Having two Game 163s to watch Monday was supposed to make for a great day, but it turned out to only be half a great day. Yeah, I have rooting interests, and they were only half met on Monday, but regardless of favored teams we saw one outstanding game with lots of drama and one snoozer with none at all.
We all knew it was coming, but the Mariners were officially eliminated from playoff contention last Friday when the Oakland A's won their game against Minnesota. The promise and giddy joy of the first half of the season, slowly ebbing away since the loss to the Angels on the fourth of July, irrevocably crushed under the cleats of Matt Chapman and company.
As I get ready to watch tonight's Mariner game against the Angels (on a delay—thank you, modern technology), I'm wrapping up the creation of a new page on gs.net. Inspired by a conversation I had a while back with friends who are relatively new to baseball, a reference for baseball terminology and lingo is right here for those times when you're watching a game and the announcer seems to start talking jibberish. It might be jibberish—especially if you're watching a White Sox game, Hawk Harrelson is an add one—but more likely it's something you, the aspiring baseball expert, should know.
The Yankees are here for a weekend series, and Salami contributor and world's only sensitive Yankee fan Bill Abelson brings us the goods on the Bronx Bombers. The Friday night matchup is a beaut, with Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka facing off against The Big Maple. Saturday will feature former Mariner J.A. Happ taking on Felix Hernández, while the Sunday afternoon affair has C.C. Sabathia scheduled for New York and a question mark for the M's. It's possible Marco Gonzales will be activated for that one, or Erasmo Ramírez could take the hill.
The Mariners just finished a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, winning two of the contests and finishing the season series with the Orioles at 6-1. Pretty good, right? A series win after some trying times in this second half is something one might think would lift the flagging spirits of Mariner fandom.
It's September, which means Major League roster limits expand from 25 to 40 for the rest of the regular season. Who have the Mariners added? Well, today we saw a number of moves:
I didn't go to any of the three Dodger games at Safeco Field this past weekend. I had other things going on and no affinity or special dislike of the Dodgers, plus I knew the ticket pricing would be exorbitant, so I skipped the series. This turned out to be a good choice.
As the Dodgers pummel the M's in game one of this weekend series, I've taken some time to update some of the more egregiously outdated player profiles.
After dropping three of four to the underachieveing Blue Jays and two of three in frustrating fashion to the Rangers, the Mariners have somehow come back to take the first three of a four-game series in Houston against the first-place Astros. It's been a huge lift for the club and, frankly, for a fan base that was all but giving up on what has been a tremendous season until the past month or so.Credit manager Scott Servais for trying something different and shaking up his lineup for the Houston series.
In addition to the standard update to the page for the current opposing team, player profiles for Felix Hernández, Denard Span, Zach Duke, and Ryon Healy have been updated/added. Others are still out of date and need attention, I know. If anyone wants to volunteer their help with that, I'm open to it...
Well, that was ugly.
The Mariners were on a winning streak (technically). Now they're not. The sad post-Independence Day fall from grace continues. There's still time for a recovery, but getting thumped by the Rangers is depressing.
The Mariners are on a winning streak. Not an impressive one, sure, but two games is technically a streak. And with the way the M's have performed since they broke their last actual win streak—eight games—on July 4th, two in a row feels like a notable achievement. We all hope this is the beginning of the resurgence Seattle needs to reclaim its playoff standing, but a win like tonight's doesn't do much to calm the nerves of the Mariner still-for-now-but-for-how-much-longer-faithful.
With yesterday's loss to the woeful Toronto Blue Jays, The Mariners have been overtaken by the Oakland A's in the Wild Card race. The M's had held either first place in the division or a Wild Card position from May 18th through August 1st, but after their fantastic June—when they won 19 out of 28—they stumbled badly, playing under .500 for the month of July (10-13) and they've now dropped the first two games in August. Meanwhile, Oakland has surged, going 18-8 since July 1st, and the Astros and Yankees have held their own to hold onto their playoff positions.
The player profiles section has been updated to include the new arrivals—Sam Tuivailala, Adam Warren, Zach Duke, and Cameron Maybin.
July trade season is now over, and it was busy for Major League general managers. Some of the players we speculated about switched teams, some didn't, but all in all, there were 45 trades made since the All-Star Game (July 17th). Many involved the typical rental-type players, but there were some surprising longer-term deals among them too. Here's a quick wrap-up of the moves made by contenders and would-be contenders:
As today's 1:00pm trading deadline approached, GM Jerry Dipoto was, naturally, still working the phones. His efforts landed the Mariners one more piece as we head into the dog days of August, outfielder Cameron Maybin.
The Mariners made two more trades today, bolstering their bullpen with two veteran rental pieces.
Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto struck another deal today, trading minor-league pitcher Seth Elledge to St. Louis for right-handed reliever Sam Tuivailala.While not a high-profile trade, the acquisition does fit Dipoto's pattern of hunting down players in controllable contracts that fit specific needs. In this case, the 25-year-old Tuivailala slots into the Mariners' relief corps as a righty-batter specialist, though he has had full- and multi-inning appearances this year for the Cardinals and could be used that way here as well.Drafted by the Cardinals in 2010, Tuivailala is a converted shortstop with a power arm.
