Seattle Mariners Play The Cleveland Of Baseball Games

it was funnier when Mike Hargrove did this to Matt Thornton

I've never actually been to Cleveland, myself. Looking at a map, I can't recall ever being anywhere particularly close to Cleveland. I have spent a weekend in Rochester, which is closer to Cleveland than I am right now, and probably just about as dreary, but I have no personal experience in Cleveland to speak of. All I have are people's jokes and stereotypes, and here I am playing off of those jokes and stereotypes because today's baseball game didn't leave me with anything better. People have told me that Cleveland is shitty, and today's baseball game was shitty, so, voila, intro magic. Oh, Ms. Jeff was just in Indianapolis, and my impression of Indianapolis isn't a whole lot different from my impression of Cleveland. But, again, jokes and stereotypes. Maybe Cleveland is actually wonderful. I should give it a chance someday. Today's baseball game wasn't wonderful. It was really shitty, for us.

I'm not going to write a full recap. I don't know what I'm going to write beyond this sentence. It's been hard enough to write full recaps after the last few games, and there's another game tomorrow morning at 9:05. It just wouldn't make sense to pour energy into this and at some point I have to do what's sensible. I was actually hoping to have this done by now, so I could have forgotten about this game entirely by now, but I was delayed by a crazy incident with Will Rhymes, so instead of being done by now, I'm here right now, trying to think of the right way to explain to you that you shouldn't want this baseball game explained to you.

Already, I find it hard to work up much enthusiasm for Mariners games against the Indians in Cleveland. I don't know why that is, because Mariners games against the Indians seem to turn out exciting more often than Mariners games against other teams, but I don't have to know why it is to know that it is. This was a Mariners game against the Indians in Cleveland, and it's not like we're entertaining real hopes for the Mariners to make a playoff run. Helping to make the game more appealing at the start was that the Mariners were handing the ball to Felix Hernandez. The Mariners handed the ball to Felix Hernandez, and when they took the ball away from Felix Hernandez, the Mariners were behind 8-3 in the bottom of the fourth. A regular Mariners loss is usually a certain kind of unpleasant. A Mariners loss in which Felix isn't good is a different, more sinister kind of unpleasant. These games sting a little more, and they're a little harder to shake.

Felix said the problem was that he didn't have his good sinker. If I wanted to try to be encouraging, I'd point out that ten of the 17 balls in play Indians hitters registered against him were marked as grounders, but Felix didn't have his command and got hit, and there's no getting around that. Even the worst performances might have some vaguely positive statistical indicators. This was among Felix's worst performances. On the plus side, he had a truly miserable performance against the Angels on May 7, 2010, and then he posted a 1.84 ERA the rest of the way. But let's not try to pretend that there's anything good here.

Hopefully this is a start that stands out as an anomaly. Hopefully this is not a start that fits into a developing pattern. No amount of analysis any of us could do would tell us where Felix is going to go from here, so we'll just have to wait and see. We could find some clues, or what we could interpret as clues, but still we'd just have to wait and see. If you can't tell, this is how I'm excusing myself for skipping the analysis. Not every part of Felix's performance was bad, but too many parts of Felix's performance were bad, and in his next start he will face the Rangers. Fantastic! We all hope for Felix.

If you want actual Mariner positives, you could say there were two of them. Dustin Ackley went 3-for-4 with a homer, and Michael Saunders went 2-for-3 with a walk. Ackley homered in a 1-and-2 count in the third, and he got out in front of a low changeup and yanked it on a line into right. Ackley made a tremendous in-swing adjustment and blasted the ball almost entirely off of his front foot. Saunders' hits were groundball singles but he had more groundball singles than the entire lineup below him had hits, combined. Saunders is clearly in a bit of a funk, at least when it comes to extra bases, but his OPS is still above .700 in the middle of May, which is encouraging in the big picture. It's sad that we're celebrating Michael Saunders for having an OPS above .700 in the middle of May, but it's not so sad when you consider what Michael Saunders was a year ago. And when you consider the Mariners' collection of hitters.

Chone Figgins played. I had forgotten about him, but Mike Carp was a late scratch. Figgins didn't do anything. He went 0-for-3 with a throwing error. So I guess he did something. I wonder how Chone Figgins feels in a baseball game like this, in a job going nowhere on a team going nowhere. Chone Figgins probably has to try hard to live in the moment, because if Chone Figgins were to pull back from the moment, he might realize what he's become, and that the end of his career might be looming.

Jesus Montero looked bad at the plate and looked bad in the field. He went hitless in four at-bats, he allowed a run-scoring passed ball, and he committed a run-scoring throwing error. The convenient thing about games like these is that for young players like Montero, they're learning experiences. Montero having this game now means he might not have this game in the future. It doesn't work that way when Miguel Olivo has games like these. When Miguel Olivo has games like these, that's because Miguel Olivo is a guy who occasionally has games like these. So Olivo probably wouldn't have committed the throwing error. I don't know how I made this about Miguel Olivo. He isn't even playing!

I'm going to stop. Tomorrow morning, Hector Noesi gets the start, and he's interesting enough for me to pay attention. Since the game's so early many of you won't be able to watch, but I'll tell you about what you missed, unless it's all really shitty again. Then I don't know what I'll tell you about. What I'll tell you about in closing right here is that you should admire this home run that Travis Hafner hit, because, whoa, what a home run. That home run spent more time in the air than Jesus Montero spends running to first.

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