Getting blown out by the Houston Astros is downright embarrassing…how did this even happen? Seriously, the Astros? As I write this, the M’s are continuing to lose to Houston, and are on the verge of getting swept by the worst team in the AL. The season is in its twilight, and we’re all getting pretty sick of poor September showings from the Mariners, but seriously, the Astros? This is bad for my pride. I don’t even have a Felix start to look forward to.
Well, now that that quick rant is over, what can we be happy about? The short answer is: the offseason. The Mariners are heading into the last two weeks against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics. All teams that are in the heat of the playoff race, and all teams that will need all the wins they can get. The season is not going to simply wither away, there’s a long, hard road trip ahead. I mentioned on Monday that the Mariners could play spoiler for some of these teams, and while that’s always fun, I’m a little skeptical after this Houston series.
This offseason has the potential to get us excited again. What will the lineup look like next year? There’s some solid talent coming from Tacoma that we got to see this month (Taijuan Walker and Abe Almonte for the most part). Moreover, there’s some interesting guys moving to free agency this year too. I’d like to see an overhaul of the starting rotation, Ervin Santana and Tim Lincecum are the main guys that come to mind. Pair either one of those with Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma and we’re looking more solid than it was this year *cough* Aaron Harang *cough*.
But enough of my daydreaming, Lets take a look at some links:
First and foremost, the M’s finally made move on Brendan Ryan yesterday. After a solid showing from Brad Millar, Ryan was spending more and more time on the bench, and for a guy who hits poorly, that’s not a good spot for him. The Yankees are in need of a shortstop after Derek Jeter went back on the DL and Ryan was available. He’s not a hitter, but he sure did wow us with his glove, he was our underdog and he’ll be missed
Continuing with the bad news trend, Felix Hernandez has been pushed from his next start. Initially he was postponed a day to deal with some lingering oblique soreness, but when it didn’t go away, Felix got scrubbed entirely. There’s some speculation that he’ll be shut down for the season now, only adding to the feeling of hopelessness I’m feeling now.
Wladimir Belantin is making headlines again! He’s crushing homers in Japan and has already tied the single-season record for homers (54). That’s a fine stat on its own, but for Belantin, he is ripe with games to hit his record breaking homer, 22 of them to be precise. At this rate, we should be seeing the 55th in the next few days.
What happened this year? Pitching, it was bad. How bad? They’re ranked 29th in ERA in the league. What makes it even worse is that they could be so much better.
Taijuan Walker has been shut down for the season after hitting his innings limit, but in his Seattle starts, we got to see some impressive (but not groundbreaking) pitching. We expected miracles from Walker, and while he didn’t dominate, he pitched very, very well against some tough teams (I’m counting Houston as a tough team because the Mariners are down 5-0 against them now).
Tim Lincecum, the Bellevue native, is again making headlines in Seattle. While the Mariners passed on him in favor of Brandon Morrow in 2006, but clearly made a poor decision. Morrow turned into Brandon League in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, while Lincecum threw a no-hitter. Obviously Lincecum hasn’t be as unhittable of late, but he’s still a guy who could bring some excitement to Seattle, especially if Felix and Iwakuma keep up their winning ways.
Lets end on a positive note. The Mariners aren’t that bad, are they? According to Jacob Garcia, they aren’t. In fact they might even be better than they were last year. It turns out there’s a few places where the M’s have improved, and the new guys are looking pretty decent too. Maybe next year there will be even more to be excited about.