The Mariners’ Disappointing Performance Drags On

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The Seattle Mariners are in a tailspin, and it’s not even one of those wrecks that you can’t take your eyes off of. Mariner baseball is straight-up painful to watch right now, as they’ve claimed sole possession of last place in the American League (AL) West division for the first time since August 2020. They were heading into one of the easier stretches they’ve had this year: the Boston Red Sox were struggling and the Oakland Athletics were supposed to be terrible. Yet, Seattle only came away with one win in seven games this past week.

The misery started on May 19, when Boston’s major offseason acquisition Trevor Story broke out of his early-season woes and mashed three home runs over the course of the game, finishing with a line of 4-4 with three home runs, seven RBI, and a walk to top it off. The Mariners threw five pitchers out there, all of which took home an earned run for their troubles. The only consolation was Julio Rodriguez’s solo home run in the ninth, which cut the deficit to its final score of 12-6.

Story stayed hot in game two, taking Robbie Ray deep for a grand slam in the third inning, and giving the Red Sox an early 4-0 lead. Jackie Bradley Jr. added to the lead in the eighth inning with a three-run bomb off Anthony Misiewicz, but the four runs would have been enough regardless as the Mariners fell 7-3.

The Mariners scored four early runs in the first inning off Garrett Whitlock the next day thanks to six base hits, but all good things must come to an end. Down 5-1 in the fifth inning, Rafael Devers went yard for the second time, that game off of Chris Flexen to highlight a four-run effort that tied the game. In the bottom of the eighth, Christian Vazquez drove a single into center field to score off Franchy Cordero, securing a 6-5 lead and the win. Potentially more important was the injury of Abraham Toro, who collided with Adam Frazier in the outfield in the fourth inning, placing Toro on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder injury.

Hoping to scrape away a victory in Boston, the Mariners played a fierce game and were tied at 3-3 at the end of regulation. Frazier and Eugenio Suarez were to thank for the runs scored, both having hit home runs throughout the game. Logan Gilbert threw a seven-inning gem, allowing just three runs and laying claim to his throne as the best the Mariners have to offer. Frazier drove in his third run of the game in the 10 inning, meaning the Mariners had three outs to secure their undefeated extra-innings streak so far this year. Unfortunately, back-to-back singles in the bottom of the inning scored a run to tie the game, and Andres Munoz loaded the bases with two outs for Cordero. Down 0-2 in the count, Cordero launches a grand slam to secure the series sweep in the 8-4 win.

It was truly demoralizing as the Mariners came home to face off against Oakland, but the first game went relatively well. The offense got to Zach Logue early and often to the tune of three home runs:

  • Rodriguez’s fourth home run of the season (first at home) in the third.
  • Cal Raleigh’s fourth home run of the season (in five total hits) in the fourth.
  • Eugenio Suarez’s team-leading ninth home run of the season in the fifth.

The Athletics had meanwhile scored three runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth, the Mariners barely clinging to a 7-6 lead. However, thanks to 3.2 scoreless innings by four bullpen arms, the Mariners would hang onto their lead for a win in the series opener.

If you read the opening paragraph, you know how the rest of the series went. But it’s worth talking about anyway; if only to put the spotlight on the return of Kyle Lewis. Lewis won the AL Rookie of the Year award with the Mariners in 2020, before missing the second half of the 2021 season with a knee injury. Back purely as a designated hitter for now, he made his season debut in game two. Lewis smacking two hits and Rodriguez hitting his second home run in as many games felt a lot better than the end score of 7-5 Oakland would indicate.

Game three was a fair bit less fun. Ray threw a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings and striking out 10 batters. His runs came off two stray home runs by Seth Brown and Elvis Andrus, but those were enough to win the game. The Mariners scraped together two runs in the seventh and eighth innings but the Athletics would win 4-2 to take the series victory.

With all that despair, what good is there to take away from this? Well, Gilbert has proven himself as one of the better pitchers in baseball. The offense is consistently producing on a level we fans might not be used to. The Mariners are relatively on par with the record of the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals. My fantasy team might win their first session this year thanks to the three-home-run, eight-RBI performance by San Francisco’s Joc Pederson.

Other than that, we watch them because they’re the Mariners, not because they’re the best team in baseball. Contrary to what the record might tell you, we are very fortunate to have the Mariners to root for. There are fans of other desolate franchises across the country that are stuck in an endless cycle of mediocrity with no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It could always be worse.