Think about all of the things you have to do. Maybe you have to schedule or re-schedule an appointment. Maybe you have to respond to a very long personal email. Maybe you have to complete a presentation or compose a ten-page paper or write a long blog post about abaseball game. Whether it's physical or not, you have a to-do list with things still left to do, and to some degree it stresses you out. You would feel better if you had gotten more done by now.
One trick to getting more done in less time is to become more active and efficient. Most people don't do this. Another trick to getting more done in less time is to add a bunch of routine shit to the to-do list you do every day already so you can evaluate the list and feel satisfied by how much you've crossed off. "All right, I've already brushed my teeth, washed individual dishes, checked for the mail, and prepared a sandwich. I am on a roll!" Make simple tasks out as assignments and you can feel good about completing your assignments.
If the Mariners' Tuesday to-do list simply read "win baseball game," then by now they would be sorely disappointed. That would've been their one thing, and they didn't do it. In baseball terms, that's an o'fer. But think about the things the Mariners did do Tuesday in Boston. They all woke up and got to the ballpark. They all ate, and they all stretched, and they all threw some baseballs. And then they played a whole baseball game. The game went eight and a half innings instead of nine innings because thedidn't need to bat a ninth time, but the Mariners did it, they played the whole thing. And through threatening rain! Environmental conditions jeopardized the action, but the Mariners stuck it out. They finished an official baseball game, and at the end of it, they had fewer runs than the other team did.
There was one major thing the Mariners didn't do today, and that was beat the Red Sox. There were several other things the Mariners did do today, and I'm just saying, they're in control of how disappointed they are. When you draft a to-do list, you can set yourself up to fail, or you can set yourself up to feel like you succeeded. It's a choice.
This was one of those baseball games after which people like to tell me "if you just skip the recap we'd understand." It got started at 1:10 for people on the West Coast, it ended just after 4, and in between 1:10 and just after 4, the Mariners were involved in practically nothing of interest to Mariners fans. Mariners games are of interest to Mariners fans, and today the Mariners were involved in a Mariners game, but if every Mariners game were like this one, then Mariners games wouldn't be of interest to Mariners fans, because there wouldn't be Mariners fans. This was just a three-hour void, and if you didn't watch it, you should consider yourself lucky. All baseball is pointless, but this baseball felt especially pointless. This was baseball that drives you to wonder "why baseball?" "Why not," I don't know, "art?"
I don't hold myself to a word count when I'm writing these things, but there is a running word count total in the corner of this editorial box, and this was a game that makes me look at it and sigh. People expect there to be content, and it's not like I don't want to deliver content - it's that I don't know what content there is to deliver. The Mariners were shut out. They have not been shut out as often as the Kyle Seager almost had a groundball single, but Mike Aviles cut it off with a nice play behind second. Groundball singles are the least interesting of hits., who have been shut out a bunch. The Mariners' offense has still been worse than the Angels' offense. Today, the Mariners did manage to hit a few balls hard, and some of them were converted into outs, but that isn't anything. It's not going to change your day to learn that
The Red Sox were for a time a team in a bit of disarray, but because they're the Red Sox the extent of the disarray was exaggerated, and the Mariners just ran into Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. Lester and Beckett are very good pitchers, and the Red Sox have a very good offense. I think the Mariners just functioned for the Red Sox the way the functioned for the Mariners - when the Mariners were finished playing the Twins, we felt a lot better about the state of things. Red Sox fans probably feel a lot better about the state of things, having seen these last two games. Maybe it'll prove short-lived but that's probably the way things feel now. The Red Sox cruised. They were never in danger, so these two games were comfortable for a team that hasn't had many comfortable games.
Would you believe that it was just in his last outing that Josh Beckett got rocked? He got rocked, he got booed, and he got criticized to all hell for playing golf. Today he spun seven shutout innings, with four hits and nine strikeouts. As Lester did the night before, Beckett today considered flirting with a no-hitter. As with Lester the night before, Beckett had his bid snapped in the fourth by an infield single. Beckett did a lot of what he wanted, and when he did something that wasn't what he wanted, the Mariners couldn't really make him pay.
You'd be amazed by some of the things that are possible in baseball. Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one game. Aroldis Chapman can throw a baseball a hundred miles per hour. Earlier today the scored four runs in four innings against Stephen Strasburg. Today it felt impossible that the Mariners could score against Josh Beckett. It probably was not impossible. Impossible is a very strong word. But the Mariners didn't score against Beckett, for seven innings, and that's evidence. The team just looked so weak.
It's all over now, at least. The Red Sox series, I mean, not necessarily the Mariners looking weak. The Mariners do not make another trip to Boston the rest of the year, so say goodbye to baseball played within geometric nonsense. Now the Mariners can get back to losing or possibly winning in baseball stadiums that don't look like a baseball stadium that got in a car accident.
