There are tough losses and then there are beatings, and heading into the series finale today the Seattle Mariners have simply been beaten by the first-place Angels.
It’s a reminder that, against the division leaders they’ve played this month – Boston and now Los Angeles – Seattle simply does not have a starting pitcher that can match up with the best of those other teams.
Daisuke Matsusaka and Josh Beckett flattened the Mariners offense, and John Lackey shut them out.
Against other wild card contenders, the Mariners match up a little better, but it’s a harsh reminder that – even if they should make the playoffs – the kind of post-season pitching they’d face is likely to send them home frustrated.
Seattle has come a long way in 2007, from a 78-win team a year ago to contention, but they don’t have the starting rotation to hang with the best. And the best is good enough to stifle if not stop the Mariners offense.
It’s not just Richie Sexson that’s going to hold Seattle back – it’s a rotation that’s good enough to contend, but not nearly good enough to hold its own against the best.
Seattle doesn’t yet have that No. 1 starter, and no one this season has pitched much better than a No. 3.
It’s the difference that will keep them from being an elite team.