For last week’s recap, click here.
Week’s Win-Loss Record: 1-6
Overall Win-Loss Record: 7-11
Winning Percentage: .389
Division Standing: Third place
Week’s Opponents: Texas Rangers (4 games) – Road; Miami Marlins (3 games) – Road
Playoff Status: Not mathematically eliminated
Team Morale: HOLY F@#K
Good lord, what the hell happened here? A week ago this team had a record over .500, had guys on the roster with batting averages that began with a three, and hadn’t lost more than two games in a row. Fast forward seven days and everything’s blown up in epic proportion. If this team was our home and these players our kids and we left this home in the care of our kids for a week, what we’d be looking at right now would be less of a house and more of a smoldering pile of ashes borne out of a blazing fire that had only been extinguished by the piss of a thousand passersby. Eighteen games into this season and the Mariners are now, essentially, homeless.
This was arguably the most pivotal road trip of the fledgling campaign for the M’s. Hold serve over the seven-game swing and fans would flock to Safeco Field upon the club’s return. Flounder, however, and it could cost the franchise millions of dollars in fan-related revenue over the remainder of 2014. We all paid witness to the disaster that transpired. As a result, the organization will now struggle to reel in fans anytime soon, barring an equally impressive and seemingly twice as unlikely string of success. The jalopy of a bandwagon that carried curious would-be fanatics through the season’s opening two weeks now idles in disrepair alongside a dark and abandoned road, a sight familiar to the diehards unaffected by the rampant apathy that perpetually reigns over anything regarding this team.
In fairness, the Mariners are a 5-1 homestand away from returning to the equilibrium of a .500 record. With three games against the lowly Astros, followed by a weekend trifecta against the much less lowly Rangers, there is some shred of hope that balance could be achieved. But come on. Let’s be real here. After witnessing the M’s drop six in a row and eight of their last nine, who really believes this group of wet newspaper-swingers can suddenly rebound with an unprecedented .833 winning percentage over the ensuing seven days?
Amidst their six-game losing streak, the Mariners’ offense has only produced an average of 2.33 runs per game. At the same time, the pitching and defense have combined to yield an average of 5.67 runs a contest over that span. The difference between those two figures isn’t close, leaving little doubt as to how bad the M’s have been during their run of ineptitude.
If an investigation into the underwhelming surface statistics isn’t convincing enough, simply watching the club play might be enough to sway you into a bout with depression.
Hitters who began the year displaying keen pitch recognition and the type of selectivity that forces opponents to turn to their bullpens early and often have now begun flailing at balls and strikes with middling results. The defense has suffered from errant lapses — like this Brad Miller meltdown, for instance — that have occurred at the most inopportune moments. And aside from Felix Hernandez, the pitching has been glaringly sub-par, a result of a taxed bullpen and replacement-caliber starters — though this was wholly anticipated after injuries befell three-fifths of the projected starting rotation (Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, and Taijuan Walker).
While most of the team is utterly sigh-worthy, 32-year-old Corey Hart has been the lone shining beacon of light over the course of the losing streak. Coming off a pair of microfracture surgeries on each knee, Hart has finally warmed up after a shaky Spring Training and slow start to the regular season and is now hitting an even .500 (8-for-16) in his last four games. Hart’s surge will hopefully rub off on the rest of the lineup in due time, but for now the sometimes-outfielder acts alone, a badass renegade among a cast of plebes.
This is the end of the beginning and quite possibly the beginning of the end. As April winds down and the M’s continue to struggle, the patience of the fan base is severely tested. Ask your typical Seattleite where they expect the local baseball team to go from here and they’ll laugh before uttering “Nowhere.”
The hope is that the Mariners will find their way back to relevance within the mercurial confines of their often-unfriendly home ballpark. The reality is that they’ll need to drastically improve in order to do that. Thus, Week 4 begins.