By the time you read this post, I’ll be out of the house and on my way to a baseball game. My Mariners are in town for the last time this season. They’ve got three more games against the As–the last three games of the season–but since those games are in Seattle, this is my last chance to see them live this year.
The As are 71-54, fighting with Texas for the division lead. Even if they lose the fight, they still have an excellent chance of making the playoffs.
The Mariners are 58-67, fighting with Anaheim for third place in the division. It would take a minor miracle for them to finish the season at .500; they’re pretty much right on track to match last year’s 75-87 record.
The game is at O.co Coliseum (no, that’s not a typo, it really is “O.co”), one of the grungiest stadiums in all of baseball.
And yet, I’m still happy to be going.
Despite what MLB says, until there’s a team in Portland or Vancouver, Oakland is the Mariners’ natural rival, not San Diego.
There are still stories to follow.
On the Mariners’ side, will Rauuuuuuuul break the over-40 home run record? Counting today, he’s got 37 games to hit 10 more. Five more would give him the over-41 record.
Will their second baseman and short stop of the future avoid another “learning experience” in the field? Errors are a fact of life, especially for rookies. But do they have to come in clumps like this? How long will Nick Franklin, the 2BotF, be out of action after taking the As’ catcher’s spikes in his shin last night?
Will their number two pitcher show up with a seven inning, one run performance like his last start, or will the imposter who gave up six runs in the previous game show up?
Across the diamond, the As specialize in building teams of no-names and getting top performances out of them.
Will an emergency call-up come out of nowhere to astound?
Will Josh Donaldson continue his assault on a .300 batting average and .900 OPS?
Will Coco Crisp’s wrist hold up? For that matter, will former Mariner, now A, John Jaso recover from his concussion and get back into the As lineup? He hasn’t played since July 24, and may be out for the rest of the season. (Jaso took foul balls to the head on the 23rd and the 24th. Who says baseball isn’t a violent game?) How long will the As’ other catcher, Derek Norris, be out after fracturing a toe when he got his spikes caught in Nick Franklin’s shin last night?
There’s cause for depression (a 4-4 record on this road trip so far) and optimism (those 8 games were against three of the best teams in the league, and had the Mariners avoided a couple of mental lapses, the record on this trip could easily have been 6-2).
Depression: Why can’t the Mariners manage to pitch, hit, and field in the same game? Other teams do it.
Optimism: At least they manage two out of three most days. That’s more than we could say a couple of years ago–or even at times earlier this year.
But the bottom line? It’s baseball, damn it!
See you all tomorrow.