/glances over at current word count
/makes modest celebratory fist pump
I don't know how I got to this point, but let's see how much further I can go! To the bullet holes, where I'm pretty sure I have nothing to tell you!
Blake Beavan's strength, as we're all well aware, is his ability to throw strikes. It is most certainly not his ability to keep the ball on the ground. It is even more certainly not his ability to miss bats. Beavan doesn't only post a tiny walk rate because batters can put the ball in play; Beavan posts a tiny walk rate because he really does throw more strikes than most other pitchers.
Today's game was played in drizzly conditions. I do not know how drizzly conditions affect the average pitcher. I do not know how drizzly conditions affect Blake Beavan specifically, and even more specifically Blake Beavan today. I could see a compelling argument being made that Beavan is better with a wet ball, I could see a compelling argument being made that Beavan is worse with a wet ball, and I could see a compelling argument being made that the ball didn't really get that wet today because baseballs don't spend much time in the air, and are constantly being replaced.
Beavan wasn't his normal self today, though. Maybe because of the weather, maybe because of something else, maybe because of nothing. Just 57 of his 93 pitches were strikes. He walked two batters in four innings, which isn't a lot of walks, but Beavan's career high for walks in a game is three, which he's done once. And to go with Beavan's two walks, he hit a batter. On the season now, Blake Beavan has six walks and five hit batters. Like I always tell you, Blake Beavan is super interesting.
The broadcast made note of how many foul balls the Red Sox were hitting. They attempted 45 swings against Beavan, and 25 went for fouls. Based on the league average, we would've expected about 17 or 18 fouls. I have no idea why I jotted this down as something to talk about. Do you see how empty this game was? I made a note to talk about Blake Beavan's foul balls allowed.
The pitch that David Ortiz hit out was a bad fastball. The pitch that Mike Aviles lined for a double was a good slider. Beavan didn't exactly get knocked around in his four innings, but he's a guy with a small margin of error, and today he couldn't do enough. Maybe the location deal wasn't about the weather. Maybe Beavan still isn't 100 percent after taking that comebacker off his elbow. I'll forgive Blake Beavan for today, and see what he does the next time. For Blake Beavan, my forgiveness means absolutely nothing. He will never know that he has been forgiven. Perhaps he will sense that he was forgiven in his heart, but he won't understand.
- As noted, both Jon Lester and Josh Beckett got people thinking by taking perfect games into the fourth inning. It wasn't just that the Mariners didn't have a baserunner in the first three innings; it was that both Lester and Beckett looked to be in command. Both perfect games were snapped by infield singles. The most dispiriting way to snap a perfect game or a no-hitter is with a home run. The second-most dispiriting way to snap a perfect game or a no-hitter is with an infield single. Haha, look how close you might have come! Your no-hitter was snapped because you allowed contact too weak to turn into an out! So much of the enjoyment I get out of Mariners games has to do with them spoiling other people's potential enjoyment.
- In the top of the fifth, during a mound conference, Dave Sims and Mike Blowers got to chatting about how weird it is that players and coaches still cover their mouths when they're talking. I think this is one of those things that people do because that's how they've always done it, and when people have always done something, they usually don't think about why they still do it. They just do it because they can't remember not doing it. This is going to take a trailblazer.
Catcher: I can't understand you when your glove is covering your mouth!
Pitcher: /lowers glove
Pitcher: I never knew!
Catcher: Now we don't have to do so many of these!
- The Mariners, like most baseball teams or every baseball team, shift the infield for David Ortiz. In the fifth inning today, Ortiz dropped a perfect bunt down the third-base line for a single. Fans eat it up when players do this, even though it takes the bat out of their hands. When players get intentionally walked, they get the bat taken out of their hands, and fans can't stand it. Fans are so weird.
- Staying in the fifth inning, Adrian Gonzalez batted with Ortiz on first. Gonzalez rolled a grounder down to Justin Smoak, who threw to Munenori Kawasaki, who threw back to Justin Smoak to complete the double play. Except it wasn't a double play, because Ortiz was called safe at second, because Kawasaki had come off the bag before receiving the throw. My first instinct was to be upset, because everybody grants the neighborhood play. My second instinct was to wonder, wait, why do we just accept the neighborhood play? If the fielder is not on the base then the runner is not out! How do we allow this! The neighborhood play is so stupid! I understand that it's about safety but it's not like catchers get the neighborhood play at home. What!
- In the second inning, Justin Smoak hit a foul ball that was almost a home run, and that was close enough to send the umpires in for a video review. The call was upheld and Smoak went on to strike out. And so the essence of Justin Smoak was captured by one single at-bat.
Tomorrow brings Felix, and against Ubaldo Jimenez, which sounds like it should be terrifying for us but isn't really because this year Jimenez has been a mess. Actually that still sounds like it should be terrifying for us. Maybe even extra terrifying. I'm in the mood for some walks and some dingers, by Mariners.