Comparing and contrasting, as inspired by John Fowler:
What a nice waste of an afternoon. Not that I would've done anything productive with it otherwise, but as long as the slight possibility exists that I would have instead gone for a hike or won a call-in radio sweepstakes, it is within my rights to be mad. Or, a little irritated, anyway. I'm too old to get mad.
- Very quietly - very, very quietly - Chone Figgins has managed to turn things around a little bit. Over his past 211 trips to the plate, spanning 48 games, he's batted .314/.366/.367. He's at .382 in September, too, somewhat squelching any thoughts that he was playing it up in an attempt to get traded (thoughts which, if they've ever existed anywhere, are ridiculous).
If you haven't noticed, though, I can't blame you. For one thing, how many people are still paying attention? And for another, I get the feeling like this is how Figgins works. It's not like he's the kind of guy who's going to go on a tear of doubles and homers. With Figgins, he really is the kind of guy where the difference between a slump and a hot streak comes out to one or two infield singles or shallow flares a week. Whether or not Figgins feels like he's a threat at the plate is entirely up to the viewer's own mind, because I'm getting that Figgins himself doesn't change. He always looks like the same guy. Sometimes that guy helps out.
I'm no longer real thrilled about having Figgins and his contract around on the team, but at least someone's showing some promise.
- Something Figgins did that wasn't so quiet was watch a routine groundball go right by him in the sixth inning to allow the go-ahead run to cross the plate. Given our experiences with Figgins at second base, and given our experiences with Jose Lopez before him, I'm beginning to wonder if the base itself has something shiny on it, or a speaker that shouts mean things.
- That was a bummer of a relief appearance for RRS. According to his line, he allowed three runs in two innings. However, Marco Scutaro's single was a bit of good hitting, Victor Martinez's double was a lucky bloop on a pitch six inches off the plate outside, and Ryan Kalish's triple was just a groundball down the line. These results hardly matter in the grand scheme of things, but I'm biased in favor of RRS, and of all the guys on the team who could use a break, he's at the top of the list. He didn't look bad today. He generally hit his spots. He threw all his pitches. He just wound up allowing some runs. It has to be absolutely impossible to maintain your confidence in a season like this, when even decent outings look like disasters in the box score.
In good news, RRS threw a few fastballs in the low 90s and struck four guys out. Granted, three of those four guys were Yamaico Navarro, Josh Reddick, and Lars Anderson, but strikeouts are strikeouts, and four ties his season high for a game. It's something.
- In the sixth inning, Adrian Beltre lifted a long fly ball to straightaway center that Franklin Gutierrez ran down in front of the track. Remarked Rick Rizzs, with Mike Blowers in the booth:
Make 'em hit it to the deep part of the ballpark. Mike?
It's not a big deal until you realize announcers do this all the time. They say something, and then they practically beg the other guy to say something else by saying his name, even if there isn't anything else to say. And the other announcer, in turn, will have to come up with a sentence or two, just to make sure the first guy isn't left hanging. In the right hands, it's insignificant. But in the wrong hands, it could be powerful and terrifying.
Always good to pitch to early contact. Mike?
The righty is warming in the bullpen, and he's just had one shitty year. Mike?
The Mariners'll face this weekend, and you'll recall that in the Lee trade, the Mariners picked up a guy who allegedly raped a defenseless young woman. Mike?
You look like you're noticing the group of high school cheerleaders just below the booth. Mike?
- A big moment in the game came in the bottom of the sixth, when - behind by one - Casey Kotchman came to the plate with two on and two out. The two batters in front of him had drawn walks, and Kotchman got ahead 3-0 in the count before swinging at the next pitch and lifting a fly ball to center for the third out.
That sort of thing can be incredibly aggravating. When a hitter makes an out on 3-0, especially when the pitcher's showing control problems, the natural response is that the hitter shouldn't have swung. But it's important to remember that (1) Kotchman got a belt-high fastball over the plate, (2) Kotchman hit the ball really hard, and (3) Jose Lopez was standing on deck. Hitting isn't about drawing walks. It's about identifying pitches you can crush, and crushing them. Kotchman got a hittable pitch. He just narrowly missed it. The problem here isn't that Kotchman swung - the problem is that Kotchman is bad.