Looking back at the 2013 season come October, Friday, July 26 could be a day we remember as sinking the surging ship the Mariners had going towards the .500 mark. Just one day removed, that seems a little reactionary, but has there been a tougher day for the Mariners than yesterday this year?
Going into the day they were already without two important pieces. One is their manager Eric Wedge, who will miss at least the next ten or so games recovering from a stroke. I feel for Wedge, and he needs to take all the time he needs to get back to the difficult task of managing a young baseball team. But boy, could the M’s have used him last night. I mean, it’s pretty standard operating procedure to pull Kendrys Morales for Michael Saunders in the 11th inning with nobody out. Come on, Robby Thompson.
The other important piece the Mariners lacked was their two best right-handed hitters, Michael Morse and Franklin Gutierrez. Facing a left-handed starter the Mariners need guys who consistently produce from the right side. Justin Smoak and Jason Bay are not those guys. As a result, Scott Diamond was able to roll through the M’s for most of last night. Side note: Jason Bay blows. Morse cannot return soon enough so the M’s can axe Bay and end this disastrous experiment.
Then around 2 p.m., catastrophic news hit Twitter. Mariners’ catcher Mike Zunino had a broken hamate bone and would miss six weeks. My first reaction was simple: ugh. Just when he was getting hot, the rookie stud catcher of the Mariners’ future is essentially done for the year. Then I wanted to punch a wall, because everyone close to the situation tweeted that morning that “x-rays were negative.” Doesn’t that mean nothing’s broken? I don’t know anymore. Anyway, here comes a month and a half of Humberto Quintero and Henry Blanco.
And then the game, which was the manifestation of what kind of tough day it was for the M’s off the field. Felix was stunning for nine innings, but the Mariners only fetched him one run. He had a chance to finish out the CG, but couldn’t do it when the Twins put together a couple of cheap base hits and Felix messed his pitch selection up a bit. The Mariners obviously didn’t score in extras until it was too late and lost 3-2. The last thing the Mariners needed with their hot streak in jeopardy was a gut punch loss to a crappy team. Boom! Gut punch loss to a bad team.
The Mariners will really need Aaron Harang and Erasmo Ramirez to pick up the slack over the next few days. The offense will have to score four or so runs a game, and Robby Thompson needs to get his stuff together and make better decisions in-game. If not, Friday could be the day the 2013 season officially fell apart.