I suppose one way to do this would be to simply nod your head, cross your arms, and think job well done, boys. But that's the problem with an emotional encounter with things like seven-game losing streaks, especially when certain seven-game losing streaks have the opportunity to sink the entire season as well as send the boys upstairs into a hissy fit before trading for Carlos Pegueros and Willy Mo Peñas. Because when you're smack dab in the middle of that situation, you can look at a very typical Felix Hernandez line like
and still check to see if the sky is coming apart in chunks and falling down on top of your head like the Sistine Chapel in some doomsday blockbuster that has yet to be made. That's because this team has conditioned us to that bleak nothingness over the years, and while I know many have taken solace in the fact that every five days we can see a performance like the one above, it's starting to get to that point where you have to worry how much longer we'll even get that. I mean, someone suggested trading Felix again in the response to Friday's pathetic pile of digested spaghetti noodles sent back through the other end. And right now you aren't thinking about how gross that metaphor is, you're thinking what trade Felix are you kidding me?
Boy, you'd think the Mariners lost last night with an opening like that. But just for the hell of it, let's take a look at this game from the same cracked boat we've been sitting in for the past week, simply because I believe if you're gonna do that when it's bad then you had better not jump ship to the nicer raft downstream and pretend you had been there all along. Let's see, we had
Mariners hitters going 2-9 with runners in scoring position.
Three walks from Felix in what might appear to be a growing problem for the King.
Cano, Seager, and Trumbo combining for zero hits and a single walk, in what should be a trio with a 4.000 slugging percentage like, every day.
Willie Bloomquist manning short on a team with playoff aspirations.
Mike Zunino striking out on three 92-mph fastballs right in the middle of the plate.
These all sound like the familiar narratives we churn out when things aren't going so well, and really they are all indicative of the structural problems surrounding this franchise as 2015 gets off to a much different start than just about everyone except for maybe Dave Cameron had expected. There is the problem of hitting runners in after they reach base. Pitching regressing to something or other, maybe not a mean, but something that is damn mean in the process. Great hitters coming to Safeco and being turned into Jello sculptures with baseball bats hanging out of the sides. A reliance on shitty veterans while rushed prospects continue to show struggles which may never be fixed.
I mean, hell, don't get me wrong. This team has done a lot of dumb shit over the past couple of months, and we should by no means shut our eyes and plug our ears with a blissful smile in the process. But while the Mariners certainly have failed to live up to preseason expectations, I've often wondered exactly what it would feel like when they do something...well...unexpected in the other direction. When they play like the good team they were supposed to be, when their ace pitcher throws out a line like the one listed up there at the top of this article and your response isn't HOLY SHIT but rather oh, yeah he does that.
Last night's game, LLBBQ aside, was probably the most fun I've had watching this team all season long, and that's not just because I had been beering since the afternoon at a Red Sox game. No, that's because last night the Mariners showed what could happen when part of their lineup continues to show struggles (Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Mark Trumbo) but are picked up by another part of the lineup (Nelson Cruz, Austin Jackson, Logan Morrison), because that's what good baseball teams do.
See, this is what it was supposed to be like all along. We've been talking about how dangerous this lineup could be, 1-9, but with hot streaks and cold streaks the point should be that at least four out of nine will be delivering. And that they did last night. But what about those bulletpoints? You can't find happiness that easily, Mariner fan!
Yes, 2-9 with RISP, but the reality is that that number could have been zero oh so many times and you know it.
Three walks from Felix? Well, yes, it seems like he's been walking batters more these days, but he's also shifting his game to suit his aging curve, allowing runners to reach first so he can get a quick double play or pitching to contact so he doesn't tax his arm, please, please god keep that shit in bubble wrap (and send some to Guti while you're at it).
Cruz, Jackson, Morrison, Smith saving the day.
Willie? Ha. Barring injuries, it seems safe to say he'll will be off this roster by the trade deadline.
All in all a good day with a slow start, then a quick turn, and finally a productive offense that strung together a series of hits to give Felix a run during the fourth. Unfortunately, he ran into a bit of trouble in the sixth after Kevin Kiermaier tripled and then scored on a wild pitch that bounced in front of the plate and oddly rolled to the backstop behind what is usually a stone fortress behind the dish.
And rather than let that sink the day--heading into extras where we alllllllll know who we'd have to see--Austin Jackson put a baseball here
wait, shit, no this is strange what the hell is this it landed here
Now sure, the problem with optimism for this damn team is that once Jackson stole the lead back in the seventh, you knew exactly what was going to happen there in the bottom of the ninth. Lloyd was going to send His Guy out, because Carson Smith is too young to handle closing duties. The kid has certainly shown his share of good stuff from time to time, but he has yet to actually prove he can handle the wait what
Today it's Montgomery on the mound and for once I think we have more to look forward to than what's behind. So in lieu of any more negative energy, I say,