After a fantastic, improbable, season high eight-game winning streak, the Mariners kicked off their road trip with a pair of losses to the Chicago White Sox. This is neither surprising nor unpredictable—in 2012, the Sox have trampled the M’s in seven of eight games.
Whether it was bad luck, an inevitable collapse from an unsustainable win streak, or a combination of the two, the Mariners fell hard. Jason Vargas gave up six earned runs and three home runs in his second worst start of the season. Tom Wilhelmsen earned his first blown save on three hits and two runs, in true Brandon League style. Chone Figgins, veteran and professional bench warmer though he may be, failed to recognize a bunt sign and blew a crucial opportunity to advance the tying run in the 8th.
More painful than the mistakes, however, are the moments when the team was within reach of a win. On Friday night, the Mariners floundered under a five-run deficit for three innings, then pulled out a six-run rally in the 9th with four hits, three walks, and a home run. Tonight, Kyle Seager was responsible for all of Seattle’s runs, putting up a three-RBI homer in the 1st and a solo shot in the 9th before John Jaso killed the tying run with a pop-out.
It hurts to see a win slip through the Mariners’ gloves. It hurts even more to see that happen twice. Still, I believe this is a different team than the one who was perfect game’d by Philip Humber this April. This band of Mariners has a little more fight, a little more drive, and a little more want. So, while I’m not about to crown them the AL West champions just yet, this season is far from over.
Next game: @ White Sox | August 26 | 11:10am