Seattle Mariners: 3 Things We Learned Last Night In Seattle

Sep 11, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches the ball against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches the ball against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

The Mariners are heading in the wrong direction. After last night’s heart-breaker, they have now started a new streak. One of losses. While the M’s still hold onto a manageable three game deficit in the Wild Card race, their current opponents have fought their way to an equally promising position.

It’s amazing how quickly things can change in baseball. Two days out from their incredible win streak, the Mariners have now lost two vital games in a row against the Houston Astros.

The chances to ensure a Wild Card spot are becoming fewer and fewer. The M’s now have fifteen games left if they want to make this season one that goes down in lore.

But before we move forward to the next game, let us look back at three things that we learned yesterday in the 2-1 loss.

Good Pitching Doesn’t Always Equal Wins

We’ve seen it time and time again. A pitcher is in a groove, is mowing down batters left and right, but in the end, they have a loss added to their record. James Paxton was the latest Mariner pitcher to fall victim to this scenario.

Paxton, much like Taijuan Walker earlier this week, took a perfect game into the sixth frame. Unfortunately for Paxton, he would unravel too much. On three hits, a walk and two runs allowed on one of those hits, the Astros would take a 2-0 lead. As we know, the game would finish 2-1.

As I mentioned in a previous piece, Paxton has gotten the short end of the stick when throwing quality starts. His ninth of the year last night moved his record to 4-5. To magnify those numbers even more, Paxton is 3-5 when allowing two runs or less. Now that’s unacceptable run support.

Cano Commands The Infield With Style

Ask anyone of the Mariners who is the leader of the infield. They would all say it was Robinson Cano. That is, after all, why he was brought to the club in the first place.

Including calling off his compatriots quite often on infield pop ups, Cano has a bravado about him when he plays that says, “this is my ball, I’ll field it better and more easily then you can”.

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The way he catches fly balls by his waist. The way he throws the ball to the respective base with such calm. Even taking an extra couple seconds turning a double play to admire what he’s taking part in. It’s all part of the Cano show which makes him so polarizing.

Having messed with Dae-Ho Lee earlier in the streak by throwing to first to complete a double play when there were already three outs, Cano messed around with Lee one more time.

On a pop up that was closer to first then second, Cano jokingly starred down Lee. In a bold move Lee called off Cano. As Lee proceed to make the catch, Cano crept close to the first baseman, put his hands at his waist and watched Lee make the out with an uneasy grin.

Everyone knew he was joking. Cano smiled at Lee and whispered sweet nothing in his ear to express that he was kidding. It was just another example of how Cano runs the infield in style.

Mariners Can’t Score All Of The Sudden

In the eighth inning of yesterday’s ballgame, the Mariners broke an eighteen frame scoreless streak. It was their longest scoring drought of the season. Even more surprising, was the timing of it all.

The Mariners had scored an average of 6.5 runs per game during the eight game win streak. In the last two games they combined for a total of one run.

They didn’t help their cause much yesterday, even when they had a handful of opportunities. The Mariners went 0-6 with runners in scoring position. It included, what I consider the season defining combined moment from Cano and Nelson Cruz.

Down 2-1, both sluggers had chances to bring in Seth Smith from second. They both failed to do so, and it cost the Mariners the game.

Next: Top-5 Win Streak Moments

With a chance to tie it up, and sway the series back in the Mariners favor, Cano struck out and Cruz grounded out. It epitomized the Mariners season and the standing right now in the Wild Card race.

The Mariners of 2016 are a team that get so close, get so many chances to make an impact, but fail to do achieve their ultimate goal: win enough games to make the playoffs.