Terrible Mariners Lineup Hangs With Rockies, Puts Cactus League On Notice

On the one hand, the Mariners blew an opportunity to gain ground in the Cactus League standings, as they knew about the Giants' 8-0 loss well in advance of tonight's first pitch. But sometimes baseball isn't about intimidating your rivals with the strength of your starters. Sometimes baseball is about intimidating your rivals with the relative competence of your B team, and that's what we saw the Mariners try to do today, as one of their worst possible lineups of remaining players held tight against a bunch of Rockies regulars and lost by a slim 6-5 margin that came down to the final pitch.

A loss like this puts pressure on the Giants, because it makes them more aware of our depth. It was a calculated gamble by Eric Wedge, but if the Giants fall into a tailspin, we'll know it worked out. The pressure of knowing you have to be perfect can buckle a team in the knees, and if ever there were a team you'd expect to buckle under pressure, it's the San Francisco Giants. I don't know about you guys but I feel pretty good about this.

A limited collection of bullet holes on a pretty pointless evening of baseball:

  • I don't know if Luke French could have done anything at all tonight to improve his chances of winning the fifth spot in the rotation, but if he could have, he didn't. After a pretty quick first couple innings, he allowed a handful of hard-hit liners in the third and watched on as five runs crossed the plate. Some of it was bad luck. Some of it was bad defense. But all Luke French showed was that he's Luke French, and nothing more than Luke French, and the team's pretty clearly made up its mind that Luke French isn't good enough for the #5 job as long as Michael Pineda's hanging around.

    So French will go to Tacoma to stretch out and await some bad news. Oh, bad news will come. It almost always does. We don't know who it'll strike, but if and when it strikes, Luke French will be ready to step right in. Unless the bad news strikes Luke French. 

  • Which of these pitchers is Denny Bautista, and which of these pitchers is Jesus Colome?

    Pitcher A Pitcher B
    K% 17% 17%
    BB% 12% 13%
    FIP 4.72 4.68
    Fastball 95mph 95mph

  • The ROOT Sports broadcast was kind of a mashup of Mike Blowers and the Rockies guys, and at one point in the third inning it cut to the Rockies' version of Jim Knox wandering around aimlessly beyond the outfield fence. He somehow came into possession of a stadium fruit kabob, and then the Rockies scored five runs, and so he called it a rally kabob. That guy doesn't know what he just got himself into.

  • Jeff Huson was one of the broadcasters, and if that name sounds familiar, it's because he spent parts of 12 seasons in the Major Leagues, playing terribly. And he happened to spend part of the 1998 season with the Mariners, going 8-49 with a home run. After enough time passes, it seems like you always remember former players pretty fondly, just because of the service they provided or attempted to provide while wearing your team's uniform. But do you eventually remember every player fondly, or is there a threshold? Is Jeff Huson below the threshold? If Jeff Huson is above the threshold, why bother with a threshold?

  • At one point, Huson or the other guy got to talking about Kazuo Matsui, who spent much of last season with the Rockies' AAA affiliate. Whoever it was talked about how Matsui had a bat with him at all times, and used any little patch of grass he could find as a chance to take the bat out and work on his swing. You don't really hear enough about the players who exhibit an unthinkable commitment to the game and still suck. Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice mostly makes you sore.

  • The Mariners are running a commercial advertising the upcoming Opening Day. The first player featured in the commercial is Josh Wilson, and as images of Wilson glide by in the background, Wilson says that you always have butterflies on Opening Day, and that it's "probably about as close as you can get to a postseason-type feeling." Josh Wilson has been on one Major League Opening Day roster in his life, and he's never played in the playoffs. Why is Josh Wilson leading any commercial about the Mariners? Ichiro and Felix should lead all commercials about the Mariners. Josh Wilson should be saved for the fine print. * roster may include Josh Wilson and/or various approximations thereof

  • Ryan Langerhans doubled again and hit another home run, and while the home run wasn't a moon shot and was probably aided by the wind, he hit both against Jorge de la Rosa, who is a very underrated power lefty. Milton Bradley's probably going to get regular days off just to rest his delicate little legs, and I gotta tell you, I really love that we'll be able to plug Ryan Langerhans into the lineup, no problem. Langerhans doesn't do a lot of things wrong. He's not an ultra-productive player, but his game is appealing to the eye.

  • The star of this one was either Langerhans or Brandon League, who came in from the bullpen to throw a perfect eighth inning. He got a grounder and two strikeouts, and while the competition was weak, League's command was on and his offspeed stuff looked exceptional. I guess it's the days like this that make all the other days so frustrating. You could be this! Why aren't you this more often!

  • Michael Saunders is now something like 6-15 since getting to work on his stance and swing, and in his pinch-hit appearance tonight against a very talented Rafael Betancourt he stayed back on an elevated slider and put a level swing on it, drilling the ball into the outfield for a single. It's good to see the adjustments taking, and taking so quickly, because like everyone I've been concerned. I'm still concerned, but Saunders' swing does look less loopy than it used to, and that gives us some real hope that he'll eventually be able to adjust to the highest level. God, I want him to. And so does the lady who very vocally professed her love for Michael Saunders as he walked to the plate. I wonder if she knows he's engaged. I wonder if that was her.

Doug Fister and the M's get Bruce Chen and the Royals tomorrow at 1:05. If Chen's able to throw more than 141 innings this season, he will have thrown more innings for the Royals than for any other team in the league. He is a very Royals player, so I think that's pretty appropriate. Bruce Chen is younger than Matt Thornton.

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