I’m not shocking anyone at this point to say that the Mariners’ season is currently in a King County Waste Management septic treatment facility. That is, their season went straight down the pooper before the summer even came to Seattle (which occurred in early July). But something occurred the other day that sparked my interest. It was something that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and I wasn’t sure whether or not I could belive what I was seeing.
‘Twas the eve of August the 3rd, and after 6 and 2/3 mediocre innings from Carlos “Greased Lightning” (Or is it Greasy Thunder?) Silva, the Mariners made a crucial call to the ‘pen. Normally, one would expect a middle reliever to come jogging out of left field, but lo and behold, here came JJ Putz of all people! Putz threw 1.1 innings of solid relief, allowing one hit before giving way to phenom Brandon Morrow to seal the win. While Putz’s stuff wasn’t exactly remarkable, it was the first time in a long while that he looked like he was actually in control on the mound, rather than being at the mercy of Joe Blow standing at the plate, which is how us Seattleites have grown accustomed to seeing him. After the game, Putz said that he hadn’t felt that good since mid-March. I originally thought, “surely Putz’s success must be a fluke”! However, much to my surprise, Putz came out and gave another solid 1.1 innings last night! While he allowed both inherited runners to score in the bottom of the 8th, he was able to keep the Twins at bay as he picked up the save. Again, his stuff wasn’t spectacular, but he had the commanding mound presence that he had been missing since he became plagued with injuries in April.
Putz’s triumphant return to the closer’s role (albiet a small triumph) is fantastic news for the Mariners, as this will allow the team to start preparing Morrow to become a starter, something they should have done loooong ago (something else they should have done long ago is not trade George Sherrill, who has been a dominant closer for the Orioles this season). There is no doubt that Morrow will be welcomed into the starting rotation with open arms. Suffice it to say that few of the Mariners’ starters (Batista, Silva, and crybaby Bedard) have had less than stellar seasons, especially considering that each of them is getting paid half of Canada’s gross national product ($1.18 trillion, for those of you who were wondering).
Of course, we all know that as soon as Seattle’s starting pitching issues are taken care of, something tragic will happen to the offense, like Ichiro, Lopez, Clement, and Betancourt will all get shot in a drug-related gang war. It’s the inevitable tragedy of the Mariners; that as soon as one piece of the puzzle gets fixed, another piece shoots itself in the foot. But hey, that’s how we roll here in the Emerald City.