Let's not mince words folks, the Seattle Mariners are enjoying the dog days of summer with a head-first slide towards irrelevance. Call it a total lack of offensive production, a period without rest, running out of gas, or simply having to face three of the AL's best arms over the past few days, but the M's are slowly allowing their harvest go to rot. Sure, it's the Dog Days for them and us. For all of us. But September is coming closer and closer, and with it the stern, cold night-wind of October and the playoff cheers. It's time to decide whether your October is going to be long sleeves and hustle-doubles or short sleeves and Hawaiian bubbles. The Mariners opened their series with the AL West leading Texas Rangers by losing 6-3.
Honestly, the game was never really even close, despite the two teams starting the game 0-0. To open scoring, Carlos Beltran took Hisashi Iwakuma to the second-deck in right field for a solo shot in the bottom of the first and Texas never looked back. Kuma never had the stuff tonight, and was ultimately doomed by a third inning in which he allowed four earned runs through a sequence that went single-triple-double-double-out-out-single. He'd ultimately leave the game after closing the book on his third inning, allowing five earned while striking out two and walking one. The six hits in just three full innings.
Down 5-1 to end the top of the 4th, Pat Venditte was called upon to make his Mariners debut and performed just about as well as you could ask the man to. Switch pitching is a concept I could spend three-thousand words on, mostly just marveling, so I will spare that diatribe by saying, the dude looked very sharp from both sides of the mound. The slider had a ton of bite, and his three full innings of one-run ball (unearned thanks to a Kyle Seager throwing error) were just the sort of impression he would be hoping to make with his new team. He single-handedly allowed the M's a chance to climb back into the game.
Yes, having scored two already thanks to a Franklin Gutierrez double down the left field line to inch closer towards the Rangers at 6-3, Nelson Cruz stepped to the plate with two runners on and two outs. The game was right there for the M's, during the top of the seventh. They had managed a way, despite being down early 5-0, to get a chance to come back into the game. Facing Chief Sealth product Keone Kela, Nellie struck out, clearly in pain.
The M's wouldn't threaten again, but thanks to Leonys Martin catching wings on a deep fly from Ian Desmond, would still entertain. Thirteen strikeouts by the offense, including four by Mike Zunino, three from Leonys, and two by Nellie, is rarely going to get it done. For his part, Darvish was electric tonight and the M's have seen far too many ace arms in their recent run. That's gonna end, but not tomorrow when Cole Hamels throws against James Paxton.
We're almost through the Dog Days. Three games back of the Wildcard. The horses are coming. It is, undoubtedly, time to ride or die. So you better run.