Thursday, August 13, 2009


I said in the last piece that this was pretty much as close to a guaranteed Mariner loss as you could get. Sometimes I hate being right. Ian Snell's been horrible since his first Mariner start, and CC Sabathia and the team with the best record in baseball were in Seattle. That was enough for me to pencil in a loss. Then came the news that Josh Wilson was starting at short instead of Jack Wilson since Jack was giving the hamstring a rest after Felix Hernandez made a wild throw to second that led him off the bag on what should have been a double play. THEEEEN came the news that the Alexei Ramirez ninth-inning grounder that Adrian Beltre fielded last night bruised his testicle (Beltre doesn't wear a cup). Thus, Beltre ended up on the disabled list, though he somehow gutted out the injury for five more innings. Needless to say, Josh Wilson took Beltre's roster spot. If someone before the final Chicago game would have told me the only way Jack Hannahan was going to get playing time for the rest of the year would be if Beltre got ballbusted, I would have laughed. Then after the game, I would have asked the guy for the winning numbers of the upcoming lottery. Anyway, the game took a little longer to get out of hand than I thought it would, but the final score was pretty much what I expected.

This totally-saw-it-coming loss dropped the Mariners' record to 60-55 after 115 games. This pace is five wins worse than 2007, but four better than 2006, 11 better than 2005, 15 better than last year, and 17 better than 2004. Sixty wins is also eight wins worse than 2000, nine wins worse than 2003, 11 wins worse than 2002, and 23 wins worse than 2001. Records of other new-millennium Mariner teams at loss number 55: 69-55 in 2000, 116-46 in 2001, 78-55 in 2002, 76-55 in 2003, 33-55 in 2004, 42-55 in 2005, 53-55 in 2006, 73-55 in 2007, and 35-55 last year.

Seattle hitting went a combined 3-for-29 in their futile attempt to solve CC Sabathia. No Mariner went for multiple hits, and the only extra-base hit of the game belonged to Josh Wilson, of all people. It's almost fitting that his best game as a Mariner was a game where they were beat 11-1. The only other notable numbers in the Mariners' offensive boxscore is that Russell Branyan, Kenji Johjima, and Michael Saunders struck out twice apiece. The Mariners would have stood little chance in this game if anyone other than Felix Hernandez was pitching. Throw in Snell, and a loss was a foregone conclusion. You could have called this game five days ago.

Mariner pitching...not a good night. The starting pitcher will be dealt with below. Garrett Olson came into the game with two on and nobody out in the seventh. It took Olson only three pitches to starting throwing Molotov cocktails at Snell's earned run average as Hideki Matsui singled into rightfield to score Johnny Damon. Olson then walked Nick Swisher to load the bases. Though Olson showed some signs of hope by getting Robinson Cano to look at strike three, Melky Cabrera had an RBI groundout, then Jerry Hairston Jr. singled to score Matsui. Matsui was Olson's run, while the groundout scored Teixeira, who was Snell's eighth and final run. A Jose Molina flyout ended the carnage in the seventh. Olson still had two more runs to give the Yankees, and those two scored on Matsui's two-out homer in the eighth. You know, the one where the fan totally tipped the ball out of Ichiro's glove. That would have been a SPECTACULAR FREAKIN' CATCH by Ichiro if the fan wouldn't have reached out. The game was so crap that the umpires didn't even go back for video review to see if that was fan interference or not. Hell, I sure as hell didn't care at that point. It was 11-1 for the Yankees, and that held up as the final score. Olson still gave up two more hits in the ninth, but nobody scored. Olson gave up three runs on six hits, walking one and striking out two in three innings, continuing his freefall since the All-Star break. He threw 34 strikes out of 52 pitches, getting three groundouts and four flyouts, and he faced 16 hitters to get nine outs.

