To the dislike of all Mariners fans around the world, the season is over. After one hundred and sixty-two games, there is officially no post season in the Mariners schedule. It is the fifteenth straight year they have not been in the playoffs. That is the longest such streak (by far) in the MLB. Now there is just relaxation and preparation for next season.
No one excepted the Mariners to show much effort today after being eliminated from the playoffs last night. The entire team put so much energy in the back and forth affair that ended in defeat. Many players refused to leave the dugout, looking out at the field thinking of what could have been.
So, when they had to come out today for the final game of the season, to expect anything but a deflated team would have been unrealistic.
Many everyday players got to rest today, giving a chance for the younger guys to show off their stuff. Felix Hernandez was also on the mound, but yet again, he wasn’t in great form.
So despite the underwhelming day, it is time to go to school. Here is the season’s last edition of what we learned
Hernandez Need This Break
The Felix Hernandez we saw all season long has been someone we don’t recognize. It was clear all year that he no longer had his accuracy and control. Today was no exception.
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In just three unmotivated innings, Hernandez gave up three runs on four hits. The biggest blows were two RBI singles in the third and a home run in the first.
He did strike out three batters in front of the Kings Court, but there was just too much that he didn’t do to help the Mariners win.
Hernandez will now have plenty of time to re-work his mechanics and try and get his killer instinct back. He was definitely brought down a peg this year and especially in the second half. This season he posted his third highest ERA of his career and he threw the fewest strikeouts of any year.
We all know that Hernandez injured his calf celebrating a home run in May. That could explain part of his downfall, but it surly isn’t the only explanation.
Now he will have plenty of time to turn back into the king that we know him as.
Young Guns Step In
With nothing on the line, Guillermo Heredia, Mike Freeman and Ben Gamel all had a chance to start today. All three took advantage of the opportunity.
The three men coombined for five of the team’s six hits. They scored one of the two runs and also drove in all of the runs. It was a complete effort from the guys who hope to be main stay players in the Mariners future everyday lineup.
Heredia was the one who drove in the two runs. He hit a double down the left field line that brought the Mariners to within one run of the Athletics. Gamel was one of the men who scored on the double. Freeman singled in the third and the eighth.
Each one of these men stepped up to continue their case to be part of the future Mariners lineups. If they don’t make it as everyday starters, they would be good backups. We’ll have to wait and see what Jerry Dipoto decides to do with them in the off-season.
Thank You Mariners
The season may not have ended the way most of us would’ve liked, but, this team exceeded so many expectations and reignited excitement in the organization.
The Mariners were not projected to be in the post season or playoff contenders. One of those happened and we were so enthralled with watching the strong effort to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
We learned that these Mariners can hit home runs like we haven’t seen in years. They kept so many games close, having the most one-run games in baseball. But most importantly, the kept us engaged and ecstatic that the Mariners are becoming contenders again.
They put the rest of the league on notice that these Mariners are a real threat going forward.
Thank you for everything you did.