I hate pessimism. In the past I've been an addict of it. The ease that comes from assuming the worst, the safety of not allowing in hope has protected me from who knows what emotional trauma. But awhile ago I decided that the crushing emptiness and depression that came from never allowing for anything other than a worst case scenario was a poorer option than having my heart broken. As a result I decided that no matter what the circumstance I could choose to find something positive to glean without compromising reality too much. I try my best to be a detached logic/critical analysis machine but it's simply not how I'm wired. I've come to accept my romantic inclinations.
All that preamble to say it's been over two hours and I've yet to find anything positive to say about this game. It marks the second game where the team had a less than 20% chance of winning the game before the end of the first inning (the Angels Win Expectancy was 90.3% at the end of the 1st today). Brandon Maurer pitched his first major league game in front of his home town friends and family and looked like William Hung would sound covering Queen. The team has been outscored 19-1 the last 2 games and lost 6 straight. The Mariners playoff odds are at a season low 5.2%. This was uncompromisingly depressing.
Kendrys Morales went 3-4 and raised his wRC+ to 129. There you are you sweet, tiny flake of fun.
- April 24th: Following a 10-3 defeat to the Astros Eric Wedge called a team meeting. As always with these kinds of things the sacred nature of the locker room was left unviolated beyond the usual two sentence cliches about "addressing expectations". While outside observers remain skeptical of the merits of these kinds of meetings and acknowledging that correlation does not equal causation the Mariners went 12-6 following the meeting. Now, in the wake of 6 frustrating defeats we get this: A players only meeting is the next step in the Baseball Team Emergency Handbook. The whole handbook is:
1) Manager calls team meeting.
2) Veterans call player's only meeting.
3) Team goes out and gets drunk in attempt to bond.
4) Miguel Cairo starts at 1B.
So we're halfway through the whole process and the season isn't a third over yet. This probably means nothing. Most things mean nothing. But you can be damn sure if the Mariners take the upcoming series from the Rangers we will hear stories about increased focus and effort following this meeting.
- This is a bullet point about Robert Andino. I don't think I've ever thought, mentioned or written about Robert Andino with anything other than passive dismissiveness. That's wildly unfair. Robert Andino gave the world this. And this. Robert Andino married his high school sweetheart and grew up so poor that his high school's secretary paid for his prom. The odds are good that Robert Andino will parlay his versatility into being traded before the deadline for cash or a PTBNL. This may be the only time I write about Robert Andino's time with the Mariners.
Tonight, in the top of the 9th with 2 outs and the bases empty Robert Andino came to bat. Coming into today his .wOBA sat at .226 and he had gone 0-3 with 2 K earlier in the game. Every expectation was another easy out and game over. Instead we got maybe Robert Andino's best at-bat as a Mariner:
Pitch 7. That's the one that stands out. Pitch F/X classifies it as a splitter at 86 MPH. With a 2-2 count that pitch comes out of the pitcher's hand headed for the strike zone before diving. All Andino had to do was swing. No one would have ever thought anything of it. It's just another nothing game for a team that's hardly ever done anything playing half its games in front of maybe ten thousand freezing football/soccer fanatics. Swing and it's over and it's good food and a flight back home and an end to this nightmare of a week. But Andino didn't swing, and he didn't swing at the next pitch either and he drew a walk and went down to first as the game carried on.
I'm really, really frustrated as a fan right now. The last two days the team has looked as bad as a team can look. It feels really good to accuse them of not caring, of lacking fight. But if you're tempted to do that remember this at-bat by Robert Andino. These guys are trying, and they do care. They just might be really bad.