1) Josh Wilson
Vancouver Canucks' radio color commentator uses the adage of, "when a star goes down, there's another one on the horizon." Well, Beltre is sort of a star. I'm fairly sure Josh Wilson the Mariner is never going to be a star. Josh Wilson the Seahawk has a better chance of that happening, and even that's slim. Even still, Josh Wilson has Beltre's bruised testicle to thank for even having a roster spot right now, and he took full advantage. Okay, 1-for-4 isn't really full advantage, but Sabathia was throwing so well that you could pretty much call it a good night for anyone just to get one hit and have it be a homer. Think about what a horrible competitive disparity that is -- CC Sabathia, who's been awesome and has a reputation of awesomeness, against Josh Wilson, who's completely unremarkable and is below replacement level as far as I'm concerned (I'm sure a stathead could definitely prove that in more detail). Guess what? Wilson's now 2-for-6 in seven games as a Mariner. Stop the presses! This guy could save the Mariners' season...he's hitting .333!!!

2) Jack Hannahan
Guess what? It's yet another player who can thank Adrian Beltre's bruised testicle for playing time. I've been saying the last couple weeks that the only difference between Hannahan and Chris Woodward (other than handedness) was that Hannahan was drawing a Major League salary. Hannahan for the last couple weeks was getting the same amount of playing time at the Major League level as Woodward, and Woodward's not on the Major League roster. What did Hannahan do in this game? Well, he didn't hit a home run like Josh Wilson (not a Seahawk) did, but he did hit a single and draw a walk. Hannahan drew a two-out walk in the second to push Mike Sweeney to second base. Unfortunately for him, Josh Wilson was hitting behind him, and that wasn't when he hit the home run. That's too bad because a homer right there would have put the Mariners up 3-2, then maybe Sabathia has to pitch a bit differently, etc. Hannahan also singled to lead off the ieghth inning, and he was able to bust out the lawn chair because the next three hitters went away in order, ending with an awkward-looking strikeout by Ichiro. It's not like he ever looked good when he struck out.

3) Ichiro
Okay, so I just knocked him for the icky-looking strikeout, but the Mariners' leadoff hitter did go 1-for-4 in the game. He singled with one out in the fourth inning, but was erased on the next pitch when Franklin Gutierrez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. The hit was Ichiro's 169th of the season, putting him on pace for a 243-hit season. He is 26 hits away from his 2000th Major League hit and 31 hits away from his ninth straight 200-hit season. Dude's incredible. Also, Ichiro would have had a four-star wicked amazing catch off of Hideki Matsui, but that dunce fan out past the rightfield wall decided he'd reach over the wall and interfere with the play. Do these people not see these kind of clips on television?! Do they not understand? Public shame, I say. I hope everyone that guy works with watched the game on television last night, and I hope he goes to work on a Casual Friday and just gets laid into by all of his coworkers. I hope all his coworkers get him to go to a big dinner tomorrow night and everyone leaves and sticks him with the bill. Come on.

Ian Snell
I don't know, but it seems like it's been way more than three starts as a Mariner for Snell. One thing's for sure, his control leaves something to be desired. He's walked 12 hitters in 13 1/3 innings, which obviously is nearly a walk per inning. That doesn't balance favorably with nine walks. I and many other people like 2-to-1 as a nice strikeout-to-walk ratio, but this Snell has a 0.75 ratio in that realm. Know what the sad part is? He gave up eight runs in this game, but it was a step up from his last start. The game he had five days ago was so bad that there was nowhere to go but up! If this team were in the playoff hunt, I really wonder if Snell would have thrown after the third inning. The Mariners were down 5-0 after three. After four innings, the Mariners were down 6-0, and they were down 6-1 after Josh Wilson's homer in the fifth. Honestly, with how horribly overworked the bullpen's been, if he'd have thrown seven innings and given up the six runs, I would have been all right with it. But then he set the table for Olson to scarf it down in the seventh. Also, I've never been a fan of Derek Jeter and quite honestly dislike him, but that pitch he crushed off Snell that went to the back of the Mariner bullpen to the far right end of the scoreboard...wow, what a shot that was.

Hopefully some Australianism can give the Mariners a chance to still take three of four from the series. Okay, they won't do that even with a win tomorrow.

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