Tuesday, June 02, 2009


It's back to the 2002-2003 Mariner mentality of making the unfamiliar opposing pitcher look good. Now, though, the team isn't leaning as heavily on the unfamiliarity issue like they did back in the day. I remember it like it was yesterday. Doug Waechter? That name could have equaled a one-run complete game for the then-Devil Rays. Sean Lowe? He could take down Freddy Garcia. For this game, it was Rich Hill, whose near-eephus curveball that barely broke 70mph on the gun had the Mariner hitters handcuffed. Naturally, Jarrod Washburn was the starting pitcher for the Mariners and got zero run support.

The Mariners have quickly tried to negate their three-game winning streak by dropping the last two. The team is 24-28 after 52 games. They're three wins worse than the 2007 team, but two better than the 2005 and 2006 teams, five better than the 2004 team, and six better than last year's team. Of the Gillick teams, the Mariners are three wins worse than the 2000 team, 10 worse than 2002 and 2003, and 16 worse than the 2001 team.

Mariner hitting went a collective 2-for-28, walking three times and striking out nine times. Ichiro doubled to lead off the bottom of the first to extend his hitting streak and account for the Mariners' extra-base output. Yuniesky Betancourt stung the first pitch he saw in the third inning for a single and the Mariners' last hit of the game. Baltimore pitching set down the final 20 Seattle hitters of the game.

Mariner pitching will be covered in the gameball entries.

1) Jarrod Washburn
You can't really ask for much more out of Washburn, and this probably isn't the first time I've said that this season. Washburn has a record of 3-4 on the season. In the four losses, he has given up six, two (one earned), six, and one runs. In the no-decisions, he has given up one, four, and zero runs. In the three wins (also known as his first three starts of the season), he has given up zero, two, and two runs. In a just world, Washburn could easily be 7-2 right now instead of 3-4. In this game, he definitely pitched to contact, walking one while striking out three. He faced 28 hitters to get 21 outs, giving up one run on six hits. He got six groundouts and 12 flyouts. I'm sure he'd fetch a lot more in a trade right now if he was 7-2 rather than 3-4, but as we've said on this weblog many times in the past, God hates Seattle sports fans. To think we were even saying that before the Sonics left town. Anyway, I'm sure we can start up the Washburn-for-Pujols bandwagon. Maybe the Washburn-for-Sizemore bandwagon. Any completely ridiculous trade idea that will never happen, really.

2) Chris Jakubauskas
The Mariners decided eight starts in the rotation was enough for the Lithuanian Laser. In his first appearance out of the bullpen since April 10th, Jakubauskas kept the Mariners within one run through the eighth and ninth innings. Jakubauskas threw two no-hit shutout innings, walking one and striking out two. He threw 16 strikes out of 25 pitches, getting three groundouts to one flyout. Hopefully, Jakubauskas can get a little confident in the bullpen over a couple weeks. Then the Mariners can assess what they want to do. If they, like me, envision the Mariners' starting rotation to eventually not include Jarrod Washburn and Erik Bedard, we're probably looking at Jakubauskas getting stretched out and starting again. The funny thing at that point will be that only Felix Hernandez (and Ryan Rowland-Smith, whenever he comes back) will be the only guys left from the season-opening rotation. Though it's bad for the Mariners' getting return on the investment, I'm assuming Carlos Silva is shut down for the year. I don't want to see him again.

3) Ichiro
Since there were only two pitchers in the game, I had to pick someone with one of the two Mariner hits, and tonight that is the guy with a 25-game hitting streak. The funny thing with Ichiro is that he can keep the hitting streak going, but if it's a 1-for-4 night like this one, his batting average takes a hit. During the streak, Ichiro has gone 44-for-110 (.400) and has slugged .555. With the offense (sans the occasional eight-run game against the Angels) in such a crap spiral right now, is Ichiro really the only reason to watch this team? I think he might be. There's a really good chance tonight that when Ichiro's not at the plate in the first few innings of the game, I'm probably going to flip over and watch the Husky softball team go for a national title. Obviously the whole drama with Erik Bedard going up against his former team really isn't sparking a lot of intrigue with me. Sure, Ichiro in his first three years here was a player that was part of a playoff-chase team, but now he's an integral part of being the only thing to watch on a bad team.

Adrian Beltre
The lasting image I have of this entire night is Beltre waving at a pitch way out of the zone for strike three. The 0-for-4 night snapped a three-game streak of multiple-hit games for Beltre, who is hitting .000, on-base at a .000 clip, and slugging .000 so far for the month of June (hahahaaahaaahahaaaa). For the season, Beltre is hitting .227, has an on-base percentage of .260, and is slugging .324. With all the anticipation coming in terms of what Bedard and Washburn could fetch in a trade, it would be tons more awesome if Beltre was even having a half-respectable season so he could have any trade value at all. Instead, his travails on the diamond this season remind me more of Bret Boone's final months in a Mariner uniform. Of course, Beltre's a lot younger than Boone was, so I think he could catch on somewhere else and do fairly well. Beltre's not completely washed up like Boone was. Normally I'd be the last guy who would rather see Mike Morse at the plate than Beltre, but I would think something has to give by the end of this month.

Bedardation comes tonight. What will be over first -- the Husky softball game, or Bedard's start?

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