except nobody planned the A’s to be a VERY GOOD TEAM.
The M's in the top of the 1st inning looked like they wanted to make up for the humiliation of game one. Segura smacked a single and stole second, and then Robinson Cano smoked a long single to score Segura easily. 1-0. Even after that, Boomstick racked a menacing line drive and then Ryan Healy singled. Seager struck out, looking every bit the 70-single man that Mo' Dawg sez he is, but still it looked like all the makings of a nice comfy 8-3 win vs. a 100-loss team.
Erasmo Ramirez quickly gave the lead back, though, in the bottom of the first for a 1-1 tie and then in the 2nd, gave up no-doubter HR's to the Padres. The Mariners' chins dropped and their chests collapsed. (For those interested in technical-type details, Ramirez spent the day going 0-1, 0-2 and then nibbling the outside of the zone to death. The idea of "expanding the zone" means that 50% of the time you go outside the zone a little bit, not 100% of the time. All the M's pitchers are showing us death by a thousand paper cuts of predictability.)
In the 3rd inning --- > single, double, home run, 5-1 lead. Mound visit. Single, single, single, 6-1 Padres. Check the last time San Diego swept a series.
The A's lost a 1-run game, so we're at
THERE'S GOOD NEWS: THE SCHEDULE IS ABSOLUTELY IDEAL
If you check the b-ref schedule and results page, you find that the A's beat the M's in fine style on Monday-Tuesday August 13-14, before Mike Leake saved a sweep in a 2-0 win on the 15th. Since then the M's have: Lost a series to the Dodgers, lost a series to Houston, won one from Arizona, and botched two in San Diego. A 4-6 streak, so I guess we can't make a super big deal out of the 10 games since.
Moreover, the offense has some good games in there: 5 runs in a walkoff win over the Dodgers, 7 in a win over Houston and 7 in a dreary loss to Houston thrown away early, 6 and 4 in the two wins over Arizona. So, Dr. D's suspicion that the A's took the wind out of the M's bats would NOT be much to lean yer can on.
- 4 against Oakland. Yee-haw.
- 3 against Baltimore that you'd BETTER not botch.
- 3 against the WC leader NYY,
- and then 6 games' worth of breathers against poor teams.
To put that in English: a couple of giant, exciting "catchup" series plus a full 9 games' worth of powder puffs to lay into. A good two weeks and the M's are back within two or back in the lead. Especially with Zeus back and a rejuvenated* Felix. I break that all down very easily on paper: 3-1 vs Oakland, sweep Balmer, beat NYY by 2-1, score 4-2 vs SD and LAA. Boom, a quick 12-4 and all this is a distant, ugly memory.
Of course, "a good two weeks" would involve doing some winning, at least, if not playing .750 like Oakland's done for two months.
... or actually two days ago, although I didn't get the prediction in til today. The season is dead. D-E-A-D, dead. Time of death indeterminate, although I first noticed the utter lack of pulse when someone named Jacob Nix cleared the seventh inning with no true outcomes, zero runs, and a 65 pitch count. I've seen this before. We all have. Doc is dead right with that graphic: the team is back to Zombie Mariners.
"But then Cruz homered, and the other guys ground out at-bats," you say. "But the next day we came out roaring in the first!" "But we still face the Orcs and control our own destiny!" All good points. Excellent points. In support of zombification!
You see, zombies are not truly dead. They are characterized by the functional absence of vitality, occasionally interspersed with grotesque, spasmodic simulations of agency. The positive signs around this team aren't signs of life, they're the hallmark shambling of an undead corpse.
Now don't get me wrong, the Mariners may still do some interesting things from here on out. Zombies are dangerous, after all. Who wouldn't want to see a cage match between a horde of orcs and a pestilence of zombies? Why that's must see tv! But one things zombies never, ever do is win a race. Even if we turn out to be fast zombies (which exist in maybe 9.2% of the literature, according to ZomGraphs), the protagonists will whirl around at the last moment and stove in our heads. That's the scenario where we miss by 1-2 games. It's the best case scenario.
I'd love to be wrong. Boy would I love to be wrong! But I'm not. The Mariners have made cryptozoologists of us all by now, and I know a zombie when I see one. So I'm declaring the season undead. Not dead, like the Padres, but undead. Now I will watch with idle semi-interest to see if someone drops us with a shotgun, or if they just wait for us to decompose and fall over on our own. Like the rotting, maggot-riddled, life-deficient husks we are.
There, I said it. Prove me wrong, M's.
We've a rendezvous with Death,
At some disputed barricade....
(The Orcland Coliseum)
If we go 1-3 vs. the Orcs, then he shall take us by the hand
And lead us into his dark land.
Yet, it may be that we shall pass him still,
But likely not with Erasmo, Felix and a weary Gonzo on the hill.
God knows ‘twere better to be deep
abed, wrapped in pennant and soft playoff down,
Smiling while asleep.
Ah, the dream we've held most dear.
But we've a rendezvous with Death
Perhaps this evening in some flaming Orc-town,
As Autumn trips north again this year,
And to our Mariner tradition we will be true,
We shall not fail that rendezvous.
(With apologies to Alan Seeger, who clearly understood the Mariners: 1888-1916)