(1) This team, you guys
Thoughts as I checked my phone after the end of the game
Me: Wow, I can't believe they won again.
Me: I can't believe the M's won a four-game series against a superior team.
Me: Actually, are the really that much better than the ?
Me: I don't think that they are.
Me: But the Rays are still pretty damn good.
Me: So if the Rays are still pretty damn good, and the Mariners aren't really much worse than them...
You've surely seen it written in a few places by now that the Mariners have won six consecutive series for the first time since 2001. The 2011 Mariners aren't the 2001 Mariners - the 2001 Mariners didn't lose their 28th game until July 24th (ed. note: holy shit) - but that factoid speaks to their level of play in recent weeks. This team has been fun in a way that it wasn't in 2009, or in 2007, or for several years before that. Who knows if it's going to continue? Even if it doesn't, the experience can't be taken away. Think about the last month of Mariners baseball. How awesome has this been?
(2) Miguel Olivo is something
Miguel Olivo, as of this writing, has a batting line of .251/.307/.406 after hitting another huge home run this afternoon. He has an OPS+ over 100, and he's been better at the plate than the league-average backstop. We know that his defense isn't great. We know that he isn't a perfect fit for the ballpark. But he runs well, he's impressively durable, he's an effective leader of the pitching staff, and now he's hitting. When Olivo first signed, an awful lot of people were concerned that he'd turn into a disaster, the way he did last time. I'm not sure anyone needs to worry about that anymore. Olivo looks like a perfectly acceptable, if not downright good regular catcher.
(3) Erik Bedard threw 111 pitches
Erik Bedard threw 111 pitches. They were mostly good pitches. It's not uncharted territory - he had on three previous occasions thrown at least 110 in a game as a Mariner - but it still goes against his reputation as a 100 five-and-diver. This was Bedard's fourth consecutive start with double-digit missed bats, and he generated a season-high 14. Most of them came on his fastball, which averaged 91+. I wonder if Bedard has been saving himself this whole time for when the team would need him the most. These days he is just outstanding.
(4) Greg Halman made an impression
Last year, Greg Halman collected 30 plate appearances as a Mariner. If you're anything like me, you don't remember a single one. Over those 30 plate appearances, Halman notched four hits. Today, Greg Halman collected four plate appearances, and notched three hits, one of which was a big opposite-field triple on a curveball. It's stupid to evaluate a position player based on one game, and particularly one game in which he faces Wade Davis and Adam Russell, but considering what a lot of people were probably expecting out of Halman given his batting approach, he had a hell of a day.
(5) The Rays' bullpen isn't very good
Perhaps you've noticed. As a unit, they have the lowest strikeout rate in the league, and they don't make up for it by limiting walks or keeping the ball on the ground. People have used this year's Rays as an example of how a team can build a solid bullpen on the cheap. You can definitely build a solid bullpen on the cheap, but I am in no way convinced the Rays have done it.
(6) Jamey Wright is not a shutdown setup man
Perhaps you've noticed. This is where the Shawn Kelley, Josh Lueke and David Aardsma setbacks really sting. Jamey Wright is not a bad reliever, but sometimes when he's "rolling" he induces in the viewer a level of confidence disproportionate to his ability. Jamey Wright was born to throw sixth innings, and you're gambling when you lean on him for high-leverage assignments. On the plus side, Jamey Wright costs this team practically nothing, while Rafael Soriano costs the $Rafael Soriano.
(7) Ichiro hit a ball really hard
It was one ball. It was on a low fastball from Wade Davis in the bottom of the third. Ichiro yanked it into the right-center gap for a screaming line drive triple. One at bat means exactly as little as you think it does, but it's been so long since we've seen Ichiro hit a ball like that that it had to be remarked upon. "I sure hope this is a sign of better things to come," he says as if this sentence carries any value.