erik lundegaard

Sunday October 03, 2021

Believed

Well, so much for that.

What did I write a few weeks ago about the M's playoff chances?

If we went 10-2 [the rest of the way] maybe we would make the postseason for the first time since 2001. 

We wound up going 10-3 (I forgot a game) and lost out on the playoffs on the final day, as we fell to the Angels, 7-3. (Moot point, since both the Yankees and BoSox won their games to take the wild card spots regardless of what we did.) Shohei Ohtani hit a homer on the second pitch of the game, Angels scored four runs in the first two innings, and we were never really in it. By the end, Mariners announcer Rick Rizzs kept telling us if we could only load the bases—we're just a grand slam behind. Yes. If only. Just.

Last March, my friend Tim asked a few of us to make predictions for the Mariners season and this is what I wrote:

Erik: 83-79, 2nd place, will miss a Wild Card berth by one game.

They did better than I thought (90-72), with less than I thought (last year's Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis was injured), and they made this city care about baseball again. It's been a while. Twenty seasons, basically. 

On Twitter, someone mentioned how the Mariners were imploding today, and sportswriter Howard Bryant trotted out the usual SABR/common-sense response, which is: Yeah, they're not that good. To which I would say: Yes. And that's exactly the point. They're not that good and yet they won 90 games. They took it to the final game of the season. Among their regulars, they have zero .300/.400/.500 guys. Wait, scratch that. Not only do they not have one player with that batting line, which Edgar did regularly, but they don't have any player that fits any of that criteria. We don't have a regular who hit .300. We don't have a regular with an on-base percentage of .400. Nobody on our team slugged .500. Instead, we had this:

  • .200/.300/.400: Mitch Haniger, Ty France
  • .200/.200/.400: Kyle Seager, Luis Torrens
  • .200/.300/.300: J.P. Crawford, Tom Murphy (Murphy barely on two of those) 
  • .100/.200/.300: Jarred Kelenic, Dylan Moore

It's not a recipe for success; it's actually a recipe for disaster. And yet somehow these guys won 90 games. That's the story. How did they do it? I hope the Mariners are trying to figure it out. 

I like these kids—particularly J.P. Crawford and Mitch Haniger, and I have every finger crossed for Jarred Kelenic. I just wish I could've seen them more often. I have the MLB.TV package but don't have cable, which means I can watch pretty much any team at any time except for the Mariners. There's a blackout on local teams. Makes zero sense if you have any kind of long-term vision for the sport. But that's who's running the sport: people without long-term vision.

Anyway, here's to the kids. I don't know how you did it. But thanks for doing it. 

Posted at 06:28 PM on Sunday October 03, 2021 in category Seattle Mariners  
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