The Mariners finished the month of March/April 17-11. They finished the month of May 17-11 and they currently sit one game back from first place in the American League West. Despite early injuries and losing Robinson Cano to an 80 game suspension, the M’s have literally surprised everyone. Houston has held their ground, though. With a two game set in Houston in the first week of June, that could easily be the momentum Seattle needs to catapult themselves into first place.
The Cano suspension has me thinking. I’ve talked to numerous baseball super-fans regarding the issue, and asked them what the M’s should do when Cano eventually comes back in August. Transitioning Dee Gordon to the outfield was a solid approach Seattle used to fill the needs of the team at the time. Without Cano being suspended, the Mariners would’ve not needed to pick up Denard Span. He has worked out so far in platooning the outfield. Heredia is solid and Haniger is coming around. So the question remains: where will Cano fit when he comes back?
The rumor has mill spun up around this one quickly. Nelson Cruz is a free agent after this season so that leaves the DH spot open. Ryon Healy is a solid hitter with exceptional first base skills. If Gordon goes back to the OF, someone has to leave. Will it be Span? He’s not a long term player for the Mariners, anyway. So there’s that option. Heredia will more than likely stay as will Haniger. Seattle might go to a Cano/Cruz DH spot for the remainder of the ’18 season, and put Cano in the DH spot and not re-sign Cruz. Those all seem like viable options. The Mariners will obviously be in the market for a slugger to fill the void that Cruz leaves if he doesn’t come back to Seattle.
A key point to keep in mind is that Cano is ineligible to play in the postseason. So that puts the Mariners in a severely tight spot. Cano has sort of flushed his leverage down the toilet with the suspension, and gives the Mariners every right to use him to their benefit and not really taking in consideration of what he wants. His Hall of Fame plaque hangs in the balance of the skeptics, and his future with the Mariners is uncertain at this point. So when he does come back to the team, depending on how the season is shaping up and how their playoff hopes look, Gordon just might stay at second base.
James Paxton was approaching a very important milestone of this career tonight. Coming into tonight’s game, he was sitting at 499 strike outs. He K-ed Nomar Mazara in the bottom of the 1st to record his 500th career strikeout. The James Paxton Maple Grove couldn’t have been more excited. All through the game I got to listen to the infamous “eh! eh! eh!” chant as Paxton sat on a two strike count. It was beautiful.
The Mariners drew first blood on a sharp ground ball to left field. Segura scored on the play giving Seattle the 1-0 lead in the top half of the third inning. The Rangers quickly answered back in the fourth with a Jurkison Profar triple that scored Mazara. Bad things and poor calls by the umpires during Mariners games seemed to always decide the outcome of the game resulting in a M’s loss. In all the games I’ve been to, it’s always been that way. Nothing ever went the Mariners way. So when Matt Moore threw a passed ball and then a wild pitch (both thrown while Gordon Beckham was batting) resulting in two runs for the M’s, I was dumbfounded. Seattle has always been on the receiving end of this sort of stuff.
The Mariners expanded their 4-2 lead after the crazy wild pitching bottom of the fourth and continued to beat on the Rangers through the sixth inning. Seattle took a 5-3 lead going into the seventh inning but the Rangers quickly started making progress to an eventual win. Tied at five apiece in the seventh, Robinson Chirinos doubled on a deflected ball by Ryon Healy that scooted into right field. That scored two runs making it 7-5 Texas. In the bottom of the ninth, Ben Gamel scored on a Nelson Cruz single putting the M’s within one to tie the game, but Healy grounded out to third and that was the ball game.
Texas Rangers 7 Seattle Mariners 6
Total Lifetime Games Attended: 165
Total Baseballs Snagged This Season: 19
Total Lifetime Baseballs Snagged: 383
Total Lifetime Foul Balls Snagged: 1
Total Lifetime Home Run Balls Snagged: 0
One day ago Robinson Cano was suspended from playing baseball for 80 games. A few of my followers on Twitter claim to have not been surprised by the recent news. New reports have surfaced saying the Yankees declined to re-sign Cano because they may have known he was using steroids. Perhaps the most surprising news (for me anyway) is that Cano was not exactly suspended because of testing positive for steroids. He was suspended for testing positive for using Furosemide, a diuretic sometimes used to hide the presence of other banned substances. Cano stated that he had taken the drug inadvertently and noted it was not a performance-enhancing drug. Major League Baseball does not care.
