As I continue my life long streak of consecutive days growing older I have started to realize that how you feel about your place in life has less to do with your location and more about where you're pointed. The Mariners record coming into today was 83-75. I imagine greater than 90% of Mariner fans in April would have been at least satisfied with that record after 158 games.
But 83-75 doesn't tell you about yesterday, or the day before, or the day before, or the day before, or the day before. We're ok with 83-75 until you're told wait they were just 83-70 last week, and that a few weeks ago they were a clutch hit against the Houston Astros from being 80-64. A last weekend scoreboard watching with a chance for the playoffs is a dream come true until you place it in context of where this team, however improbably, was over the last 3-4 weeks.
I've referred in the past to accepting the Mariners failure as a rut, and that's really what it feels like. Every year it's easier and easier to fall into the emotional place that experiences failure and just shrugs. "Mariners" we say and even though the failure sucks there's an odd comfort to the familiarity of it.
So today's game, the last in as ridiculous a September road trip I can imagine a team having (no days off, 3 time zone, 1 early getaway game. Screw you schedule maker) served as a jolt of energy. The Mariners' playoff hopes could have ended today and they didn't. There is an intoxicating rush from dancing one microscopic shuffle ahead of death. The Mariners are only slightly, almost to the point of incidentally, in a better position than they were at the beginning of the day. But the altimeter shows elevation gain, the nose is no longer pointing down, and someone finally grabbed a damn hose and put out the fires. Tomorrow the sun rises, at least one more time.
Logan Morrison July 27th (h/t Andrew): .201/.258/.359. Since (not counting today): .308/.359/.468. That second half-ish slash line is not without precedent. Remember as a 22 year old Morrison OPS'd .837 in the cavernous Joe Murphy Stadium in a half season's worth of PA. He will never be a plus defender anywhere. But he's somewhere between a Morales and a Smoak at 1B, has little to weird in the way of platoon splits and in the last 30 days has shown a predilection for the kind of home runs that leave a memory. Tonight he had two, of which MLB will only allow a link to the 2nd. (EDIT: Here's the first)
There are many, many better first base options for the Mariners going into 2015. There are very, very few of those that are actually attainable. Logan Morrison in the 2nd half has done 2 things: He's shut up, and he's hit. If he can continue to do both of those there's no reason he's not a serviceable part of this team next year.
- Yoervis Medina pitched. He sucked.
- Eight other pitchers pitched, most of whom did ok to great. Carson Smith in particular continued to look like what we all hoped Carter Capps would be. Smith has now thrown 7.2 IP and struck out 9 without allowing a run. In fact I don't even remember anyone hitting the ball hard off him. That's partially due to his ground ball rate being 80%, which ain't bad. If the unspeakable happens and the Mariners play beyond game 162 Carson Smith sure as hell better be there, and if needed he sure as hell better pitch.
- I didn't realize until today's game was over how happy I am that the team wasn't eliminated on the road. Due to myriad factors I doubt that all that many people will turn out for the next 3 games, unless stuff gets really crazy. But those that are there will be the ones that care the most and are best equipped to express to this team the thanks they've earned. This month has been terrible but a terrible September is not even a thing that exists without a damn fine rest of the season. Even if it's just a finale and a few curtain calls this team deserves whatever thanks Seattle can give. For now let's cling to the fact that we're still alive.