It's not like the job was Erasmo's to lose. No. Any sensible person would realize the pending rotation for the Seattle Mariners currently sits at Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, and one of Taijuan Walker or Roenis Elias. That Erasmo is still mentioned in these sentences is simply as insurance for the possible alien abduction of Walker, or Happ's arm falling off after trying out too many of these new changeups. His start today wasn't to get a better look at a pitcher whose been with the organization for eight years, it was to bide time before trying to sneak him through the waiver wire.
And it's really a bummer, too, because Erasmo's biggest problem has always been that he was on a team with some of the best pitchers in the universe--good enough to survive sending Hector Noesi to the dogs but still too much of a project to entrust with any future responsibility beyond filling a line of ink on an accountant's spreadsheet. Erasmo has come a long way since his Class A days, if only that he's no longer an acne-scarred teenager obsessed with his own reflection--he can now easily fill out the back end of a less-crowded rotation, showing up every five days with a solid work ethic and an ability to locate the strike zone, if not too often. Hell, he would probably be the best pitcher on the Rangers, all things considered. But Erasmo is not on the Rangers. He's on the Mariners, at least for a few more days.
Today it was--literally--a microcosm of every Erasmo Ramirez memory you have locked away in your brain. There was the first inning, where he notched an easy flyout off the bat of Kole Calhoun, a big-boy strikeout of the terrifying Mike Trout, and an easy forced pop-up off the bat of Albert Pujols, one of the best hitters of all time now slowly rolling down the hill of obsolescence with every at bat like this one.
Then, the second. It should have been an easy out, with Matt Joyce dribbling a grounder right into the shift toward an awaiting Willie Bloomquist. But instead, it was a bobbled ball from a confused 37-year old "shortstop," and then it was a double and another double and a single and a single and suddenly it was 4-0, Angels.
It's not like this inning lost anything tangible for our short little right hander, but in a way you have to feel kind of awful. It was likely the last inning pitched for the Mariners where at least he held onto some notion of relevance, and the whole meltdown was prefaced by an error from a bench player who isn't expected to get any meaningful starts at that position in any way shape or form this season. Erasmo is going to end up somewhere in a couple weeks, and it will be the better for everyone involved. I for one am just a little disappointed he couldn't have gone out on his own terms.
The rest of the game was akin to a bloated corpse floating in the swimming pool, because let's be honest, no one really cared by this point, and you'd rather just let it disappear than get your hands dirty trying to fish it out. Robinson Cano and Hisashi Iwakuma were getting in reps in a AAA game across the city, and by this point in the Spring, it's more about getting a consistent workout than it is operating within any particular mode of efficiency.
As you may have heard, the Mariners didn't finish the day with more than two hits, and didn't even get their first until the fifth inning. The good news, however, is that hit was a double from Mike Zunino! This is very good and encouraging, and honestly kind of wipes away all the other words I just typed because it actually matters. And before you stop me and say well yeah was there anything even aesthetically pleasing during this whole shitshow I'll direct your attention toward this other meaningful thing that happened today:
Not the best day under the sun, but as you can see there are always a few gems from a team that should actually be good this year, including an encouraging two-strikeout appearance from Charlie Furbush. Tomorrow it's back to Peoria to get another look at J.A. Happ against the Padres, and while I'm eager to see what the new M's lefty has in store for us, I have to pause to admit that I'm going to miss looking through the photo tool after Erasmo starts to find duplicate versions of that photo up above, sweat glistening from his brow as he nervously wipes away whatever double or triple he just gave up like he had any control over it in the first place.
Whatever ends up happening is going to be the best for the guy. But you know, I'm just not ready for this whole thing where we actually get to choose the good players over the not as good players. I'm not sure I ever will be.