Caught Looking

The 2021 Mariners Hit Parade, Singular

Yesterday I went to my fourth Mariners game of this hopefully post-pandemic season but I didn't stay until the end. Sat in the usual seats, 300 level behind home plate, but my friend Jim was bothered by the overloud sound system, which both discouraged our conversation and hurt his ears, so we left after seven with the M's down 4-1. By the time I got home, the game was done, 7-1. That top of the ninth must've been brutal: infield single, walk, single, single, sac fly, passed ball. Death by a thousand cuts. Then the M's went in order without getting the ball out of the infield, and that was that. Time for the All-Star break.

Also time to access how we're doing.

Not poorly, all in all. This team of kids and second-chancers is 48-43, five games over .500, the sixth-best record in the AL. We're just 3½ games out of the last Wild Card spot with no one between us and Oakland.

Also poorly. We're last in the Majors in batting average and OBP (.216/.292), and 26th in slugging. Our run differential is -50, which indicates our winning ways aren't really sustainable.

I haven't seen much of those winning ways in person, by the way. Of the four games I've been to, the M's are 1-3, managing a total of 5 runs on 13 hits—or an average of 1.25 runs on 3.25 hits per game. Fun. The May 5 no-hitter didn't help matters but in the other games we weren't exactly Murderers Row: 5 hits, 4 hits, 4 hits. I've seen one home run and zero crooked numbers in any inning. Even with the lowest batting average in baseball, the M's still manage about 7 hits a game. So I guess I've just been lucky.

Or is it that I've only gone to day games? Do the M's do worse in those?

Not really: .215 BA during the day vs. .217 at night. We're not even the worst in the Majors in day games. The Yankees, of all teams, are beneath us with a shocking .212/.251 day/night split. Not sure what to make of that—other than to yet again lobby MLB to play more postseason games during the day.

No, the starker split for the M's is home/away games. Away from Seattle, we hit .230, 19th-best. In Seattle it's .203, which is not only the worst home batting average, it's the worst by 13 points. Yet somehow we having a winning home record: 29-20.

So maybe where we really do poorly is home day games like the ones I go to. Except, after a little leg work, no, there's nothing really there, either. With those, M's average 3.3 runs per game on 5.08 hits. It's worse than what they normally do but better than what I've seen.

So maybe I'm the jinx? They always seem to do better when I'm not there. I can't help but flash on the 2003 movie The Cooler, in which the lugubrious William H. Macy is hired by a Vegas casino to bring bad luck to its patrons. (Macy also played a Lundegaard, remember.) Maybe the M's should hire me not to go to games? Or they could just keep blasting the 300-level patrons with their overloud sound system. That might keep me away, too.

Anyway, here's to the kids and the second-chancers in the second half. Given what we've done, I'm amazed at where we are. “Ya gotta believe” has been taken as a slogan but we could go with something similar. The 2021 Seattle Mariners: Ya never know.

 

This article is cross-posted at eriklundegaard.com.

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