a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify.
"a society afflicted by a deep cultural malaise"
It is not enough to be a great player, said Bobby Fischer. You also gotta play great. Like all Zen aphorisms, it looks like it says nothing at first glance. Later on in life you find it to be a difference-maker. Having to choose between that one, and "don't bend your right knee," I gotta go with Bobby.
Two great pitchers, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, pitched great to throttle the 1st-place Angels in games 1 and 3 of their series. A win on Sunday would have put the M's back -5.5 with four delicious, hopeful calendar days in which to bathe in 2nd-half hope.
You've never read this cliche on SSI before and probably never will again. But are you ready? The M's didn't appear to want the game. The Angels very much appeared to want the win. Valle said it on the postgame, and Dutton said it on his postgame, and McClendon said it between the lines. If true, why should this be? Why would you win 2 of 3, and then take the field for game 4 and hang your heads before the game started?
Dutton pointed out that the M's have lost 12 of their last 14 series closing games. If the M's odds were 50-50 in each of those games, their chances of winning 3 or more would be 99.3%. I'll hold up my hand and correlate this syndrome with "lack of conviction." This is SSI; you're welcome to demure. Dr. D knows many teams that have shaken off malaise and gone on to great things; they all had one thing in common. A sudden burst of self-confidence.
A few teams that were -7 or so on July 13, and made the playoffs:
2008-2014 seasons: none
2007 seasons and before: malaise prevents Dr. D from scouring the almanacs further back than this
As Moe has pointed out, from -7 below .500 it won't be good enough to become good. The Mariners would have to, very soon, become the best team in the league. Or pretty much that. :: shrug :: they're a loaded roster. There's no reason their pitching staff can't rip off a month's worth of lockdowns. They've got three legit Stars in their offense and talent around that.
It was a funny thing that Bill James said, back during the 1993 season. The Cleveland Indians were the laughingstock of the league, for the 30th season in a row, with starting pitchers like Jeff Mutis, Mike Bielecki and Jose Mesa. Just one more funky Indians team. He closed an article on them by saying, "If you want to laugh at Cleveland, go ahead. But don't say that none of these kids can play, because some of them sure as shill can." The next year, Cleveland began their run: Belle, Lofton, Manny, Thome, and Baerga. To be fair, SSI is forced to note that they did not change their manager, Mike Hargrove. Grover was around to enjoy the glory.
Sometimes you watch players rather than the team. In 2011, it was fun to watch Lynch, Thomas, Chancellor and Sherman despite the 7-9 record. This year, my fave players in loose order:
- Nelson Cruz
- Seth Smith
- Carson Smith
That's like 15 players who could be part of your next World Series sweep, never mind Zduriencik's kiddie pyramid below the majors, who will also be fun to watch. That's a lot of CYWYNPWTP for such a cruddy team.