The Mariners had one of their worst outings of the year last night. But with James Paxton on the bump, facing a struggling Matt Moore, it appeared that the woes would be short-lived. Oh boy, was it wrong to think that? Welcome to Opposite Day, people.
I’ve hated only one series this year. That would be the series in which the Mariners lost two-of-three to the Detroit Tigers, as well as Robinson Cano. This series with the Rangers is up there. For how bad the Rangers are, and how much they’ve succeeded in Seattle this year, this series has been incredibly annoying.
It’s been the little things that have absolutely irked me for the past two nights. Jurickson Profar and his 89 wRC+ wreaking havoc late in games. Ronald Guzman’s four-hit game last night. Guys like Robinson Chirinos and Hanser Alberto causing headaches for Mariners pitching.
The Rangers are a very bad team. It’s somewhat due in part to injuries to key stars, such as Adrian Beltre. They’re also just not very talented.
Honestly, the Rangers’ success should be credited to the Mariners. The offense has been absolutely abysmal, despite scoring 10 runs over the last two games. Felix continued to prove he’s one of the worst pitchers in the MLB this year last night. James Paxton lacked command and could only make it through five innings tonight.
But the thing that gets my blood boiling the most is the bullpen. After being nearly untouchable in the month of May, the Mariners bullpen has absolutely imploded. The Mariners tied the game last night in another miraculous comeback effort, only for Edwin Diaz to allow four runs to the Rangers in the next inning.
Tonight, James Paxton left with a 4-2 lead. The Rangers were able to notch a run off of Dan Altavilla. Gordon Beckham got that run right back for the M’s to make it 5-3. Seemingly, the Mariners were just going to play keep-away tonight with a tired bullpen after last night’s dumpster fire.
It all came crashing down in the seventh inning. After Ryan Cook allowed the first two Rangers hitters to reach, he was pulled in favor of Marc Rzepczynski with a left-handed hitter due up. One out, runners at second and third with Nomar Mazara at the dish.
The first pitch delivered right up the middle on a silver platter. Smashed through a wide hole in between first and second. Tied game.
Then, Rzepczynski walks the bases loaded. So, who should we now go to? Oh sure, let’s go to Juan Nicasio. Why not?
Yeah, that went about as well as you would think. Robinson Chirinos (80 wRC+) slashed a first-pitch double to give the Rangers a 7-5 lead. Chirinos, by the way, would finish 3-for-5 tonight, because baseball.
With the way the Mariners bats were swinging tonight, that’s all they would need.
Before we dive further into the offense, let’s rant a little about Rzepczynski, since you all liked my Felix rant last night. I’ll keep it shorter this time around, though.
What is the point in having a LOOGY if he can’t get left-handed hitters out? He has proven, on multiple occasions, that he does not belong on a big league roster. He is absolutely useless to a team that needs quality pitching in specific situations.
This cannot continue. Former Ranger Dario Alvarez is pitching well in Tacoma. There’s your new LOOGY. Bring him up and be done with this.
Rzepczynski needs to be gone as soon as tomorrow morning. Again, he brings nothing to this team. He is nothing more than a waste of a roster spot at this point.
Now, back to regularly-scheduled programming.
Going into this game, Matt Moore had allowed more earned runs than batters he had struckout. Through the first two innings, the Mariners had K’d four times. That should tell you how this night went.
Despite scoring six runs, the Mariners had an awful plate approach the entire night. There was no sense of attack and no timely hitting. Two of their six runs came on back-to-back wild pitches by Moore. They were 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
They attempted a comeback in the ninth against Keone Kela, mustering one run on a two-out single by Nelson Cruz. It wouldn’t be enough.
This was the second night in a row the Mariners had a chance to tie the Astros for first place in the AL West. Instead, they’ve blown two winnable games against a really bad team in consecutive nights.
While it’s easy to overreact, there is no denying how unacceptable these performances are. You simply cannot allow 16 runs to the Texas Rangers in the span of 18 innings. While the 2018 Mariners might not be as good as their record shows, they are definitely better than this.
The Mariners, now 33-22, will try to split the series with the Rangers as May comes to an end tomorrow night. Wade LeBlanc (0-0, 2.70 ERA) squares off with Mike Minor (4-3, 5.63 ERA) at 7:10 PM PT on ROOT Sports.