“I would never do anything to cheat the game I love”, Cano said in a statement. Players are commonly labeled “cheaters” by fans after testing positive for anything on the banned substance list. It doesn’t even have to be a steroid. Cano has already started his 80 game suspension and he will do some of it while on the disabled list (fracture finger). His tentative return date is August 14th. He is also ineligible for the All-Star game and can not play during the postseason (these rules were implemented in 2014). Cano joins the long list of players who’ve tested positive for banned substances including current Mariners Nelson Cruz and Dee Gordon. Some notable former Mariners who’ve tested positive are: Michael Morse, Jesus Montero, Ryan Franklin and Mike Cameron.
I think Cano is getting a raw deal. 80 games plus forfeiture of pay along with no All-Star game or postseason? I think that’s ridiculous. The average fan knows so little about steroids. Somehow taking steroids makes players increase their hand-eye coordination so they can swing the bat perfectly to record a hit. Steroids, of course, makes players stronger and faster but in no way do they increase skill. Steroids are not a magical pill where a player can inject steroids and all of a sudden become this super player. It takes hard work, dedication and discipline. Players who use steroids often spend more time in the gym, they eat healthier and work harder then players who are not using. Steroids basically assist with the recovery process so muscle groups can be worked out more frequently. This helps build bigger muscles in a shorter amount of time. Dee Gordon was taking testosterone and Clostebol, which helped reduce the amount of estrogen in his body as well as helped increase his testosterone levels. It gives athletes a slight “edge” as it’s a mild form of steroid and leaves minimal traces in the urine. Testosterone helped increase strength and for Dee Gordon that is essential on the base paths. But that doesn’t discount the amount work he has to do to gain that strength.
If you’re interested in learning more about steroids, and how they benefit athletes you can always watch this documentary called Bigger, Stronger, Faster. It’s the tell-all regarding steroids, the side affects, and how many sports athletes have been using them for decades. Steroids are obviously a taboo but being naive about them is ludicrous. Educating yourself on steroids will certainly open your eyes and get you to understand them a little better. You don’t have to change your opinion about them; if you hate them you hate them. If you think players are “cheaters” then so be it. I’m not here to try and change your mind. But if we dive deep into the heart of baseball and dissect the late 90’s (The Steroid Era) you have to admit that steroids saved baseball. The 1994 strike flat lined the sport, it decimated attendance and if it weren’t for Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and countless other players who used and slugged home runs, where would baseball be today? The war on steroids is pointless.
My last point and then I’ll wrap this blog entry up. Athletes are trying to go the distance in a sports career. The average Major League Baseball career is roughly 5.6 years. A player has about an 11% chance of continuing on from his first year in baseball. Those odds are heavily stacked against him. These guys are fathers, husbands, sons, etc. They have families and bills and mortgages just like the rest of us. They are trying to compete in one of the most fiercest profession there is in the history of the human race. If you put yourself in their shoes, they are only trying to get the edge up on the next guy. They are only trying to stay competitive to continue their career. There is nothing dishonorable about that. Look at your own life and really think about all the short cuts you’ve thought about taking or all the times you’ve tried to get a leg up on your classmates or coworkers to earn the next promotion or score higher on a test. You’ll see that you and me and all these ball players are all one in the same. We are trying to survive the inevitable. But i digress.
This was the second time I saw Bartolo Colon pitch. And he pitched a gem. 7.2 scoreless innings at the age of 44. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The last time I watched Colon pitch was in 2012 when I went and saw the Mariners and the Athletics play in Japan. The Rangers were able to beat the Mariners by a score of 5-1. Typical of the Mariners to have sleepy bats until the 9th inning. Kyle Seager bashed a home run in the bottom of the 9th but it was all too late to start a rally by then. The Rangers had their number from the start. Colon was locked in and if it weren’t for the miscue at home plate, it would’ve been a solid 2-1 win Texas. That is all from Safeco Field.
Final: Texas Rangers 5 Seattle Mariners 1
Total Lifetime Games Attended: 139
Total Baseballs Snagged This Season: 16
Total Lifetime Baseballs Snagged: 374
Total Lifetime Foul Balls Snagged: 1
Total Lifetime Home Run Balls Snagged: 0