Last year, the Mariners were the best of the very few average teams, iced out of the playoffs by an elite core of 97+ win teams. Nine months and a roughly a dozen trades later, the 2019 Mariners find themselves on the other edge of the cliff. With every team 50-60 games from the finish line, Seattle retains the 6th-worst record in MLB. Their .422 win percentage after today’s victory puts them at pace for a 68-94 campaign. In some years, like 2007 or 2011, that’d be good for a bottom-three finish in MLB. But this year four teams are currently on pace for 100 losses, with the selling Marlins hanging at a 99 loss pace in a division intent on beefing up. This weekend, the most miserable of those cellar-dwellers became Seattle’s feast.
The Tigers are no strangers to awful baseball. Their 2003 campaign was likely the worst modern team ever assembled, and they’re still a ways off that pace at 30-71.
The Tigers need 14 wins to surpass their 2003 AL-worst record of 43-119. Can they do it?— Ashley MacLennan (@90feetfromhome) July 28, 2019
This is not to dig on the Tigers - they had some of the most fearsome teams of the early 2010s, and were a perpetual thorn in the Jack Z era Mariners’ sides. But sometimes in a lousy season it’s helpful for a team tumbling through the topiary like Seattle has to land on a soft patch of grass and see the quicksand they avoided a few feet away.
Today the Tigers threw their best at the M’s. Local kid turned trade target Matthew Boyd was splendid through six innings, stymying Seattle’s only threat with strikeouts of Mallex Smith and J.P. Crawford. Despite a successful opening by Matt Wisler, Seattle trailed 2-0 going into the 7th thanks to some seeing-eye singles off Tommy Milone, who was once again surprisingly competent.
Boyd’s lone foible, despite his 10 K’s, was some shaky command. His game is one of swing-and-miss, but if he’s missing slightly and hitters are able to be patient, he can fill up the bases on his lonesome. Kyle Seager gave Boyd life earlier in the game with an ill-advised swing on a low 3-0 curveball, but with two on in the 7th he hit that same pitch for an RBI double, bouncing Boyd from the game. A semi-healthy Domingo Santana returned to the lineup with authority, clubbing a solo shot an inning later to knot the game at 2-2.
Despite a bullpen that is 25% Matt and 12.5% fresh off the IL Hunter Strickland, Seattle held the line into the 10th. That was enough for a Dylan Moore double and J.P. Crawford parachute operation to walk los Tigres off for the second time in three days. In a series where the Mariners started all three of their catchers at one point and approximately four utility men in another, they earned a 4-0 sweep. Sometimes baseball is a game of the haves and the have-nots, and poor Detroit simply did not have a clue.
It seems the utility corps may be condensing postgame, with Kristopher Negron somehow drawing trade interest, but this will surely not be the only deal before Wednesday’s deadline.
Negron said he couldn't say anything, but he had a big smile and lots of teammates wishing him well. Great guy and a nice utility player who will help somebody's bench. https://t.co/Rn19GaTiZN— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) July 28, 2019
If this is the end of the Mariners tenure for Negrón, Santana, and even a few others well, we’ll all always have this weekend.