Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mariners Swept by Orioles, Look Into Purchasing a Flock for Next Season

Wedge doing what we all want to.
For the most part, these games in September mean precisely zilch to the Mariners as far as wins and losses.  To the fans, it still means something because, after you've been a fan for a while, it's hard to not be heartbroken after losses like the ones Seattle suffered on Tuesday and Wednesday.  That's if you stayed up until 1am to see them lose in 18 innings.

This was a three game series against the Orioles in which there should have been 27 innings played.  Instead, the two teams decided to do a little more for all the fans watching and squeeze in a whole 38 innings instead.  That's a lot of baseball, and if you sat through it all to watch the Mariners get swept, you're a better fan than most.  Or a lot crazier.  Either way, it was not a great way to spend those three days.

As far as the Orioles are concerned, what the hell?  I mean seriously, who did they have to sacrifice to the baseball gods to be in this position?  They've not once been under .500 this season.  Their record in the first half was 45-40 with a -36 run differential.  They lost their ace, Jason Hammel, for just shy of two months in the second half.  What did the Orioles do in that time?  They only went 40-24 with a +26 run differential.

The biggest reason, as far as offense is concerned, has been Mark Reynolds.  He already has 14 home runs in the second half, doubling his first half total, and going from 23 RBI to 42 RBI.  There are other reasons for their uptick in the second half, but man, I just don't know any more.  Ah baseball......

I'm not going to go over each individual game, as that may require a visit to a therapist and that's a cost I'd rather not endure at the moment. If you're curious, click on the bottom and read about it.  If not, after this series, I really don't blame you.

The Mariners played the Orioles in a three game series that felt like it lasted several decades.  The first game wasn't too terrible, aside from Hector Noesi and his anemic pitching performance.  Seattle ended up losing 10-4 in that game with Noesi giving up 6 earned runs out of 7 total in 1 1/3 innings of, what I'm sure he and the coaching staff like to consider, work.  Don't get me wrong, Noesi can throw a baseball a lot more effectively than any of us can, but when you're a major league pitcher you have expectations thrust upon you.  Maybe we should stop doing that and expect him to get hammered so when he's not, we're pleasantly surprised instead.

On the offensive side, the Mariners saw three players hit a baseball over the fence.  In no particular order, they were Michael Saunders, John Jaso and Eric Thames.  That brings their current totals to 16, 9 and 8 respectively.  Saunders may have decided to become a baseball player after a couple years of oopsy daisies, showing a flash of what he's capable of by hitting this particular home run to the opposite field.  It was his first home run to the opposite field this season, so let's not start buy the party hats and alcohol just yet, but it's nice to know he can actually do it.

The second game the Mariners lost in 18 innings.  Yes, that's 18 innings.  They lost not because Lucas Luetge gave up two runs in the top of the 18th.  Well, no, that's exactly why they lost.  You can't lose unless a pitcher gives up runs so it's Luetge but only on a technicality.  The bigger reason Seattle lost was due to the fact they went 0 for 17 with runners in scoring position.  That's for the game, not the series.  They were 0 for 17 in one game that lasted 18 innings.  Now granted, it was 18 innings, so it gives them a lot of opportunities to be feeble offensively, but wow.  In case you were wondering, the two runs came on a homer by Miguel Olivo with a runner on first, keeping Seattle's historic ineptitude intact.  You may be asking how historic it was.  It's tied for third worst offensive performances with RISP of all time.  Of.  All.  Time.

The third and final game of the series went into extras also.  11 innings to be more precise, but precision isn't really needed in this instance.  Actually, it is needed, if only to mention that the game went into extras because Tom Wilhelmsen blew a save opportunity.  I'm not saying he sucked, because he didn't, but just to point out who is responsible for giving us the privilege of giving us bonus innings.

Erasmo Ramirez did his best to give them a chance at salvaging the series with at least one win, but after back to back singles to open the ninth, Wilhelmsen was brought in to shut the door.  A sac bunt and base hit later, it was all tied up.  The pitch Wilhelmsen threw that resulted in a base hit to tie it was not his best curveball in the world.  It was slightly up and on the inside half of the plate, but not nearly far enough inside.  It was a moment that lived in infamy for all of 5 minutes in my head and then it was gone because the game was inconsequential and holding on to such a memory would just make me sad.  Therapy is really expensive these days.

All in all, this series showed all the things we love and hate about the Mariners.  Starting pitching that has potential, even Noesi if he can ever figure it out.  A young bullpen that has nothing but upside, except for the veterans and even those guys have been a nice surprise.  An offense that is so streaky it's surprising they haven't been arrested yet for indecent exposure.  The Mariners have the pitching, the bullpen, the defense, but still lack the offense to be able to take advantage of their strengths and push this team over the edge.  Granted, they haven't even finished .500 for a couple of years, but looking at this team the way it is right now and what they've got for pitching in the minors, we may not have to wait too terribly long.  Unless they say screw the offense and sign pitchers and minor veteran pieces again, then we may all need to get walls patched from banging our heads against the wall.

Right now, it's all about next season and having to endure the juggernaut that is the AL West the rest of the season.  Speaking of Orioles, the Athletics, really?  This is why baseball is baseball, but boy, it gets kind of old being the nerdy kid getting the swirlies all the freakin' time.

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