The baseball gods giveth…
And the baseball gods taketh…
The voodoo luck the Mariners had last season against the Rays extended exactly one game into their 2022 season series thanks to an incredible seven-run inning and then that luck completely and utterly flipped to the team from Florida’s discount Bay Area. In fact, it feels like that same voodoo luck that fueled Chaos Ball has completely and utterly deserted Seattle over the last two weeks.
While Friday night saw the normally reliable Paul Sewald completely implode before he left that pitch in the middle of the plate last night against Manuel Margot, the majority of the Mariners issues in this stretch come from a sudden inability to get traffic on base. That ability to generate traffic is what had made the offense go in the young season’s first two weeks. The fact that it’s suddenly dried up in the majority of games this week could be seen as problematic.
While it’s tempting to say this is a symptom of the front office not doing enough to improve the offense, it’s more of symptom of the fact that Seattle has faced some damn good pitchers in this stretch. Some of the pitchers Seattle has faced include a surprisingly good Drew Rasmussen (1.96 BB/9); professional zombie Justin Verlander (1.10 BB/9); young buck Christian Javier (2.41 BB/9); the new ace for Tampa Bay Shane McClanahan (2.51 BB/9); and some kid called Elieser Hernandez (2.96 BB/9). These guys have all excelled at keeping walks to a minimum early in ’22 and the M’s ability to get on base was crippled as a result.
And the reality of that is…that’s baseball. Your team is going to run into a stretch of games — whether it’s one or two weeks — where you run into a bunch of starters who are exceedingly good at taking away a major part of your offense. For the Mariners that’s been walks, for other teams (like the Astros) it’s contact. This means offense is going to struggle and some losses are going to pile up.
When that stretch of starters is paired up with some bad luck from the bullpen arms, or out in the field defensively, then it starts to look really ugly. And that’s what has happened to Seattle during this insanely frustrating two weeks.
But this 2-9 stretch doesn’t really give us a measure of what the Mariners are any more than the 7-2 opening homestand did. We’re still about 13 games away from really beginning to even start to figure out what kind of club this is in 2022.
While I would like to see Jerry Dipoto go out and add another starter to this rotation, especially with Matt Brash being sent down, the odds are still pretty good that this is an 83- to 85-win club that has a really good shot at that No. 6 seed in the AL Playoff race.
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Photo Credit: Seattle Mariners