As I saw it, there were three primary storylines headed into this afternoon's game between theand the :
(2) Felix Hernandez was starting, and we were looking for him to show a little more velocity, even though Felix doesn't seem to care and the coaches don't seem to care.
(3) This was another Cactus League game and oh my god there are still Cactus League games, there are still more of them even after this one.
Now I just spent half an hour on the radio with Rob Neyer between point #3 and writing this sentence so I've completely lost my train of thought. No idea where I was trying to go with that beginning. Man, I hate getting distracted. I mean, I don't hate the act of getting distracted - more often than not whatever's distracting me is good or interesting - but I hate my inability to deal with it. I prefer to write in a groove, and if I'm disrupted, even for an instant, I lose the groove. I just got a text message. Like right now, before I typed "I just". Disruption! I've lost my train of thought two times while writing this go-nowhere paragraph! I will never understand how Lookout Landing gets traffic. You guys are the best, or the weirdest.
So, the Mariners beat the Rockies. That seems like a good thing to get out there in a game recap. They beat 'em 7-2, and moved to 15-8 in the Cactus League. That's good for second place, a game behind the A's, and a half-game ahead of the. And six games ahead of the Rangers. The Rangers are 12-17! Hey, are you down there, ? I'm sorry, if you answered we can't hear you, you're too far away! Now you know how we felt and will almost certainly again feel in months!
Of the Mariners' seven runs, four scored against Jamie Moyer, which I might've minded more had Moyer not already locked up a rotation slot. I want Jamie Moyer in the Major Leagues, so I didn't want the Mariners to knock him around if he were on the fringe. Because he's not on the fringe, I've no qualms with the Mariners knocking him around. Not that they abused him or anything, and he had five strikeouts to go with one walk, but against Moyer the Mariners had nine hits in five innings. That's knocking around, for the Mariners.
More runs scored later. No Mariner went deep, and no Mariner tripled, but four Mariners doubled and both Brendan Ryan and Munenori Kawasaki came through with three hits apiece. Kawasaki's batting a cool .450 for the spring. I don't know what it means to bat a cool .450 instead of a regular .450, but I keep seeing "cool" used as an adjective for good stats so I'm just trying to belong. I really don't get it though.
- Munenori Kawasaki is batting a cool .450 for the spring.
- Munenori Kawasaki is batting a cold .450 for the spring.
- Munenori Kawasaki's .450 spring batting average is colder than a witch's teat.
It doesn't make sense. Shouldn't it be "batting a red-hot .450 for the spring"? Don't we use heat to imply success and coldness to imply failure? Is it irony? Would it truly be irony, if it were meant as irony? What a stupid thing to say. Forget trying to belong. Munenori Kawasaki isn't batting a cool .450 for the spring. Munenori Kawasaki is batting .450 for the spring, which is good.
Carlos Peguero went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. But that isn't it. This was Carlos Peguero's afternoon:
- vs. Moyer: HBP
- vs. Moyer: strikeout swinging
- vs. Moyer: HBP
- vs. Matt Reynolds: strikeout swinging
- vs. Esmil Rogers: strikeout swinging
The Mariners might've thought, "all right, Moyer, Peguero can get some reps against offspeed stuff." And then Moyer's like "fuck that, beanballs." Carlos Peguero was given three opportunities to test himself against baseball's king of slow slop. The king took two of those opportunities away. Kind of. The first HBP came on the second pitch, and the second HBP came on the fifth pitch, but I've already typed all this so I'm going with it. Jamie Moyer drilling Carlos Peguero is like blowing a spitwad at an ambulance.
Jesus Montero also got hit. But he got hit in the head, by not-Jamie Moyer. Whoever Edgmer Escalona is made himself a new enemy, and then several more enemies on top of that one in people trying to say his name for the first time. Edgmer. Edge-murr? Ed-guh-murr? Ed-gurr? Ee-dee-gee-murr? I'm going to call him Edge, because of his name, and because I'd like to push him off one.
What we wanted to see from Felix, we didn't see, in that he topped out around 90-91. This velocity range is down considerably from what we're used to, and no matter what Felix says and what the coaches say, they might have agendas. Numbers don't have agendas. Numbers don't have any interests to worry about, or anything to worry about, because they're numbers. This is a thing, the way that Michael Pineda's low velocity was a thing in New York.
But there's no arguing with Felix's performance. He spun four shutout innings, allowing two hits. He struck out six, and of the Rockies' 25 attempted swings, ten of them missed. The numbers say that Felix was Felix, except for that one specific type of number.
So we continue to monitor. Felix's performance is reassuring. Felix's spirit is reassuring. The whole way this story is being handled by the team is reassuring. But it isn't completely reassuring, as I'm not completely reassured. I want to know for a fact that Felix is fine, and that even if he's just losing velocity with age, he'll still be successful. I know some people would say I'm making a mountain out of a molehill but this is a worrisome molehill, and some molehills get to be quite large.
On a more positive note, from Drayer's blog:
"Really?" [Felix] answered when told about Game Day. "I was throwing everything. Curve balls, sliders, changeups, cutters, everything."
Hisashi Iwakuma also threw and was fine. Tomorrow, the Mariners play their second-to-last fake game, against the Rockies. Then Wednesday, in the final fake game, the Mariners play the Rockies. Tomorrow will feature Erasmo Ramirez. Both games will take place at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. You'd like to see the Mariners' sticks do the talking, but of course the Mariners' sticks can't do all of the talking, because of the talking stick. That thing is just always talking. It was the stick's dream to be able to talk; without a companion, however, it is a curse. I don't know where a stick got a monkey's paw.