Today the Mariners wrapped up a 9-game roadtrip with a series victory against the Oakland athletics. They ended the roadtrip that included the Rangers, Rays, and Athletics, all teams at or near their division leads, battling for postseason spots, 5-4. That is something to be happy about.
What’s bizarre about baseball is this: the Mariners are 10-6 against the A’s. We are 31-26 against the AL West. But we can’t seem to beat the Astros, and we can’t shake the nagging Angels. Oh, and we lose handily to teams like the Cubs and Indians, who are not nearly as good as the teams we played on this roadtrip.
But with consecutive series victories and a winning record on this roadtrip, there is reason to feel good about the M’s ending the season. With pride and playing time in 2014 on the line, look for these young guys to finish out this 2013 season well. And, as I mentioned in my post about Jack Z’s 1-year contract extension as GM, these Mariners have a potentially bright 2014 ahead of them.
Let’s talk about today though: Brendan Ryan. Brendan Ryan. Brendan Ryan. Today reminded me about why he is so exciting defensively. Oh yea, he also drove in 3 RBIs that amounted to the game-tying and game-winning runs. He is a great guy, and a great veteran to have around the clubhouse for these young middle infielders. However, it’s doubtful the Mariners will resign him for the 2014 season, simply because offensive games like he had today come too few and far between for him to stay. Also, Brad Miller hit only ONE home run in today’s game. That’s weird, because he usually hits them in pairs. And just to note: Nick Franklin wasn’t playing today because of 6 stitches he received after taking a cleat to the knee sliding into home in last nights game.
Iwakuma also deserves a new nickname: Henry Houdini. Because it is remarkable how many jams he puts himself into then immediately gets himself out of. He still gives up the long ball way too much, but for a number two behind King Felix he is great to have around.
These last two games the Mariners have come from behind late to beat the Athletics, and in each game Danny Farquhar has slammed the door shut in the ninth. He struck out the side today, and his curveball looks unhittable. It’s great to have a successful closer again for the time being, and frankly I like Farquhar’s makeup much better than I did Wilhelmsen’s.
All in all this was a great roadtrip for the Mariners. For despite a 15-3 loss and a blown save and shotty bullpen work, the M’s came out of it with a winning record. And if these young guys can learn how to fight and win against the best teams in the league on a consistent basis, 2014 could be a very exciting year.