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Oakland Athletics and their two runs defeat the Seattle Mariners and their none

Felix was able to mostly hold on, but the A's only needed two runs to beat the M's on Saturday.

selfish jerk scoring even when he was asked NOT to
selfish jerk scoring even when he was asked NOT to
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Well the thing you can't fault them for is consistency.

I know, I know, that sentence makes little sense. But hear me out for a second. Ask yourself: do you really want consistency? Is that why you watch sports? I mean, I get it, consistency feels good and if you do it the right way you get to wear pinstripes in any city or have a proxy twitter account made in your honor. But everyone else thinks you're an asshole. Consistency the other way around? Well, it seems fair to guess nobody is buying Rubén Amaro dinner any time soon.

Not in Marinerdom. No where there was once consistency (the seven-game losing streak giving way to a remarkable June, consistency over .500, and winning streaks like three-leaf clovers) there is now nothing but ups and downs. Promises and failures. Every time the Mariners put together an offensive onslaught of eight, nine runs you think hey, maybe it will finally start turning around!

Except what almost always precedes it is an oedipal return to the very mediocrity that shat upon this blessed season in the first place

And so it goes. Pathetic, bumbling excuse for an offense getting shut out. A surprising, productive performance behind four dingers and grind-out at-bats that look like a springboard for something beautiful. Then a 2-0 stinker where you hand your All Star starter his first Oakland loss in seven years. And today? Well who knows.

Consistency seems like a foreign concept in this dugout. The worst part about that sentence is that I'm actually referring to both kinds of consistency--the Astros had their fair share of pathetic consistency over the years and now...well, you know. The Phillies are mired in a ocean of it, and if you take ownership out of the picture you have to at least think the page is going to turn someday.

Instead we get Felix's worst career outing and then a return to form. A lights-out collection of strikeouts and later a 10-hit performance that saw him struggling early, forcing him to pitch to contact by the third inning in order to limit the damage done by an A's club that is if not built to take over the lead of the AL West, finally able to take Felix down a notch. Maybe that's what Beane's offseason was all about.

No, yesterday we had a run from Oakland in the first after they opened the game with a single and a walk to Billy Burns and Stephen Vogt respectively. There was some creative fielding to escape the inning, but then Felix had the bases loaded with no outs about five minutes into the second. That he was able to last five more innings while only giving up one more run might seem like one kind of consistency, but winning baseball games is a two way street and Felix is driving a dump truck in the wrong lane without power steering right now, also it's going downhill and there is snow.

The Mariners were blanked all day, which when you think of it is kind of consistency but frustrating, damned frustrating because you know this stupid lineup can actually hit. After Austin Jackson doubled in the first and was joined on the bases by Cano, he tried to take third but was thrown out only seconds before Cruz struck out to end the inning. Running again, in the first. With Nelson Cruz at the plate. I'm beginning to doubt my consistency lede up there.

After that the Mariners stayed off bases until a harmless single by Mark Trumbo in the fifth. If looked as if they would finally put something together in the seventh after A's starter Kendall Graveman put Cano and Cruz on with back-to-back singles, but I'll give you two guesses as to how that inning played out. All that was left was to have Kyle Seager draw a walk in the last at-bat of the game to bring the tying run to the plate in Seth Smith, fresh off a monster dinger only the night before. But you can't hit em out every time, even though Mike Piazza's Strike Zone argues otherwise. Consistency or not, one way or the other.

The good news is that yes, Felix still struck out six and was more than handing the rest of the Mariners a chance to leave Oakland with a shot at a series W. Rule 5 pick David Rollins made his major league debut and treated us to a perfect 8th inning, flashing that stuff that was so enticing in Spring Training which thankfully, might be a well-needed shot in the arm right now. He was eventually able to bump it up to 94, which is great news considering he only threw seven innings in Tacoma before joining the rotation. Here's the first batter of his career, which resulted in a called strike just out of the zone:


Teamed up with a couple of pitch framers, and we could have a pretty deadly weapon out of the pen if this season is going to turn into anything here pretty soon.

But alas, Gertrude, a loss is a loss is a loss is a loss, and while the Mariners aren't exactly mired in something like a 17-game losing streak, they are doing something even more frustrating. Contention from here on out would be the result of some crazy-ass luck, but one could argue that this club needs consistency, and it needs consistency bad.

It needs consistency in smart at-bats, consistency in seven-plus-innings from its starters, and consistency in the 'W' column. And if it can't get that, it frankly might be time for consistency in the other direction, consistency which will keep Jack Z from shipping off more useful pieces in a panic move, consistency that will look at the core of this club and realize that it's actually in pretty good shape--that a "rebuild" could very well only take one offseason as a returning club looks to rebound from a remarkably strange season with a pretty damn talented core.

This back and forth and back and forth thing is really what makes this so obnoxious. The club is dancing on a highwire, playing the circus for gasps of "Will he?" or "Won't he?" as they lean above the lion's pit so far below. And what makes it worse is that tiny glint of optimism could very well be exactly the thing obfuscating the reality of this season. That's because these 37 wins seem like just enough to push them to the safety of the next pole, but when you step back for a minute, what you're really looking at, over a greater period of time, is something altogether very different:


So I take it back. What we have here is a brand new kind of consistency. A consistency that demands a view from above, pulled away from the ins and outs of 9-run outbursts and two-hit followups. A consistency that could very well be broken if the rest of July, August, and September decide to do something different, run a different course, break up the constant downward motion of that big red line that leads directly into the sad face of that little guy in the corner.

Perhaps what we need is something different altogether. So as the Mariners look to take on the A's to split the series today, I will be hoping for exactly the opposite of consistency. Something that makes the first half of this season lead straight to that frowny face but then takes an inconsistent turn upwards into something which we can't even draw because we don't know what it looks like. I have no idea of it's going to happen, but it will, one way or the other.