Nobody ever likes to lose, but if there's one kind of loss that people can't stand, it's a loss to a team you should've beat. Thewaltzed in having won a grand total of zero games in the Cactus League season. When you go up against a winless ballclub, you expect triumph, and you expect it to be convincing. You do not expect to lose by five. The are going to have one angry team meeting.
As good as the M's were in run-scoring situations in their first couple games, they were that bad today. They squandered what was, for a while, a solid combined pitching performance, and in the end had one run to show for eight hits and 15 baserunners. They left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, but perhaps more significantly, they loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth and then only scored one run on a bases-loaded walk by Adam Kennedy. Jack Cust struck out, Miguel Olivo hit a tapper to the mound, and Brendan Ryan hit a can of corn. If the M's continue to go hitless with runners in scoring position then I dunno, I don't think they're going to win many baseball games.
Off to the bullet points:
- Apparently, there was a video broadcast of this game, complete with White Sox announcers. I wasn't made aware of that fact until the eighth inning, which meant I was stuck following along on a Gameday window without PITCHfx information. When following along on a Gameday window without PITCHfx information, all at bats resulting in balls in play last one pitch, all at bats resulting in strikeouts last three pitches, and all at bats resulting in walks last four pitches. You get the sense that something is awry pretty quick, but you also get to pretend you're watching the most efficient brand of baseball ever developed.
- I can't think of any major or pseudo-major story that came out of this game, so the best we might be able to do is highlight Luke French's three shutout innings. French got the start and struck out two while walking none, and while I have absolutely no idea how French actually looked, it's hard to be disappointed with three shutout innings this early in camp. Michael Pineda may win the fifth starter job outright. However, he may also report to Tacoma, temporarily leaving a slot up to competition, and so all the competitors have to pitch as well as they can, as often as they can. French, then, did about the best that he could've.
- Brandon League immediately blew the shutout by allowing a two-run homer. Considering that League's ERA last season was 3.42, I sure do seem to have a lot of memories of him sucking.
- Beginning the bottom of the sixth, the Mariners replaced their pitcher and all eight of their position players. It's common to see people shuffled around all willy-nilly in camp when the rosters are so huge, but it's rare to see it all happen at once. To borrow an idea from Mitch Hedberg, it's like Eric Wedge was thinking "this team would be good if I took out all the players and added new players."
- In the bottom of the eighth, Matt Tuiasosopo and Michael Saunders misplayed a fly ball that turned into a triple. Paul Konerko hit a ball off the wall in left that caromed almost all the way back to the infield. This is one of those things that sounds significant but is not.
- The White Sox blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth when they scored four runs, but while the key hit was a lucky bases-loaded double off the end of the bat by Tyler Flowers, I think the real ugly part for the Mariners was when Cesar Jimenez got ahead of Dayan Viciedo 1-2 and then walked him. Dayan Viciedo batted 106 times last season, and drew two walks. In the minors, he batted 363 times, and drew 11 walks. His swing rate was among the very highest in baseball. Dayan Viciedo has all the discipline of a lacrosse player in college and still Jimenez put him on base. That's a no-no, and Jimenez was immediately pulled from the game.
Sean Kazmar fielded a groundball in foul territory and tossed it into the seats at the request of a fan, which is weird.
Hierarchy of cool baseballs to have:
A record-breaking home run ball
A ball of some other sort of historical significance
A regular home run ball
A ball touched by your favorite player
A ball touched by your least favorite player
Any ball from a regular season baseball game
Any ball from batting practice before a regular season baseball game
A new ball from a store
An old ball from a store
An old ball from the bushes
A foul groundball in a preseason game thrown to you by Sean Kazmar