Until last night, it had somehow escaped my notice that the Mariners were sunk 14.5 games below the Rangers. I make a point not to take the standings seriously until the All-Star break, when we can trust a little more in the hot streaks and weak spots and emerging strengths of our teams. Well, that break is two weeks away, and the Mariners look like they’re already rolling downhill.
Yesterday’s collapse against Oakland could be crowned the epitome of the 2012 Mariners; or, if you will, the March – June 2012 Mariners. While Erasmo Ramirez shone in an 8-inning, 10-strikeout, 3-hit outing, the rest of the team left their bats to rot in the dugout. They may as well have sent the Mariner Moose up to bat—not the regular Moose, the enormous inflatable one that moonwalks to “Thriller” and bounces on his head.
This is not a new plotline for Seattle. Jesus Montero picked up two base hits and two strikeouts. Miguel Olivo grounded into a double play. Brendan Ryan wasted a runner on third with a popout, then turned a double play to remind us why we don’t start
our backup mascot Kawasaki at short. Not only did the Mariners leave runners stranded in scoring position, they only put two men in scoring position in 7 hits and 32 AB.
A month ago, I could’ve shrugged off a loss like this, or been more willing to pinpoint the positives in it. “It’s just the A’s,” I might have said, when we were busy splitting hairs over a half game difference. “It’s just May. It’s just one loss.” As the first half of the season draws to a close, however, it may be time to start evaluating this team more seriously.
With a plethora of pitching prospects middling in the minors, run support is not an option, not a bonus, not something that can be blamed on the fences or the salty air. It’s a necessity, especially for those talented enough to break into the big leagues. While the bullpen has been flawless and the rotation is starting to solidify, there is no excuse for hacking at first pitches (that’s you, Olivo) or leaving six men on base. I don’t expect a World Series trophy this year, but I expect an offense.
I think I’ll put down the keyboard before I start painting picket signs and camping out in front of Safeco Field. Today is a new day. It’s just the A’s. And it’s just June.
Next game: vs. A’s | June 26 | 7:10pm