The Mariners Not So Mighty Casey
By Josh Maduell
Under the circumstances, Monday’s Mariners game was the most important this season. They recently lost the second wild-card position after owning it most of the season. The A’s team who leapfrogged them are playing other-worldly baseball.
Since mid-June, our green and yellow foes have lost 12 games. After being double-digit games behind the Mariners two months ago, they find themselves sitting two-and-a-half up and in playoff position.
After a statement road sweep of the Astros, the M’s had momentum and just a one-and-a-half game deficit of their rival A’s. If the Mariners get swept this series, they’re far from out but in the danger zone. They need to at least salvage a game upon exit from Oakland this Wednesday.
Sports is one big woulda-coulda-shoulda. Last night was the A’s night and they outplayed the M’s in every aspect. But I can’t stress enough how meaningful the series opener was. If you lose, that’s okay. You tried and it wasn’t your night. But at least lose using your best options.
Mariners reliever Casey Lawrence has spent most of his career in the Minors since 2010 since starting with the Blue Jays. The man has 35 career outings. Through eight games, his ERA is 8.31 (career 6.81) while his opponent average this year is .292, 44 points above the league average.
I’m still trying to grasp why Scott Servais put him in when he did. It’s different if the M’s are down by a bundle and he’s trying to clock Casey hours. But when he entered, the Mariners were still in the contest. A three-run deficit is nothing in a playoff chase and there were better alternatives in the ‘pen.
Lawrence has had a brief MLB career with north-of-average numbers. It seemed delusional that Servais thought he could come in and dominate the hottest team in baseball. It’s great that Lawrence struck out Marcus Semien but that was his only high point. Otherwise, the A’s shelled him and he took the hitting out of the game.
Even if it was the A’s night, you increase your chance of staying in the game with a tired Pazos. Or use the new acquisitions (Duke & Warren) acquired by your boss last month. After rough starts, the two are looking better. Maybe the three-run ninth gives the M’s the lead instead of coming up short.
Scott Servais has done a good job at the helm. He has made the team relevant with two winning records his first three seasons. His club is comfortably over .500 at 18 games. But after last night, I question how much he knows his bullpen. Putting a pitcher with an 8+ ERA against a scorching opponent usually ends badly.