The important thing is the result doesn't matter. It seems like that has been written enough times and doesn't need to be said, but we'll say it again. This isn't a rebuttal of "Then why do they even play the games", because there is a reason to play these games. That reason just doesn't include caring if it's a win or loss.
Of course that headline is a joke, but damn, it's nearly true. The Mariners cleared their bench by the beginning of the 7th after the starting position players had gotten them a 4-1 lead. The backups, minor leaguers, and non-roster invitees proceeded to blow up and error their way to a loss. "BUT THE PITCHING-" yeah we'll get to that too.
So why do they play, I, ummm, I shouldn't need to say it because smarter, better people have been saying it for years. Look at the first few innings when the starters are in. See who's ITBSOTL. Watch the stingingly hit balls flying toward the wall and see who's added ticks to their fastball. Or do whatever the hell you want, I'm not your boss. Take joy in the Mariners march to the top of the standings and cry yourself to sleep when they blow another fucking game to Cleveland.
Fucking Cleveland. Those of us that lived through 2001 are forever tainted on this topic and there is surely confirmation bias at play, but Cleveland, fucking Cleveland. There was joking in the gamethread about 2014's upcoming regular season meetings with Cleveland when the Mariners will inevitably blow leads and get swept and completely implode, and hey, why not get an early start on that when it doesn't count? Train like you fight and all.
- First inning. The Mariners batted around, knocked the Indians starting pitcher out, scored 4 runs and it was a lineup that is probably pretty close to what we will see on opening day. Corey Hart was missing and we may (most likely will) see Brad Miller at short vice Franklin. But still, nice to see everything click against a probable starting pitc---, oh, the Cleveland fans aren't really sure who Travis Banwart is either. Oh well.
- So in that first we had a rally killing leadoff homer by Abe Almonte. Somehow the Mariners were able to overcome that and bring everybody to the plate with a Seager double, a couple singles, some walks, and a wild pitch. Again, looking at stingers, the Almonte dinger got out pretty fast (from Colin in the gamethread):
- I don't know 40mph? 180mph? I'll look up the batted ball data and get back to you, if it exists, and if I'm not lying.
- On the pitching, James Paxton went 3 innings as the starter and did nothing to inspire fear in me. 3 scoreless innings, a couple of hits. Wait, I mean, I would have some fear if facing James Paxton in the batter's box, but I mean fear in a sense of fan fear and him sucking and holy shit the starting pitching is thin. Brandon Maurer was less good for 2 innings in relief of Paxton, but again, no fear, and less fear about the other me at the plate fear.
- And now the above to referred caveat about the pitching in the second game of the double header. The starting position players were out, their backups made a bunch of errors and the pitching got "blown up." Fortunately, we have the preceeding sentence. Unfortunately, we realize the 2 pitchers giving up the 7 runs are probable members of the Mariners starting bullpen, Lucas Luetge and Danny Farquhar. That's not great, but meh, relievers are volatile and it's spring and I've prepared a list of excuses for them:
1) "Hair in my eyes."
2) "Working on offspeed pitches."
3) "I fucking hate Cleveland. Hate begets nervousness and anxiety. Anxiety leads to pressure. I am so ashamed."
4) "Dog ate my scouting report."
5) "I'm basically a lock for this team and don't give a shit."
6) "Do you guys want burgers or pizza for dinner? What Phoenix area chain restaurant are we heading to for dinner. I am so hungry. Did you know they have fast food Italian here? Or do you want to sit down and get some appetizers? Oh shit, I'm up, who's at bat?"5 March 2014 Game Art