If the Mariners were smart, they would have won last night's baseball game.
I mean, let's be honest--if they were really smart, they would win every single game they ever played. But that's not the point here. The point is that the Seattle Mariners are on a six game losing streak, a streak that includes a three-game sweep by the Yankees, closer meltdowns, and a general sense of terrifying ineptitude made flesh in every swung bat that misses contact with a baseball. To rectify this, they pulled the trigger on a panic trade that looked to right the ship. And the result? Not a win, not a corner turned, not even a horrifying mess....just a simple loss that plagues every single team in the league from time to time. One big, fat, meh that seems to be more and more the dominant metaphor for this season whether we want it to or not.
And that's why last night's 2-1 loss to the Rays was so obnoxious. The Mariners have done a hell of a job this year finding new ways to lose ballgames, but instead of further exploring that great unknown, they just kind of...lost. Erasmo Ramirez pitched five innings and struck out the same number of hitters, which could be a sign of the M's recent offensive struggles but is also just kind of what he is capable of doing from time to time. On the other side? Elias lasted eight with six K's. Except he just happened to allow one more run. Whoops.
Some frustrating shit, there. I mean on one hand, we had some happy yay nice things to look at. There was Mark Trumbo making his Mariner debut and immediately doing this in his first at bat:
He ended the day 2-4 without a single home run, which as I was lead to believe, was supposed to be all he was able to do. Then again, maybe both of those hits would have been home runs in any other uniform, pulled back down to Earth with the Dinger Tax the Mariners have yet to learn how to get out of paying. Maybe get a better accountant next year, you jerks.
But really, I mean...this is just another example of why last night was so frustrating. I can't count how many times this year the Mariners have had three or so hits in one game, all from the bottom third of the order in a single inning which represented the only threat in the entire ballgame. But last night, Austin Jackson checked in with two hits. Cano did as well. Kyle Seager hit a double, Trumbo had his aforementioned two, and Seth Smith had a 2B himself. And Brad Miller and Dustin Ackley each had one to round out the lineup. There were ten hits in all, and while you could certainly argue that the resulting single run is indicative of a larger structural problem of knowing what to do with runners on base, it was also just kind of...a thing that happens in baseball games.
But it's also frustrating because last night's lineup--in theory--should be one of the best lineups in the entire league.
The Mariners in today's lineup have an average career wRC+ of 108. That would be tied for second in the AL right now, behind only Toronto.— Logan Davis (@login_davis) June 4, 2015
That they concluded the day with ten hits and a single run might seem like progress for a club that has had so much trouble even getting to first base, but the reality is that this could have been more like 2001 than 2010, and I'm not talking about the movies or the books. This could mean better times are around the corner, or that we are in for more puzzling baseball that leaves us all shrugging our shoulders and scratching our heads. I honestly don't know which it will be.
Elias ran into trouble in the fourth after he hit Logan Forsythe to put two on with a single out. Resident perfect-baseball-name-person Steven Souza Jr. then scored the first run with an RBI single up the middle, and the Rays got their second run on what could have been a double play to keep it at one, but ended up with only a force out at second. But they got out of it a second later with an overturned steal at second that would have been real nice to had occurred a moment earlier. And such is the life of this team--you'll get a call in your favor from time to time, just not at a moment when it actually helps you win a ballgame.
The Mariners ended up getting their only run in during the fifth inning, when Ack and Jackson hit back to back singles before Cano batted one in with a single that reminded you of the way he used to hit doubles last year, except now you're just happy he can get to first at all. Not for long though--because he was picked off a moment later when Erasmo caught him staring off into the distance as he is now apparently prone to do out there. Then, blanks to end the night.
All in all, a really frustrating mess of a game that gave us just about nothing interesting to see and still managed to last nearly three hours. The M's didn't put up too much of a fight against Erasmo, but then again we all know he is actually capable of putting together a decent game from time to time. Elias managed to go through the Rays lineup three times with limited damage, but was left out to dry by a poorly-timed offensive effort. I don't know. Literally, I don't know what else to say.
And after a #bloickbuster trade like the one we had on Wednesday, you really have to wish that something would happen to give you a clue as to the direction this team is headed in. A simple win could have made you feel a little better about the future, giving you confidence that while Trumbo may not be the answer he could be a door opened down the correct hallway. A blowout, morale crushing loss would not have been fun to watch in the least, but it would have at least been indicative of larger, structural problems surrounding this franchise that cannot be fixed simply by shipping away a potentially great reliever in a moment of identity crisis.
Instead? Just a bloop here and a blop there and a loss much in the same way that every team experiences at least 60 times every season. We should be glad it wasn't a total disaster, but we also know just about exactly the same things about this team that we did on Thursday morning. And such is our lot in life--these guys never reach the playoffs, and they never spontaneously combust, tumbling back to the sea wearing fire like that scarlet symbol of shame and sorrow
Instead, they just kind of...float. There. Down the river. Head turned to the sky so as not to drown in the process. Don't like how that sounds? Just listen to Lloyd, I mean, this isn't just me:
Leaves you scratching your head. Yeah, I know. Me too.
What we do know is that this team is capable of more than a shrug of a loss left up to fate. What we don't is if they are actually going to do anything about it in the process. Hopefully we find out one of these days, perhaps, starting with tonight. Goms.