By Jim Moore
How many times over the last several years have we been able to call the Mariners the hottest team in baseball?
Not many. In fact, until now, I can’t recall a single time. So throughout this column, I’ll call them that. They’re 9-1 over their last 10 games. The next-closest team is Tampa Bay at 8-2.
I woke up this morning and the first thing I did after petting the Go 2 Pup was check the standings. At 49-53, the hottest team in baseball is 7.5 games behind the Orioles in the wild-card race. Baltimore has been cooperating beautifully of late, losing three in a row. And now the Orioles open a three-game series against the Red Sox that will surely result in one loss, hopefully two and maybe even three.
I’m also watching the Rangers. At 56-46, they’re half a game behind the 57-46 Orioles. They play in Cleveland tonight, and the good news is that the pitching matchup favors the Indians.
I’m guessing that when we all wake up tomorrow morning, the hottest team in baseball will be 6.5 behind the Orioles after Felix beats the Joe Mauer-less Twins tonight.
If you like what you’ve seen from the the hottest team in baseball the last two weeks, you’ve got to hope that they sweep the Twins or at least go 3-1 in the series. If they don’t and return to their so-so ways, that will leave them more apt to be sellers at the trading deadline.
That deadline is July 31, this coming Wednesday. I don’t want the hottest team in baseball to be sellers. I’d love to see them as buyers. Worst case, I hope they stand pat, and general Jack Zduriencik has indicated that’s the case.
Wouldn’t you like to see this thing played out? Granted, the hottest team in baseball is a longshot, but I’ve been to Emerald Downs, and trust me, longshots come in once in awhile, and it always happens when I’ve bet on another horse.
I don’t want to see Raul Ibanez leave town for a prospect that might help the big-league team in 2015. Same holds true for Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales and Oliver Perez. Jack Z.’s track record of deals made at the trading deadline is less than stellar, too.
In some respects, Morse will be like a new acquisition when he returns to the team this weekend or certainly for the team’s trip to Boston and Baltimore next week.
The hottest team in baseball has already turned explosive this month, averaging more than six runs a game. Imagine what that lineup will be like with a healthy Morse, who smacked 11 home runs in the first month and half of the season but hasn’t had one since.
If that means Jason Bay’s a goner, oh well. Franklin Gutierrez will also return in the next week or so, and what should the hottest team in baseball do then? Designate Envy Chavez for assignment? Not so sure if they’d want to release a savvy veteran who’s a nice defensive replacement in the later innings.
These are good problems to have. I’d rather be talking about personnel moves within the team than those that involve Ibanez leaving and some kid we’ve never heard of heading to play for the Jackson Generals.
Let’s stay the course with the hottest team in baseball.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.