Last weekend was not ideal for the Seattle Mariners in any case. Coming off a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Mariners played host to the lowly Los Angels of Anaheim. The Angels came in losers of six straight and sat at a poor 13-20 through the first 33 games while the surprising Mariners stood atop the AL West at 21-13.
The weekend series looked, however, as though the teams had exchanged records. Steve Cishek blew two ninth inning leads and the reliable Joel Peralta was tagged as well both Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the Mariners failed to provide offense for Felix Hernandez yet again and the Angels swept away the Mariners in a disastrous series for Seattle.
In years past, a deflating sweep like that would haunt the Mariners for awhile. One sweep would to turn to another, and before you knew it the M’s would be several games under .500 and unable to find any wins. It has been a common occurrence in recent years, and has been a big reason the team has not made the playoffs since 2001. One slip up and the Mariners would come crashing down to earth and return to the mediocrity they have been entrenched in for years.
Yesterday proved however, that this is no ordinary Mariners team. Coming off the series against the Angels, the daunting task of the Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards, and Mariner killer Adam Jones awaited. Every year one thing would be nearly certain for Seattle and that is the guarantee they would struggle in Baltimore. Even in the Orioles down years, they generally pounded Seattle. This year has not been a down year for Baltimore in any way, and their offense, led by Manny Machado and former Mariner Mark Trumbo has been dynamic while Chris Tillman has led a solid rotation. For most M’s fans, going to Baltimore seemed to ensure the team went on a tailspin.
Except that did not happen. The Mariners came firing out of the gates with two early runs, and Wade Miley held the Orioles hitless until the fifth, and gave up just two hits in six innings. Robinson Cano continued to do what Robinson Cano does and Nelson Cruz came alive with five RBIs, including a home run. The suddenly red-hot Kyle Seager added a three-run bomb of his own.
The Mariners bullpen settled down as well, tossing three scoreless innings after the weekend struggles. The end result was a Mariners rout by a score of 10-0, shocking considering the talent of Baltimore and Seattle’s aforementioned struggles. With a Texas Rangers’ loss, the M’s jumped back up to first place in the division and aim to extend the lead with young stud Taijuan Walker on the bump tonight.
*Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, the Orioles bounced back Wednesday, beating the Mariners 5-2. Regardless, the general attitude of hope and faith remains strong for M’s fans.