I didn't intend to miss this entire game. The plan was to miss roughly the first half while out on a hike, and then to return home for the later, more important innings. But you know how the wilderness gets. I got back to my car and my phone at 9:25, checked the score, and, well, yeah.
This is not the loss that officially knocks the Mariners out of it. That loss does not exist, at least yet. The Mariners, after all, are only one more game back than they were yesterday, and that's not really all that much. Reversing a game in the standings takes as little as a day. But then, they're only one more game back than they were yesterday, when they were only one more game back than they were the day before, when they were only one more game back than they were the day before that, when they were only one more game back than they were the day before that. They've dropped four games in four days, and now all of a sudden they're the furthest out of first place they've been since April 24th, when they were 8-15. Remember when the Mariners were 8-15? We weren't feeling very positive.
It's only human nature to make more of this loss than one ought to. Losing streaks are linear, while the human response to losing streaks is exponential. This loss feels worse than the previous loss, which felt worse than the previous loss. But while we all know on some level that it's too early to throw in the towel, especially with a game against the Angels tomorrow and four against the Rangers next week, it's clear that the Mariners' odds may now be the lowest they've been all season. They have less than half a season to make up a whole bunch of games on two teams that are better than them. It's not impossible, but it's not looking too good.
And it's funny what that does to the mindset. Oh, they don't want to use much Jack Cust? Well all right. They want to give a lot of time to Greg Halman and Carlos Peguero? Fine, sure. I thought it was silly that we saw so much of Peguero while the M's were hanging close, but now that they're drifting away - in part because they played Peguero so often - the priorities begin to shift. Hey, why not see if Peguero can learn? As long as he's here and nobody else emerges, what the hell, right?
I'm still going to scoreboard-watch for at least a little while longer, and most of you will, too. The 2011 M's aren't dead yet. But they're getting close, and it's probably time we all prepare to reacquaint ourselves with the familiar feeling of watching for other reasons. Hey, at least this year we've got a bunch of interesting players to watch. Fuck off, 2008.