It's an interesting disconnect, the one between your eyes and your brain.
I can sit here and talk about how bad this team is until the cows come home, have babies, raise them for 18 years, send them off to college, and wait for those baby cows to come home again. I can, and I have. I don't think I've done a whole lot of actual analysis lately, but I know I've spent hours upon hours investigating all the different ways this team is terrible. Or at least, all the different ways I could think of, a sum total of ways which I'm sure the Mariners exceed.
And more than anything else, it's the offense. Sure, there have been other weaknesses, but the biggest part of the team's -113 run differential is the fact that it can't score runs, ever, at all. I talked about it this morning, but did you know that the Mariners are on pace to score fewer than 550 runs this season? 536, to be precise. 536 runs. The 2003 Detroit Tigers - the 2003 Detroit Tigers who lost 119 games - scored 591 runs. We're on pace to beat that. By 55 runs.
55 runs, by the way, is one more run than the Mariners have scored since July 8th.
I know this. I know this more than anybody ought to know this. I know, in my heart, exactly how bad this offense has been. I know that the offense has had an OPS under .600 in July. I know that Chone Figgins has struggled. I know that Casey Kotchman has struggled. I know that Franklin Gutierrez has struggled. I know that Russell Branyan hasn't quite been himself. I know that Josh Wilson has struggled. I know that Jack Wilson has struggled. I know that Jose Lopez has struggled. I know that Ichiro has struggled. And on, and on. I know. I watch this team all the time. I watch them fail to generate run-scoring situations, and I watch them fail to convert what run-scoring situations they get themselves into.
I know for a fact that this team can't score runs. I know for a fact that this team is on pace to make history, or at least recent history, by failing to such an extent that the failure becomes the achievement. I know that, when other people look at the Mariners, they laugh at them the way Matthew and I would laugh at the Astros. The way Matthew and I will continue to laugh at the Astros. My brain has made no effort to shield me from understanding the truth depth of how bad this offense sucks.
And yet, on an afternoon like this one, TheRealMariners can go on Twitter and post a lineup like this one, and I can look at it, and I can think, "well that's not so bad."
Objectively, this lineup is bad. Objectively, this lineup might be worse than that. Four members of this lineup have an OPS over .700. One member of this lineup has an OPS over .752. There's not much in the way of on-base ability. There's not much in the way of power. There's not much, period. But the eyes don't see that. The eyes see names, and they recognize the good ones while glossing over the bad ones. More, they associate names not with their failures, but with their successes. Josh Bard isn't a backup catcher. Josh Bard is a switch-hitter who hits to the gaps. Chone Figgins isn't a disaster. Chone Figgins is the guy he was with the Angels. Josh Wilson is still on a hot streak. Franklin Gutierrez can hit the ball a mile. Jack Wilson's got dynamic contact ability from the bottom of the order. And so forth.
The eyes see what they want to see. They see what they want to see, even in the face of unthinkable, historically significant evidence to the contrary. I can't help it. I can't make my eyes think the way my brain thinks. I've put a lot of information about this team into my brain. Probably too much of it. But that information never gets relayed to the face. Or at least, never to the eyes. It does get relayed to the mouth, in the form of a grimace.
You know why I'm not a big fan of Gold Gloves? You know why I'm not a big fan of player polls and managerial All-Star selections? You know why I'm so committed to using the numbers? Because eyes are stupid. They're stupid, and there's nothing you can do about it. My eyes - these eyes of mine, that I even improve by inserting contact lenses every day - saw today's Mariner lineup and thought, "well that's not so bad." I might be better off blind.