It was brought to my attention that a few areas of the site had been misbehaving of late, so I spent some time today implementing a few fixes:
Now that the All-Star Game is behind us, July Trade Season begins in earnest. Manny Machado has finally been traded (to the Dodgers, for five minor-leaguers) and serves as an unofficial starting gun; let the wheeling and dealing begin!
When the Royals were last in town, I was offered a ticket to my choice of one of the three games in that series. I looked at the schedule, saw that the Saturday game had the fun "Turn Ahead the Clock" promotion and nearly picked that one, but then I looked at the pitching rotation and saw Marco Gonzales' name for the Friday game. "Friday," I told my friend with the ticket connection, "no question." The King still reigns and Big Maple is the undisputed ace, but the guy I want to see pitch is Marco.
So, the fans, the players, and the Commissioner's office have spoken. Only three Seattle Mariners have been selected for the 2018 AL All-Star team: Edwin Díaz, Mitch Haniger, and Nelson Cruz. Something is broken.
I've got a few pet peeves when it comes to the ballpark experience at Safeco Field. Aside from what the Mariners do on the field, I mean.
Mike Zunino was getting the day off on July 4th. Chris Herrmann started at catcher and Z was kicking back in the dugout. But then the Mariners mounted a threat against the Angels and Z was asked to pinch-hit and finish out the game. He walked and singled in his two plate appearances, a very good sign after he spent a good deal of pre-game time working on his batting mechanics with Edgar Martínez and Minor League field coordinator Mike Micucci, but rolled his ankle while running the bases.
It's All-Star season once again, and the 2018 contest in Washington, DC, should have plenty of Mariner representation. Jean Segura, James Paxton, Mitch Haniger, Edwin Díaz, Nelson Cruz, and perhaps Dee Gordon and Marco Gonzales are all deserving of a spot on the AL squad, and in the Mariners' best years they've sent a hefty contingent to the All-Star Game.
Even though the All-Star break traditionally marks the start of the second half of the season, in terms of games played, the Mariners are there now. Having swept the Baltimore Orioles, the M's are now 51-31, 82 games into the 162-game campaign.
Is it just me, or does anyone else think the Mariners' schedule is a bit wack?
It was looking bleak for Your Seattle Mariners not too long ago. On a Sunday afternoon in Detroit, Robinson Canó was hit by a pitch and left the game with a broken hand, and fans began to wonder how the M's would manage without him for perhaps a month or more. Then it was revealed that Canó had also flunked a PED test, so he'd actually miss half the season. Their third-place hitter and MVP candidate gone for half the year?! How could they survive?!
Breaking with recent tradition, the Mariners used their first selection in the 2018 amateur draft on a pitcher, drafting Stetson University sophomore Logan Gilbert with the 14th overall selection.
All-Star voting season is upon us. Sadly, you can no longer vote in person at the ballpark; gone are the days of whiling away the between-innings time by amusing your fellows with ballots filled out for the "all-disabled list team" or "worst-stats-ever team" along with your real choices, consigned to history are seating areas littered with little paper ballot chads.
Marc Rzepczynski leaves the M's after posting an ugly 9.39 ERA this season
This isn't about the Mariners, but a feature in a Minneapolis community paper today by Jim Walsh spotlights Target Field tour guide Bob Lundegaard, father of GrandSalami.net contributor Erik Lundegaard, and I figured it was worth a link. If you're ever in Minneapolis, go for the tour and ask for Bob!
Don't look now, but Your Seattle Mariners are just one game out of first place. On Memorial Day. While their arguably-best player is out on suspension and their other arguably-best player (really, there are several guys you could argue for) on the DL with a broken toe. After a week when the offense couldn't scratch out more than 2.7 runs per game. It's...unsettling.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto made his first in-season trade of the year earlier today, acquiring relief pitcher Alex Colomé and outfielder Denard Span from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league pitchers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero.Colomé led the American League in saves last year with 47, but won't be asked to close in Seattle so long as Edwin Díaz remains effective. Instead, he will slot into a setup role, where Juan Nicasio has struggled.But the big piece of this deal, at least in the short term, appears to be Span.
We don't yet know what it will be called, but the Mariners will continue to play at what is now Safeco Field at least through 2043. The team agreed to terms with the Washington State Public Facilities District for a new 25-year lease that has two three-year options attached that could stretch the life of the agreement through 2049.
Because of a rainout in Detroit last week, the Mariners needed to bring up someone from Triple-A to make a spot start against Texas this past Wednesday afternoon. To make room, the M's designated reliever Erik (don't call him Eddie) Goeddel for assignment.This move struck me as problematic. Goeddel had been very effective in his short time with the Mariners and would certainly be lost to the organization with the DFA; meanwhile, other pitchers had been, shall we say, bad, and probably ought to be cut anyway.Today Goeddel was claimed off the waiver wire by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I was traveling yesterday and thus unable to write or post anything about yesterday's big news, the 80-game suspension of Robinson Canó, until now. I was, however, able to listen to sports radio as I drove and absorb what reactions the news was generating among the Mariner fanbase and mediascape. It was interesting.
