Seattle Mariners: Why Being Swept in Washington Really Hurts

Alex CarsonCorrespondent IIIJune 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Pitcher Brandon League #43 of the Seattle Mariners is relieved after being hit against the Washington Nationals in the bottom of the ninth inning at Nationals Park on June 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Nationals won, 6-5, on a Wilson Ramos three run homer. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Mariners didn't play very well this week, as you perhaps noticed.

If you think back to last weekend, the Mariners played really well. Two of three from the best team in baseball? You may shout out a huzzah over those results, and I'd likely support it.

Really, though, how differently did those two series go if we analyze the process instead of the results?

In those three games against the Phillies, the Mariners scored exactly as many runs as the Phillies did. They each scored seven, but the Mariners came away victorious in two close games.

They scored nearly as many runs in the series against the Nationals (six), but lost all three games by one run each.

By all accounts, Tuesday's game was a freak-show. A winnable game that the pitching staff has clamped down all season. The other two games, though? The offense once again went into hibernation and squandered several opportunities.

This offense is bad. Better than last year, but still bad. The addition of Dustin Ackley only helps a little. The defense has been shaky. The pitching staff has tons of risk and some overachieving involved.

The Mariners don't know when Erik Bedard will tap out. They know they can't have Michael Pineda pitch 200 innings. They can't continue to have Felix go 120+ pitches every start and hope his arm doesn't explode. They must know the clock could strike midnight at any time for David Pauley and Jaime Wright.

After a successful stretch of games against winning teams, the Mariners had to capitalize on a relatively easier schedule for the 19 games leading to the All-Star break.

Continuing to rely on the Rangers to struggle so they can stay in the race isn't a formula for success, and the longer this drags out, the longer it favors Texas. The Angels are starting to play better and are now only a half-game behind the Mariners. There isn't the budget or the desire to mortgage the future for one or two hitters that won't fix the problem by themselves.

This is why the sweep at the hands of a red-hot Nationals team hurts the most.

The hill to climb was already going to be steep. With more odds being stacked against them by the day, it just got a lot steeper.