Having navigated through their 13-game stretch against teams over .500, the Mariners completed a sweep and been swept, won six and lost seven. But the losses have been devastating. Is it a sign of things to come?
BOSTON — While everyone likes to trumpet Red Sox fans as being true diehard baseball fans, I’d like to point out that they did the wave twice on Friday night.
With the Mariners mired in their longest losing streak of the season, this week’s questions for the Twitter mailbag definitely lacked the optimism of recent weeks.
Get your questions in by tweeting at @RyanDivish
September 23 | Searching for prospects and bright spots from 2018 season
September 2 | Why didn't M's go all-in before August waiver deadline?
Hmm, a prediction? Sure, just call me NostraDivmus. Actually, I’m far from a great prognosticator. But I expected more than a couple losses in the combined six road games at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. Given the lineups of the Yankees and the Red Sox and the pitching the Mariners were scheduled to face, I thought they’d win maybe a game in each of the three-game series. If you look at the three teams, you can see that the Mariners are just a little behind in terms of talent, particularly with Robinson Cano out of the lineup, Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino struggling and Jean Segura dealing with a forearm infection.
So many things have to go right to win on the road, and to be beat teams like New York and Boston on the road, your execution has to be nearly flawless from pitch to pitch. The execution of the Mariners’ pitchers on this road trip has been abysmal. They are behind in counts far too often, leading to far too many fastballs in fastball counts, not keeping hitters off the plate with pitches inside and way too many baserunners.
As far as the devastation effect of a loss compared to another, they all hurt in different ways. Sometimes when you just get your butt kicked, you can chalk it up to just a bad game. But there is an embarrassment factor. Regardless of how much money they make, no player wants to feel that on the baseball field.
When a team blows a game it should win, it’s often chalked up to “that’s baseball.” And yes, it is baseball. But there is a sting that lingers. But if the faliures are late in games
One thing that I’ve learned is that baseball players’ ability to compartmentalize personal failure and team defeat and then immediately move forward to the next day is something that the average fan can’t fathom. But being around it daily, you see how quickly they are forced to move on from a loss that fans might deem as soul crushing or season ending. There is work to do every day and another game to prepare for. Realistically, if a player didn’t have that ability, they’d never make it to the game’s highest levels. For the amount of failure in baseball, a player that couldn’t move past it would likely melt down in his own crisis of personal existence.
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So on Saturday morning, the clubhouse tone was fine. The players did their early work, go their treatment and mocked each other like usual. As they waited for the daily hitters meeting and ate lunch, several of them watched a cornhole competition on ESPN, offering up their own critiques of the participants as if they were cornhole masters. Dee Gordon’s impersonation of the conversations at a cornhole event were particularly amusing to his teammates.
Going into Saturday, the Mariners had a 46-30 record. That means they have 86 games remaining in the season, which isn’t an insignificant number. So if they go 43-43 — an even .500 — over their remaining games, that would give them an 89-73 record, which would be their best record since going 93-69 in 2003.
But obviously a winning record alone isn’t enough for the team or the fanbase. No, the first postseason bid since 2001 is really the only way the season could be considered any sort of a success. In the expanded wild card era, 89 wins have been good enough to secure a spot in every AL wild game since 2014. So if they played .500 the rest of the way and got into the wild-card game, yes, that would be a success.
Well, based on the answer above, they’d have to play worse than .500 baseball the rest of the way. Right now, the last playoff spot is down to the Mariners and Angels. If the Angels played .500 baseball in their final 86 games, they’d finish with an 84-78 record. Only one other team in the American League that has a winning record is the Oakland A’s. So while this losing streak has been painful for fans, it hasn’t crippled the Mariners’ postseason chances thanks to the equity built before it.
The Mariners’ third-round pick — a switch-hitting catcher — is currently mulling over the decision whether to sign with Seattle or return to Florida State for his senior season and improve his draft stock.
If Raleigh opts not to sign with the Mariners, the team would receive a compensatory pick at the end of the third round of the 2019 draft. They would also receive additional money into their draft bonus pool for the slot money value of that pick, which would be around $500,000.
Diageo (Crown Royal manufacturer) offers you their CEO position, but Pitbull is the only musician you can listen to. Do you take the gig?
I’m not sure there is enough money or enough Crown Royal in this world that would make listening to Pitbull and only Pitbull acceptable. He’s the musical equivalent to I-5 road construction on a weekend. And why would I want to leave? I have the best job in the world.