As August winds down, a legend has announced he’ll be returning next season. But there’s a catch. The Seattle Mariners have had one of the weirdest seasons I’ve ever witnessed, considering last season, their projected potential this season, and so on. The latest casualty: their general manager.
Unrelated: You cannot stop the Toronto Blue Jays offense. At this point, you can’t even hope to contain it. Plus, a couple of stat lines that will make you double take, unless you’ve noticed Milwaukee’s season in the slightest this year.
Pour One Out for Vin Scully
Vin Scully is 87 years old. He announced he’d return to the Los Angeles Dodgers booth for the 2016 season, marking his 67th consecutive year in broadcasting. Shortly after, he stated that it’s likely to be his last:
a�?I would say realistically — and I don’t want any headlines — but I would say next year would be the last one. How much longer can you go fooling people? I would be saying, `Dear God, if you give me next year, I’ll hang it up.’a�?
Two things, sir. One, you’re going to get headlines. I mean, come on; you’re Vin Scully, dammit. And two, you could go on as long as your heart desires. That said, it’s safe to say you don’t owe us a single thing. It’s been one helluva career.
Come to think of it, Bob Uecker has to be close to considering calling it a day as well. He’s already been cutting back on the number of games he covers per season; it’s only a matter of time, right? Think we can get Ueck and Scully to call a game together before their careers end?
We can dream.
Changing of the Guard
In October of 2008, Jack Zduriencik was hired as the general manager of the Seattle Mariners, with the club hoping his track record in Milwaukee would translate to success out west. Instead, there’s been plenty of disappointment to go around. This season was supposed to be different, and in a way, it was.
Turns out it was so poor, Zduriencik lost his job this week, effective immediately. His first season in charge, 2009, was okay. The club finished 85-77, but third in their divisiona��this was before the Houston Astros made the move to the American Leaguea��and failed to earn a postseason spot.
The next four years from 2010 through 2013 would prove to be very difficult, with the Mariners never winning more than 75 games in a particular season. There had to be a sense of urgency for Zduriencik, realizing results hadn’t improved over the course of his tenure. As we sit here today, this is a team that hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2001, and won’t see them this year either.
He splashed the cash in a big way two seasons ago by acquiring second baseman Robinson Canoa��locking him up through an asinine 10-year, $240 million contract at the age of 30 years old. It was bad business from a long-term organizational point of view, but Mariners fans were desperate for something to cheer about. This was that something, so from that perspective I understand it. And in Cano’s first season, the team as a whole gave them plenty to cheer abouta��finishing 87-75 but just missing out on the second wild card spot in the American League.
They were supposed to build on that in 2015, but instead Cano faltered, the starting rotation faltered, and here we sita��Seattle is 60-69, 11 games out of the division, and seven games off the pace for the second wild card. Even the signing of Nelson Cruz, who has been stellar (.317/.385/.605, 39 HR), hasn’t been nearly enough.
What will it take to get this team back to the playoffs? I don’t have the answer; Felix Hernandez has been roughed up more than usual this season, and at 35, Cruza��despite how incredible he’s been the past two seasons nowa��cannot produce like this too much longer, I imagine. After all, Dave Cameron can’t be wrong forever, right?
From a 2014 full of unexpected highs to a 2015 with numerous unexpected lows, it looks as though the Mariners haven’t really changed a bit. Truthfully, that’s unfortunate.
Edwin EncarnaciA?n, Blue Jays Rolling
The Blue Jays have plenty going for them right now. They’re first place in the AL East, are 8-2 in their last 10 gamesa��oh, and there’s this:
Blue Jays 23-6 with +91 run differential since acquiring Troy Tulowitzki.
a�� Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) August 30, 2015
A run differential of +91 in a 29-game stretch. If that weren’t unbelievable enough, there’s this: a run differential of +186 over the course of the season, which is good enough for best in baseball. St. Louis comes in second at +135. They’ve scored 709 runs in total, and are the only team so far this season to do so. Next closest? The New York Yankees with 607 runs scored. David Price has bolstered their rotation just in time for the playoff stretch run, and their offense has been on another planeta��with Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, and Edwin EncarnaciA?n all mashing at the plate. Speaking of EncarnaciA?n, after Saturday’s 15-1 win against the Tigers he’s registered a hit in 24 consecutive games. He decided a little flair was necessary, slugging three home runs on the afternoon. It’s true that pitching is crucial to a postseason runa��just ask Madison Bumgarnera��but if their offense can get hot like this in October (assuming they’re in the mix then), it’s hard to imagine another team keeping up. Then again, those playoff teams will have more competent and consistent pitching. Regardless, it’s been one helluva ride in the American League this season with teams like the Blue Jays and Astros emerging.
Regression Hits Hard
When the season started, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza were the No. 1 and 2 starters, respectively, for the Milwaukee Brewers. Neither of them were aces, of course, but at the very least they were supposed to be solid veterans. They’ve been anything but. If you’re looking for consistency, though, then you’ve come to the right place! Remember: consistent does not mean good. Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we? Shield your eyes if it gets to be too much.
Lohse: 136.1 IP, 95 runs allowed (all earned), 6.27 ERA.
Garza: 144 IP, 97 runs allowed (89 earned), 5.56 ERA.
Of all starters in baseball this season, they hold the worst and third-worst ERA marks, respectively. They are also second and third worst in earned runs allowed, behind only Jeff Samardzija (98). Woof. The good news for the Brewers? Lohse’s contract expires after the 2015 season. The bad news: Garza still has two years and $25 million left on his deal, and that’s excluding his odd vesting option for 2018. Suffice to say, Milwaukee’s season has gone wrong in just about every way imaginable.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference