Fresh off a long three day weekend, at a point when a vast majority of people will put their Mariner fandom in mothballs and everything feels a bit, well, tired. I am tired, the team is playing tired, the season is long and there's just enough left for it to still feel like a lot.
We aren't used to this. Perhaps appropriately, as the Mariners have for years played like a minor league team, our ability to intake baseball often ends in late Aug/early Sept, right along with the AAA season. This the time of year when everything changes. School starts, weather crispens and baseball gives way to football.
The team is playing like it's tired, most noticeably the starting rotation, which has finally sprung a leak in what was for 4 months an inexplicable, iron-hulled colossus. The offense and the defense haven't helped much either the past week. In fact only Dustin Ackley's play has been noteworthy in recent days, and he had the 1st half of the season off.
This is the Runner's Wall and the Mariners are currently sliding slowly down it after smacking into it with their head turned. They've run 22 miles. There's only 4.2 to go but when lungs are fire and legs jelly even one more step can feel impossible.
This week is going to determine so much. In one week 27% of the Mariners remaining schedule will be over. They will have 19 games left. Tonight it's James Paxton versus Sonny Gray, another in what feels like a recent trend of pitching matchups that don't favor the Mariners. But remember that the even the A's, who felt invincible for much of the year, aren't even in 1st anymore and recently were called pathetic Bob Melvin, and Bob Melvin used to manage the Mariners so you know he knows pathetic.
I think the biggest thing I've taken from this team this year is that they don't give one flying crap about my readiness to write them off. There have been at least 5 times this year where I assumed they were done. Every single time they have ended up fighting back to continue prove that they are what they are: An above average to at times pretty damn good baseball team. A team intent on finishing this race at pace, head up pushing for every second at the finish
Let's hope tonight is the start of that final push.
- Mariners @ Athletics, 7:05 PST
- TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 ESPN, Online: MLB.TV
|Austin Jackson - CF
|Craig Gentry - CF
|Dustin Ackley - LF
|Jed Lowrie - SS
|Robinson Cano - 2B
|Josh Donaldson - 3B
|Kyle Seager - 3B
|Jonny Gomes - LF
|Kendrys Morales - DH
|Derek Norris - DH
|Logan Morrison - 1B
|Nate Freiman - 1B
|Endy Chavez - RF
|Geovany Soto - C
|Brad Miller - SS
|Josh Reddick - RF
|Jesus Sucre - C
|Alberto Callaspo - 2B