For last week’s recap, click here.
Week’s Win-Loss Record: 3-3
Overall Win-Loss Record: 7-5
Winning Percentage: .583
Division Standing: Second place
Week’s Opponents: Los Angeles Angels (2 games) – Home; Oakland Athletics (3 games) – Home; Texas Rangers (1 game of a 3-game series) – Road
Playoff Status: Not mathematically eliminated
Team Morale: Alright, alright, alright
This isn’t bad, but it isn’t good, either. What we’re dealing with here is not unlike the waning episodes of a television sitcom’s epic run. Think Saved By the Bell during the Year of Tori, The Brady Bunch when Cousin Oliver came to visit, or even Growing Pains in the Season of Leonardo DiCaprio. This certainly isn’t the end for the Mariners, but similar to a TV show with its gimmicky new characters, we’ve seen in this baseball team the warning signs of a potential future unraveling.
We’re still in the season’s opening stages and the M’s are coming off a 2-3 homestand that did absolutely nothing to capitalize on the momentum of week one. Reverting to their bad habits of so many seasons gone by, Mariner hitters had trouble fulfilling their job requirements in the land of Evil Marine Layer, yielding one solitary run across all three defeats. The Great Power Outage of 2014 (as we hope it will be known, assuming things improve down the road) has led us to week three, which suddenly becomes a critical turning point in the fledgling campaign.
The hometown nine now embarks upon a seven-game swing that will take them to Texas and Miami. There, they’ll square off against two ballclubs that currently own sub-.500 records. This serves as the perfect opportunity for the M’s to make a statement on the road. Succeed on this trip and fans will continue (or, perhaps more accurately, start) to fill Safeco Field when the team returns to Seattle on April 21st. Fail, however, and apathy will befall the curious onlookers who were ready to jump aboard the bandwagon. Fair or unfair, one bad road trip this early in the year could easily cost the organization fan support for months down the line.
Having already captured the inaugural throwdown of their first trans-time-zone business venture, the Mariners have set themselves up nicely to forget all about their underwhelming performance at home. Unloading for seven runs on the Rangers behind the stout pitching of rookie Roenis Elias raised more than a few eyebrows on Monday, allowing the team to rest a little easier in anticipation of Blake Beavan’s spot start on Tuesday.
Recalled by the M’s after the team pawned off Hector Noesi on Texas, Beavan makes his first start of the season against the organization that selected him 17th overall in the first round of the 2007 Amateur Draft. Though Beavan has actually thrown satisfactorily against his old club over his career, his outing will undoubtedly be greeted by crossed fingers and a few pre-game prayers. The world has simply seen too much of Beavan’s mediocrity throughout the years to expect great things.
Wednesday’s contest, on the other hand, should go down as one of the more memorable pitching matchups of the new year, with Felix Hernandez battling Yu Darvish for bragging rights as the ace of aces in the American League West. Depending on how Beavan fares Tuesday, the M’s may need a truly regal outing from King Felix to salvage the series. Luckily, few teams have fared better against Darvish the past two seasons than Seattle.
A weekend get-together with the Marlins should provide the M’s a brief respite from the brutality of their tour of the AL West. Though Miami is slightly improved over last season’s 62-win disappointment, they currently reside in last place in the National League East. Historically, the Mariners have been one of MLB’s best performers in interleague competition, as well, only aiding in their efforts to take down the Fish.
This is it. This is that season-altering set of games that will either alienate or embrace an entire fan base. To paraphrase the aforementioned Saved By the Bell, we should all be excited. And yet we should all be scared.