kouzmanoff to the plate with one out and none on, and it was then that the Mariners had their most unremarkable moment of the 2010 season. After Kouzmanoff lined the ball to Matt Mangini at third, Mangini threw the ball around the horn, and blinked.