Really, doesn't today's Mariners game say it all?
Ichiro got to 200 hits in the middle of the game. King Felix wasn't his most dominant self, but still relatively dominant: 8 innings, 2 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts, and 1 measly run. Yet, at the end of the day, the Mariners lost 1-0.
Seriously, what if some random person on the street was told to sit down and watch this game? Someone with absolutely no knowledge of what's happened this season. They would see Ichiro, and hear the announcers laud him for his 200th hit, and how amazing of an accomplishment it is. Once that was over, the focus would return to the mound, where they would notice that Felix looked like he was cruising. If the fan was asked at the end of the game to take a guess at what the 2010 Mariners have been like, they would say something to the effect of, "Ichiro and Felix are great, but even they aren't enough to keep the rest of the team from losing."
Isn't that the story of the 2010 season?
So much has already been written about this M's offense, and I'm sure there is plenty that will be written in the coming weeks and months. However, to me, this one game really says it all. Ichiro is still Ichiro. He's having a pretty good year, and he had a good day today. Felix is brilliant, certainly in the discussion of best pitcher in baseball. At the end of the day though, the Mariners come up short.
Think about it. On a day where the M's had their best hitter have a good day, and their best pitcher have a good day (both good days by their lofty standards, mind you), the team still came up short. When you take a step back to think about that, it's amazing.
How many games did the Sonics lose when Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton both had good games?
How many games did the Seahawks lose when Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander both had good games?
How many games do the Storm lose when Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson both have good games?
I know, different sports work differently, but the question still looms: How awful is everyone around Ichiro and Felix? When stars play like stars, it doesn't take much from other players to win a game. But, however much was needed was too much to ask from the "supporting" cast today.
If this was just a one-game fluke, I'd probably marvel at the odds more than anything. However, this isn't a fluke. Felix Hernandez is 12-12 while leading the league in ERA, innings pitched, and strikeouts. Argue all you want about what those numbers say about Felix's true talent, but they tell us exactly what has happened this year. Felix pitches deep into ballgames without giving up runs, and does it with stuff that the toughest hitters in the world struggle to make contact with. All of that adds up to a .500 record?
This offense...what else is there to say? If pictures speak 1,000 words, then today's game tape speaks 1,000,000, and it says all anyone needs to know about the 2010 Mariners season. Tip of the cap to Ichiro, wags of the finger to the rest of the hitters, and a frosty beverage for Felix to take away some of the sting from yet another painful defeat that he didn't deserve.