On Sunday, Robinson Canó was hit by a pitch and broke his right hand. Today he was handed down an 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball for violating policy on performance-enhancing drug use. He is not having a good week.
I think I can lay my concerns about James Paxton to rest now. In is first start of 2018, Pax looked bad, allowing six runs to the Indians without getting out of the fifth inning. He had three pretty good starts following that, but not great, and then another bad one in Texas. Was there something wrong? Had the Big Maple been cut down to size?
This was the profile I wrote about newcomer Ichiro Suzuki for The Grand Salami back in the spring of 2001:
Well, it's happened. Sort of.As rumored earlier this week, Ichiro Suzuki has hung up his spikes, at least for the remainder of this year. He is not officially retired, according to his agent, but for all practical purposes, the future Hall of Famer's Major League career ended last night, when he played all nine innings in left field for the Mariners in their loss to the Oakland A's.The Mariners are reporting the Ichiro will "transition" to a front office role currently defined as Special Assistant to the Chairman.
Major League Baseball has announced that the Mariners and Oakland Athletics will once again open the season in Japan in 2019. The two games will be held in the Tokyo Dome and the A's will serve as the "home" team. As was the case the last time MLB opened in Japan—also with the Mariners and Athletics, in 2012—the opening series will be held a week in advance of the rest of the league starting the campaign to allow for the M's and A's to readjust to the time difference between Japan and North America (Japan is 17 hours ahead during...
This is unconfirmed. To my knowledge, this remains informed speculation on the part of Root Sports' Brad Adam, based on a text exchange he had with Ichiro. But the scuttlebutt is that Ichiro may call it a career after this week's homestand.
Don't look now, but Your Seattle Mariners are a playoff team.
Following the 2015 season, the Mariners traded one of their promising young starting pitchers, Roenis Elias, to Boston along with reliever Carson Smith, for more seasoned starter Wade Miley. (Miley has since been traded himself, for pitcher Ariel Miranda.) Elias only made four appearances with the Red Sox after that, spending the majority of his time with Boston's Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket, and had a lengthy stint on the disabled list with a strained oblique. This week the Red Sox traded Elias back to the Mariners in exchange for either a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The Mariners are halfway through their current road trip through Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, and Cleveland, having taken the series with the Rangers two games to one and split the first two with the White Sox. How has it gone? Let's examine.
Now, don't get me wrong. Dee Gordon is my guy. He's fast, he bunts, he steals, he hits, he defends. My kind of player. But I've become an enthusiastic booster for Daniel Vogelbach.Vogey is not my kind of player. He's slow, he bashes, he has to work hard not to be relegated to DH. And to me, someone who grew up a devotee of Whitey Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals of the 1980s, he represents the antithesis of cool. Cool was Vince Coleman and Willie McGee burning up the basepaths, Ozzie Smith turning cartwheels as well as double-plays, and Tommy Herr...
Thank the schedulemakers that today is a bizarre Friday off-day for the Mariners. After the last two games, a blowout loss to San Francisco and a fall-from-ahead defeat at the hands of the Twins, this team needs a breather, a chance to reflect on their performance. It's not that the M's lost two straight. That's not that big a deal, and it's going to happen again—I daresay more than once—during the course of the season. It's the squandering of opportunities. The Mariners left 21 runners on base in those two games, going 3-for-29 with runners in scoring position.
Random thoughts on the just-completed San Francisco series...
Commissioner Rob Manfred and baseball executives in general have had a bee in their bonnet about "pace of play" for some time now. They think baseball is allowing games to take too long, that fans don't have the patience for a three-hour game in this modern age of short attention spans and digital distractions.
Game 1 of 162 is in the books, and it was a nailbiter win for Your Seattle Mariners against the Cleveland Ethnically Insensitive Caricatures. Some random observations:
In all of the major sports, what team has gone the longest without appearing in a playoff game? That's right, your Seattle Mariners, who haven't tasted the postseason since 2001.
New catcher Mike Marjama is the subject of the latest mini-documentary from LeBron James' UNINTERRUPTED. In the eight-minute film, Marjama details his struggle with body image and masculinity, which manifested as an eating disorder in his teen years. "I was going to be a man," he says.Professional sports has long been a domain rife with machismo, and whether that's a good thing or not I'll leave to your own sensibilities. But one thing is certain: It takes courage and guts—or, if you prefer the coarse macho language of the locker room, balls—to confront a personal demon like this, persevere, and...
Some Mariner fans are elated. Some are skeptical. And some are disgusted. Whichever camp you may find yourself in, the fact of the matter is that, at age 44, Ichiro Suzuki is a Mariner once more. Personally, I am in the first camp. I have always loved watching Ichiro play, and I'm delighted to get the chance to see him in person once again at Safeco Field. That Ichiro has the opportunity to continue his Major League career at all is satisfying, and getting to see him climb up the hits leaderboard back in a Mariners jersey is a sweet,...
Determining the price of a Mariners ticket is a complicated matter these days.