The past few weeks have been frustrating for a number of reasons. The reasons seem to always be changing, but there’s always at least one. One night, every flared blooper seems to drop in against a Yovani Gallardo that can’t really afford poor BABIP luck. The next night, this rotation that is as haphazardly thrown together as a Fast and Furious movie finally manages some good innings, but the line drives off Taylor Motter’s bat all start to find gloves. For far too much of the last week, one side of the team or the other seems to just straight up suck.
An easy narrative has been: “look at all of the injuries, and they’re still just three games out of the wild card!” And yes, it is impressive that despite the absence of Robinson Cano for the past nine games, the team has managed to not completely tank (though they are just 3-6 in that time). Still, it’s hard not to think that today shows a lot of why this team just isn’t very good at times. Why it’s so frustrating to root for.
This game started out well enough. Ariel Miranda was perfect through two innings, and Danny Valencia started off the second inning with his second triple of the season, a perfectly laced ball to the right-center gap. Ben Gamel soon followed it up with a sacrifice fly, and the Mariners had a 1-0 lead.
Miranda continued to pitch extremely well, and made it through seven pristine innings. He tied his career high with nine strikeouts, thanks mostly in part to his slider being completely on-point tonight. It generated a ton of misses, and sitting over 10 MPH below a fastball that was sitting around 93 tonight, it was easy to see why. Another source of frustration this season, of course, has been the inconsistency of Miranda and, to a lesser extend, Gallardo. When these outings are so tantalizingly juicy, it’s easy to become bemused by the poor showings. Still, nobody was complaining about the pitching tonight.
Nobody was complaining about the pitching because they were all too busy complaining about the hitting.
Would be sweet if the Danny V triple weren't the only M's hit tonight— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) May 20, 2017
Spoiler alert: the Danny V triple was the only Mariner hit tonight. Jean Segura’s MLB-best hitting streak was snapped. Every Mariner save Guillermo Heredia recorded a strikeout. A Mariners team without Robinson Cano is usually just not going to be good enough, but Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager combining to go 0-for-8 isn’t going to help either. Yeah, Jose Quintana deserves a ton of credit for emaciating the Mariners with some of his best stuff, but this wasn’t anything new.
Taylor Motter was super fun for the first couple weeks of the season, when nothing else was fun. At this point, it’s fairly clear that he shouldn’t be starting every day. To be fair, he won’t be when Cano comes back. Mike Zunino was abysmal, but somehow Tuffy Gosewisch is making him look like Johnny Bench. No, Zunino shouldn’t come back up until he’s had enough time to figure out his swing (again), assuming his development isn’t an unsalvageably steaming dumpster fire at this point. But you gotta believe that there is a catcher out there who can be better than Tuffy.
These guys were the easiest scapegoats, but the lack of hitting tonight was ubiquitous. Jean Segura has done his best to carry the team the last few days, these are the nights when Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz need to make themselves seen if this team wants a legitimate shot at contention.
Aside from Miranda, the only other good news from tonight was a solid outing from Edwin Diaz. Diaz pitched two full innings of relief, and walked nobody while striking out two. The only hits that he gave up were both infield singles. Is he fixed? Probably not, but this was what we all needed to see from him to feel the smallest bit of relief.
This season has been frustrating. Tonight was frustrating. Did you know that the Rangers are now on a ten game winning streak?
It doesn’t really feel like it, but the team actually has a chance to win the series tomorrow, with staff-ace-by-default Yovani Gallardo taking the mound.