Sorry folks, no sketch for today’s post. I have a rather intensive art project I have been working on that I’m excited to reveal it in the near future. I’ll get back to providing you with some Mariners/Seahawks art in the near future.
But let’s talk about those men in blue and teal. Are you mad yet? That’s fine, you’re certainly not alone. This team has managed to squander some serious offensive output over the past five games, as well as find new and exciting, yet all too predictable ways to blow leads. But in the famous words of Maximus Decimus Meridius “Are you not entertained?” Sure, the final results have not favored the Mariners, but the days of 3-0 and 2-1 games may be few and far between. This offense is a legitimate threat and the days of sleep inducing, overmatched flailing may very well be behind the organization. The Mariners finally have a team that maintains the attention of its viewers.
Nelson Cruz‘s home run streak has the interest of the national media and tomorrow night there will be more than a few extra viewers tuning into a baseball game in the forgotten corner of sports. The suddenly power lush Dustin Ackley is doing his very best to prove that his end of season resurgence is legitimate and sustainable. Carson Smith has been a monster, Olson is proving he belongs at this level, and there are little glimmers of hope sprinkled throughout the team. Even with the offense failing to run on all cylinders, we’ve managed to produce 32 runs in nine games. Five of the team’s nine games have been decided by less than two runs; the Mariners have been in every single one of these games. The roller coaster ride of pitching will inevitably level out. To be specific, Taijuan Walker is going to straighten his mess out. Most fans believe this statement even without evidence. It’s not hard to believe Walker can’t possibly be this bad, and the numbers back that up as well.
Walker has a pretty good base of minor league numbers to pull from, giving you a general idea of what he could be capable of at the major league level. Walker is currently sporting the lowest left on base percentage of any major league starter with 10 innings pitched. Sitting at a paltry 38.8 percent, Walker is barely stranding 1/3 of any batter than has managed to reach base against him. For is minor league career, Walker stranded nearly double that. On top of failing to be an impactful pitcher with runners on, Walker is allowing a nearly 90 percent contact rate for pitches in the strike zone. That’s an incredibly bad recipe for success when opponents are running a .417 (!) average against you. Ascension to the mean has to occur. Walker has never displayed this poor of pitching tendencies and eventually the ship will right itself. Lloyd will continue to throw him out there every five days and that is the best thing for him right now.
Despite some hiccups, the rest of the pitching staff is just fine. Expecting the kind of pitching dominance displayed last season, speaks to how spoiled the fanbase has been over the past few seasons. Watching Paxton and Iwakuma struggle against one of the more dangerous teams in baseball shouldn’t have been unexpected. Watching “Ulcers” Rodney implode on back-to-back outings was tough to swallow, but not outside his normal modus operandi.
It’s still very early. On this date last year, the Angels were 7-8, the Royals were 6-7, Baltimore was 7-7. Exactly one month later? 22-19, 20-21, and 22-18 respectively. The rest is in history as they say; each of these teams ended up in the playoffs. The Mariners didn’t get off to the start they wanted, but this doesn’t necessarily correlate with their potential end of season standing. Three games have already fallen the way of the Mariners, and while you could argue that we should won another two or three just remember–baseball tends to even the score. Last season the infamous Sean Barber umpiring fiasco stole a gem from Roenis Elias. On the flip side, the Mariners fired a shot straight to the chest of Koji Uehara, by stealing a win they didn’t deserve. The Mariners will gain those two games back, and probably sooner than you think. This team is on the verge, the only thing they have to do is avoid pressing.