Move over 1992 team! There’s a brand new leader for the Mariners franchise when it comes to all-time consecutive losses.
Today was the 15th defeat in a row for Seattle and unlike No. 14 last night, this 12-8 beatdown was not a case of the M’s playing their hearts out. The pitching was terrible, starting with Michael Pineda’s inability to protect an early lead and finishing with some attrocious bullpen outings.
There were also the mental gaffes: by Ichiro getting picked off first base on the back end of a first and third situation. And by Aaron Laffey, forgetting the infield shift was on for David Ortiz and looking to throw to third when he picked up a grounder that resulted in an infield single. Adam Kennedy was playing midway between third and second and had charged in on the ball as well, meaning Laffey either had to cover the bag himself, or throw to first base.
Not heads-up baseball. Not mentally tough baseball. Not good baseball. Pretty embarrassing baseball.
And now, this team having flushed its season down the toilet before the month of July even ends, the Mariners face the prospect of heading into Yankee Stadium for three more games.
Everybody knows the pressure these guys are putting on themselves to win a game. But they won’t do it playing like they did today.
We’ve now seen two veterans picked off at first base with runners at the corners in the last six days. M’s manager Eric Wedge, I think, is starting to get a taste of what Don Wakamatsu had to suffer through last season.
The Mariners woke up once again when it was too late and padded their stats a bit. You had Brendan Ryan hitting that grand slam to ruin Tim Wakefield’s day a bit when it was an 11-3 game in the seventh.
Yeah, the M’s are scoring some runs on this road trip. But a lot of them are coming in “garbage time” and don’t really portend to anything. Had this team been improving on offense, it would have scored a few more last night when a game was still on the line.
The solution to this?
There is none. The M’s have to keep plugging away and hope the law of averages eventually turns out in their favor.
But when we wrote back at the All-Star Break that this squad was in danger of losing 90 or even 100 games, it was because of this. Eventually, you knew the pitching would take a step back a bit. Not to the tune of six runs allowed per game, but just a bit.
And an offense that scores one or two runs when a game matters can’t keep up with that.
How many times have we seen this team down by multiple runs before it gets any offense going?
Amd of course, now, and really, ever since the start of the Toronto series, the Mariners have been beating themselves. It isn’t just the offense. It’s the frustration, the distractions that come with a streak of this magnitude.
This is a human game played by human beings with human emotions that do impact the game’s outcome.
So, this group of M’s humans is now all alone in franchise history. If they want this nightmare to end, they’ll literally have to play a mistake-free ballgame and hope the guys putting on the unis can live up to the hype.
If not, well, here’s some consolation. That 2013 pennant run is still a ways off.