Moore: It’s great the Mariners are 13-8, but the last 6 games were no fun
Last Thursday most of us were shocked at the Mariners’ 12-2 start, and then it got even better and more improbable when they rallied for a four-game sweep of the Royals to improve to 13-2.
I (mistakenly) started to think that this could be a sports story for the ages, a team that was supposed to be taking a step back taking a giant leap forward instead. I thought they’d be lucky to win 75 games, and here they were, looking like a 90-win team at least and maybe a 100-win team at most. I wondered if the fast start would change GM Jerry Dipoto’s thinking when it came to trading veterans or retaining them for a crazy run at the AL West title.
Six consecutive losses later, I have to laugh for being so unrealistically optimistic, another example of the saying, “There’s no fool like an old fool.”
Here’s what I think we watched during the 0-6 homestand against the Astros and Indians – a team that’s not that bad. Then again, in the first 15 games, we watched a team that wasn’t that good. They’re somewhere in between. Can we agree on that?
And somewhere in between is what most of the preseason expectations were before we got carried away with the Mariners’ explosive bats, apparently capable of glossing over their glaring bullpen and defensive deficiencies.
What’s happened in these last two series is an illustration of something I firmly believe in – good pitching beats good hitting. But come on, I don’t care if the guys they faced were Cy Young candidates. The team we saw in the first 15 games should not have been as feeble as they were in six straight games.
I sit there, again, like an old fool, lapping up the stuff about “controlling the zone,” swinging at good pitches, letting the other ones go, thinking the Mariners had finally mastered what the organization wants them to do. And then I watch them strike out 72 times in six games and think that maybe there’s still some major work to be done with controlling the zone.
Honestly, how strange was that to watch the Mariners go from scoring runs at will to not scoring at all. I’ve even gone from thinking they will find a way to win every game to wondering if they’ll ever win again. It’s weird how their bats went so silent. I mean, Carlos Carrasco has a nice track record in this league. He’s a very good pitcher, but he’s also a pitcher who couldn’t get out of the first inning in his last start against the Tigers. Then we saw what happened Wednesday at T-Mobile Park – he completely handcuffed the suddenly punchless Mariners.
I don’t get it. They went from averaging nearly eight runs a game to scoring only 15 overall in the homestand, an average of 2.5 runs per nine innings. Don’t give me that good starting pitching argument. They should have scored more runs than that.
Want to know what else has grown tiresome? The constant tweets and comments reminding us of streaks. The Mariners hit home runs in 20 consecutive games. The Mariners have hit doubles in however many games in a row, keeping it going when Mallex Smith doubled in Wednesday’s game.
These streaky things are cool when you’re winning, but they lose their luster in a big way when you’re losing. Besides, they have too many of these stupid things in baseball. I just saw that Joey Votto did something he’s never done in his career on Wednesday. He popped out to his counterpart, the opposing first baseman. So what?
Spare me the graphic from Thursday night’s game in Anaheim when some Mariner hits a gapper that results in a double to KEEP THE STREAK ALIVE! Tell me about it if the Mariners win, but if they lose, give me a break from the doubles streak. I mean, what’s next, telling us how many games in a row they’ve hit a single?
Sorry for the cynical take on things; I suppose I should be more measured and level-headed in this post, especially for this reason – if someone told me on March 15 that the Mariners would be 13-8 after 21 games, I would have gleefully taken that record and looked forward to seeing how it all played out. So in the bigger picture, you could use one of three sayings to more accurately assess what’s gone on in the first month of the season:
1) “No worries.”
2) “It’s all good.”
3) “Chill, bro”
But I don’t care, these last six games have not been fun at all. We all knew a regression was coming, but I don’t think we expected the bungee cord to snap. When you have a rookie hold the Indians to one run in his first major-league start, you should win the game with the kind of offense you have, but not if you’re scoreless.
I throw up my hands. If I could find a dumb-founded emoji, I’d put one right here. If you can figure out what kind of team the Mariners have, let me know, and in the meantime I’ll stick with the newest observation that they’re so-so at best.
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