Another night, another painful loss on this road trip that mercifully came to an end tonight for the Mariners. The Blue Jays series was bad, but the Rangers stuck a knife in the Mariners and didn't stop twisting until Kenny Lofton squeezed his glove on the final out of the game tonight. All four games were lost by a lone run, including a doubleheader sweep yesterday, and an improbable (to put it lightly) two-run home run from Ramon Vazquez off of J.J. Putz. Leave it to a former Mariner to end Putz's streak of 31 consecutive saves, even one who now has 12 home runs in his career.
There is no silver lining in a 1-6 road trip, especially one like the Mariners completed, but this is not the beginning of the end for this team either. The best projection I've had for the Mariners all year is 86-76, which is 10 games above .500. With this road trip having been completed, they are now 9 games above .500 at 54-45. The team was still very competitive, as evidenced by all the one-run losses. Really, the M's are victims of some tough luck, which the stats indicated they were likely in store for.
The Mariners didn't catch any breaks on the road trip, but at the very least the Angels did not catch fire. The M's are still only three and a half games back, and they get to play within the division for the next week. This team understands the gravity of this next home stand, and they are far from wilting. To put it statistically, the team just regressed to their mean. This road trip is more indicative of the tough spells that are part of a 162-game season than a collapse. I was hoping the Mariners could keep overachieving, but this road trip brought them back down to earth some. Without a little luck, this team is not making the playoffs. It's still a good team, just not good enough to crack the post-season...yet.