11-17, Augh

The worst part is that I can sit here and rationalize so much of all this.

So we got swept by the White Sox. We lost three games by a total of three runs. We had leads in each of them, and handed one over to our closer. Nobody likes to get swept, but with an extra few breaks, the M's come away from that series with two or even three wins.

So we got swept by the Rangers. We lost three games by a total of seven runs. Two of them went to extra innings, and the one that didn't came down to some flukily bad defense and ended with the tying run at the plate in the person of Milton Bradley. Nobody likes to get swept, but with an extra few breaks, the M's come away from that series with two or even three wins.

So we got swept by the Rays. It's the Rays. The Rays are the best team in baseball, at 21-7. The Rays slaughtered the Red Sox in a four-game series at Fenway. The Rays are really good, and though we lost by 16 total runs, we had a chance in the first one with Bradley and Griffey batting with the bases loaded, we had a chance in the second one when we handed a lead to Cliff Lee, and, hey, tonight, who knows what happens if Rob Johnson gets a call. Nobody likes to get swept, but with an extra few breaks, the M's come away from this series with one or two wins.

At some point, though, it's not enough to be able to rationalize a loss. You want to celebrate a win. And the M's haven't won over a non-Royals ballclub since April 21st. We know they're talented, and they know they're talented, but so what? What does that matter? Can you even envision what a successful weekend series against the Angels would look like? Can they? Everyone, I imagine, is high on knowledge but low on faith. We know that the M's were projected pretty well and that a single month doesn't really change a whole lot, but there aren't many people who'd want to put money on the M's playing better than .500 baseball the rest of the way right now. People are panicking. And they're panicking because, while we can rationalize the team's recent spate of losing, the games themselves feel straight out of a different era. A recent era. An era we'd rather not recall.

The good news is that we play in the AL West. In the Central, we'd be 7.5 back of Minnesota. In the East, we'd be ten back of Tampa Bay. In the NL, we'd be...well we'd probably be undefeated, but this is the AL, and the luxury of playing in the AL West is that we're still somehow only 3.5 behind first place. It's a luxury because, while the rest of us are buying out convenient stores and stocking our bomb shelters, Wak can still rationalize. He can remind his team that it's been in nearly every game. He can remind his team that it doesn't need to do everything perfect to win. He can attempt to keep spirits high, because the team probably doesn't deserve to have suffered through three sweeps, and they really haven't been that far from taking some games that they've lost.

So the good news is that, despite everything, the M's are still very much in the hunt. For all we know, they could turn things around tomorrow. The first sixth of the season has been rough, but we haven't been buried.

Still, there's an air of embittered negativity surrounding this team the likes of which I never thought we'd experience, and while those of us on the outside may have a certain flair for the overdramatic, one wonders how long it'll be before the players start to get down on themselves, if they haven't already. They're still close, and Wak will remind them of that, but these losses have been frustrating, and they've recently trended towards lifeless. When are we going to see a spark? Are we ever going to see a spark?

The Mariners need a win. They need a lot of wins. But, first, they need one. Not a close loss. Not an understandable loss. A win. Any kind of win. Just something to relieve the pressure a little bit. They'll feel better, and we'll feel better. The reason I get so pissed off is because I know in my heart that this is a pretty good ballclub that's playing below its potential, and I could really stand to see things get turned around here, because there's nothing I dread more than another gentle slide into passive indifference.

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