Tuesday, July 20, 2010



The Mariners seem to have a handful or so of templates that could be used to describe nearly every one of their losses. Tonight, the hypothetical template had the Mariners staying close in the beginning, only to have the game slip away to the point where the last few innings of the game were completely irrelevant and the Mariners had no real chance of coming back to win. The Mariners this season seem to be either balancing on the ledge of unwatchability or just being unwatchable. I almost wish they would at least lose spectacularly if they're going to lose anyway. While I like following my teams day to day, I know at the root of it that fans like to be entertained and they like to go into the experience not knowing what's going to happen. If you know the Mariners aren't going to score a lot of runs and will most likely lose, where's the drama?

-- the starting pitching will be covered in the gameballs

-- out of the bullpen, Jamey Wright threw the seventh and eighth innings. He had some help in the realm of suck. He allowed a leadoff single to Gordon Beckham before Juan Pierre reached on an error by Chone Figgins and Beckham went to third on the play. Omar Vizquel then grounded out to score Beckham and make it 4-1. Wright got the next two hitters out to end the inning. With one out in the eighth, Wright gave up a cannon blast to Andruw Jones that made it 5-1. One out later, Alexei Ramirez singled and stole second and went to third on the throw to the runner's side of the second-base bag. He scored on the next pitch when Beckham doubled to make it 6-1. Garrett Olson then threw a completely meaningless 1-2-3 ninth inning.

-- in the first inning, Figgins walked with one out and scored on a Russell Branyan double to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Branyan left the game not long after due to back spasms, and the offense went with him.

-- Ichiro went 1-for-5 in the game, pushing him to 122-for-383 (.317) on the season. He is on pace to finish the season with 213 hits.

-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro went 1-for-5 in the game and didn't score, while Figgins went 1-for-2 and scored a run. The Mariners remain 12-6 when both players score and are now 17-28 when both players collect hits.

1) David Pauley
He's technically the fifth starter since he's the newest guy, but since Ryan Rowland-Smith hasn't been throwing well, Pauley might as well be the fourth starter. If you count Doug Fister's struggles of late, Pauley could be the third-best pitcher in the rotation. That's actually kinda scary. Anyway, we're two starts into Pauley's Mariner tenure, and so far it's so good. The Mariners can't ask for much more than what Pauley's giving the Mariners right now. Since Rowland-Smith has been so awful, maybe Pauley just looks that much better by comparison. Pauley could just be going five innings every time out and giving up four runs, and that'd be more than enough. The Mariners need Rowland-Smith to be good more than they need Pauley to be good, but they'll have to make do with the current situation.

2) Justin Smoak
Two more strikeouts, sure, but two more hits. They were both singles this time, but I really like the way this guy hits. I don't like the multitudes of strikeouts, but if he's getting enough hits and extra-base hits, I'll be able to look the other way a bit when it comes to the strikeouts. Depending on how long Branyan is out, Smoak is even more guaranteed to get at-bats and time playing first base. What's pleasing to me about Smoak is that he's been hitting balls hard from both sides of the plate. He doesn't seem stronger from one side of the plate or weaker from one side of the plate. His swing looks fully clobber-capable from either side of the plate. When's the last time Seattle had a switch hitter that was this good? For some reason, all I can think about after I said that was Jason Varitek. Oh well.

3) Chone Figgins
He made another error, but he had a hit and walked three times, so he certainly did has part to get on base. He walked int he first inning and ended up scoring the Mariners' only run minutes later. He drew a two-out walk in the third inning, moving Ichiro to second. He singled with one out and the bases empty in the fifth. He drew a two-out walk in the seventh to load the bases. Unfortunately, he grounded out to end the game. Naturally, Figgins got on base all those times and though Branyan drove him in with the double, no one else did as the next three non-Branyan hitters in the lineup combined to go 0-for-10. Such is life in the 2010 season for these Seattle Mariners. It's like Murphy's Law, for sure. I wonder if they'll lose 100 games? It doesn't matter this time since there's no Stephen Strasburg to be drafted. They should have just lost a couple more games in 2008.

Jose Lopez
This is one of the hitters behind Figgins that could move any of the runners or push them across the plate. Lopez was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and is hitting .240. Brandon Inge broke bones in Detroit, so I know there is some demand for Lopez out there, but how tradeable of an asset is he? You'd be trading for a guy who's hopelessly lost his power stroke, at least for this season. The guy looks lost up there, save for that grand slam off Joba Chamberlain. We're long past the point where I thought it'd be okay to consider swapping Figgins and Lopez on the field because both of them were sucking at the plate. In theory it shouldn't affect them, but in practice it probably does. Something had to change back then, and something has to change right now. Sure, there's no hope of the Mariners even coming close to a chase for a playoff berth, but throw us a frickin' bone here. Can we get at least something new every day?

Danks. Fister. [going on as I type this].

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