It is now two weeks into the season, and the Mariners are at .385, after last night’s loss to Houston.
Sadly, with the exception of the three games I have actually been at, I have not seen a complete Mariners game since the season started. I have seen the beginnings of pretty much all of them, and the end of Sunday’s ridiculous walk-off win against the Rangers (had a late night Saturday, wound up falling asleep on the couch before I had the chance to even star that one), but while games are progressing a bit more quickly than before (I am assuming this is due to the new clocking system), 10PM is still a bit late for me to stay up on the daily. I keep trying. The away games will be easier to deal with.
I am not panicking – it’s far too early for that nonsense – and the home runs have been fun, but so far I have to say I am a little disappointed. The weird thing is, I have gone into every single one of these games expecting a win; but not because I’m being overzealous, and not in the way that I’ll be upset if they don’t win. But I have been approaching this season with a lot more joy than in the past few years. I still feel really good about things, becaues the flashes of amazing we have seen so far are really and truly amazing. We’ve had a lot to look forward to, even in the context of a loss. The home runs have been out of control for the Mariners so far this year, with Nelson Cruz having 8 already, and Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley adding 2 and 3, respectively. Robinson Cano is doing his work as a 2B hitter, collecting 7 over the last 13 games. Seth Smith has been plate patience personified (he is my new favorite, I think), and is doing some excellent production with eyes and bat, but in all of this hitting (we have five guys so far who have hit double digits in hits), there is either too much of something or not quite enough, and I’m not quite sure what it might be. It seems as if there is some pressing going on, and they just need to settle down and play ball.
I feel like the team is being much more aggressive than it needs to be and not quite as smart as it should be. Pitching is a little sloppy, baserunning could use some work (I’m not going to really get into Cano’s gaffe over the weekend in LA. It was embarrassing and weird and I’m sure he feels bad enough without fans dragging him through the mud over it), and it still feels like we can’t really come through when it matters, and if a batter does manage to come up with an on-the-spot hit, it’s a too-little-too-late sort of thing. I’d like to think that a lot of this is just shaking off the rust from the offseason, and that as the end of April approaches and May and warmer weather rolls around, things will start to heat up and they’ll play like they do on paper. I have 19-plus games to attend this year, and that alone makes me happy, but it feels like this month has gone past really quickly with very little to show for it. Especially when my Tigers are 11-2 already, and Baltimore is hovering in second place after the Red Sox. We can do better than this, and I feel that more than I have in a while.
Otherwise, I am really happy to have baseball back. I like that I have games to look forward to just about every day again, even if I can’t stay awake for their duration. This upcoming Saturday is a season ticket holder early entry day, and I am very excited for it. I would love for it to be sunny and nice out, but if it’s chilly, so much the better for wearing my new Hisashi Iwakuma bear hat (if it fits, my head is massive). I may even get into the spirit of things and see if I can nab an autograph or two for my backpack. We’ll get there, and there is still a lot of baseball left to be played.