'The bleakest outlook': Mariners' woes could get worse
KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel describes the Mariners' six-game losing streak as "the bleakest outlook they've had all season."And it could get worse this weekend.
Division-leading Rangers in town
Art doubts the Mariners can win a game—let alone the series —against the Rangers.
"They're the best team in the American League right now," he said.
Fans already feel "hapless" after the last six games in which the Mariners lost in dramatic fashion. Three of the games in Cleveland were neck-and-neck until the ninth innings. One game saw the wheels come off for normally-stellar pitcher Felix Hernandez. And then the Mariners lost 12-0 and 7-1 against the Angels.
It was very emotional—and very hard to watch—for fans.
"It was about the worst way you could go through a six-game stretch. The real bad consequence is the fan base is so aggravated. It doesn't seem like there's anything to be done about it. But fans want everything to be done about it," Art said. "So, you wind up having a feeling of disgust. It's just a very difficult time to be a fan."
Making a move
The Mariners have sent Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma and called up Jesus Sucre to replace him.
Art calls it "a patch," a temporary situation. But it needed to happen.
"Jesus Montero has been terrible— at the plate, in the field and, my gosh, on the bases. He's still 'El Gallapago," he said, referring to Montero's odd, slow-running style.
"It's a marked failure of one of the key young members of the roster," he said. "(The Mariners) want Dustin Ackley to produce, they want Justin Smoak to produce, and they want Montero to produce. And they've had to little of that from the young people."
The two exceptions are Kyle Seager at third base and Michael Saunders in the outfield.
It could be another series loss, which would be three in a row. Art says it would put pressure on the team to make decisions just to make change.
"And that's the worst thing a front office can do. You can't panic and fall prey to the fans' emotions. On the other hand, just to sit there and do nothing is the acme of haplessness," he said.
You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.