It's been four years since Felix Hernandez was perfect. Four years since that day on the mound we all remember. Since the pose. It hasn't happened since. What has happened since, in the broader scheme of the Seattle Mariners, is well, a lot leading to a little. The team still hasn't tasted the postseason, has gone through two managers since that afternoon, a new GM and front office, and managed one winning season in the three full-seasons since that day. They flirted with us in 2014, broke our hearts in 2015. But here, in 2016, is where we are:
There isn't really much to say about the current state of affairs. With six weeks left, the mantra essentially switches to "Just Win, Baby." The Seattle Mariners have obliged. But let's forget the broader scheme of things to focus solely on what could happen this week. Between now and next Monday, the M's will play four games against the Angels and three, back at home, against the Brewers. It's about as soft a schedule as you could hope for, and with Felix and Paxton (likely) opening the series against LAA, you have to believe in the M's making some serious hay in the Califonia sun. This weekend, at Safeco Field, looks to be an absolute riot, with the Mariners likely closer to a playoff spot than today.
Why would I believe that? Well, it's simple logic. In the same period that the M's will face LAA and MIL, the Red Sox will play Cleveland, Baltimore, and Detroit. The Tigers will face the Royals to open the week, and the Orioles will face the Astros after their time with the Red Sox. It just makes sense that the Mariners could end this week in better position than they currently lie. The Mariners have seven games against basement-quality talent to make their move while the other teams in the hunt beat up on each other.
Take a deep breath, it's mid August, the heat is here in Seattle, and Safeco is four days away from being absolutely on fire. There will be "Shawn O-Mall-Ey" chants, curtain calls for Dae-Ho Lee, Edwin Diaz's flame arm, the long ball of Nelson Cruz and Robbie Cano, Kyle Seager backhanded picks down the line. There will be light and fire and tension and tears. This is what the playoff hunt feels like. You just might remember. I hope I'll see you there.
Four years ago Felix was perfect. Tonight he can just be good.