Losing patience, hope in the hapless Mariners
By Jim Moore
Like you, I root for the Mariners. I watch or listen to almost every game. I keep hoping they’ll improve.
But it’s getting tougher. I used to look for flashes of brilliance and signs of life. I’ve switched from plural to singular. At this point, I’ll take a FLASH of brilliance and a SIGN of life.
We’re told that it’s a young team and that growing pains are expected. It’s all part of the process.
If that’s the case, it’s a sloooooooooow process. It’s Jesus Montero slow. I’m not so sure if I buy that explanation anymore. Could it be that the players just aren’t very good now and never will be? Heaven forbid, but that is a possibility, isn’t it?
Why is it that the Red Sox call up guys from Triple-A Pawtucket, and they don’t have any problems adjusting to the big leagues right away? Why is it that the Mariners prospects from Tacoma always do? Why can’t we just one time have a guy who comes up from Tacoma and starts smacking the ball all over Safeco Field? Gawd, it’s maddening.
No Mariner is struggling more offensively than Brendan Ryan, whose terrific defense is offset by his .140 batting average. (AP)
I got a kick out of Calabro when he said he pictured the Mariners having their way with Josh Beckett in Tuesday’s game. Since when do the Mariners have their way with any pitcher, regardless of whatever factors you want to consider?
Since Beckett gave up eight runs to the Indians in his last start, Calabro thought he might be ripe for the pickin’. But you know what happened — Beckett looked all-world against the punchless M’s, who struck out nine times and managed only four hits.
Yet the Mariners, according to Geoff Baker’s story in The Seattle Times, are somehow encouraged because they hit the ball “hard” in the game but just had the misfortune of having those balls go right at the Red Sox. I guess the thinking is that if they keep hitting the ball “hard,” they’ll get results eventually, and we’ll start seeing a powerhouse that will put crooked numbers on the board.
I want to believe. I don’t want to be the perennial Mariners skeptic that I am now. I don’t want to go into every game thinking: “I wonder how they’ll lose today.”
But until they consistently show me something different, that’s the way I’ll feel. Like tonight — the Mariners are slight favorites to beat the Indians because Felix Hernandez is pitching. You like to think that he’ll throw eight innings of shutout ball and strike out 12 batters like he did the last time he faced the Indians on April 19 at Safeco Field.
But as you’ll recall, Brandon League blew the save and the game that night as the Tribe rallied for a 2-1 victory. Tonight, Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching for Cleveland. In his last start, he gave up seven runs. His ERA is 5.18. But as much as you’d like to think that Jimenez is vulnerable, he’ll probably be unhittable tonight.
Based on what I THINK will happen not what I HOPE will happen, here is the type of story we’ll be reading later this evening on name-your-favorite-Mariners website:
CLEVELAND — Felix Hernandez bounced back from a subpar outing at Yankee Stadium to throw a two-hitter, but it wasn’t enough as the Indians shut out the Mariners 1-0.
Rocked in his previous start, Ubaldo Jimenez limited the feeble Mariners to three hits as Eric Wedge’s team fell to 1-5 on their 10-game road trip. The Mariners have now lost 11 of their last 12 games away from Safeco Field and have been outscored 26-11 on this trip.
For the umpteenth time in his career, Hernandez got no support from his offense, yada, yada, yada …
I watched Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to the Red Sox at the Roanoke Inn on Mercer Island. Love that place, looking forward to taking my daughter there for lunch now that she’s 21. Anyway, I walk in, and on one screen there was a soccer game and on another, I noticed Shelley Smith from ESPN talking about the Raiders. I had to ask the bartender to turn on the Mariners game. That’s apparently what it’s come to — a local bar doesn’t even have the game on.
I left after the top of the eighth, thinking I’d rather watch Smith talking about the Raiders, a team I don’t care about, knowing that there was no way in hell the Mariners would rally in the ninth. I took Willie, the greatest golden retriever ever, for a swim instead.
I don’t want the Mariners to be irrelevant. I don’t want them to be boring. I love Brendan Ryan, but I don’t want a guy who’s hitting .140 on my team anymore, even if he is a terrific shortstop. I don’t want Figgy on my team anymore, either.
I haven’t given up on Justin Smoak. I love what I’ve seen from Kyle Seager and Montero. Even if it figures to be a short-term development, I love the developing cult-hero status of the clutch-hitting John Jaso. And I’m still pulling like mad for Michael Saunders, hoping his swing changes will work, though his average of .226 suggests that they won’t.
In the bullpen, I still love to root for former bartender Tom Wilhelmsen. And Lucas Luetge is a small-town kid who’s having big-league success so far.
Gimme some more glimpses of greatness, or goodness at least. Gimme Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and/or James Paxton, and stop it already with needing an extra year of club control with their contracts or whatever that crap is — I’d like to see them now.
If they take some lumps, so what? The team’s not going anywhere this year anyway. You tell me that Walker’s starting against the Rangers next week, and I’m front and center, wanting to see how the kid handles the spotlight. Oh wait, I’m sorry, that’s too much to ask of a 19-year-old. We have to wait until he’s “ready,” but why is it that it always seems like some of these prospects are coddled ’til the cows come home?
Seamheads and other baseball experts would shoot holes in everything I’ve just written, and justifiably so. I’m writing from a fan’s perspective, my own perspective, based on frustration from watching this team on a daily basis.
You just reach a point of not being able to take it anymore.