Jon touched poignantly, I thought, on the different ways we feel and root for the Mariners when we have to write about them on regular occasions. I doubt anyone that regularly covers the team enjoys their seemingly perpetual mediocrity. It's fun to be around a winner. If you're a fan it's fun as hell to root for a winner. Journalists are taught, correctly, to distance themselves from their personal preferences when reporting on the everyday goings ons of whatever team they cover. Unbiased, objective observation has long been the bedrock of any quality journalist, sports or otherwise. One of the appealing factors to following a website like Lookout Landing is that we are not constricted by such professionalism.
So, let me say, I am rightly pissed. The Mariners went 1-12 with runners in scoring position. The starting pitcher the team grabbed in desperation two weeks into the season, after letting a superior candidate go in Spring Training, has thus far been an abject failure. The lineup tonight was the lineup of a tortured soul driven to desperation by the continued failure of his prize possessions. Tonight was nothing enjoyable. It was everything being a fan of this team has been for a decade. Tonight was best summed up by Samir.
It's not losing. The Mariners were outclassed by the starting pitching matchup and the Angels lineup contains a resplendent collection of names that are fit for the finest courts in all the baseball kingdoms. It's, again, the 1-12 in scoring position. It's Eric Wedge sitting Jesus Montero again, despite his .830 OPS against LHP last year. It's sitting Dustin Ackley for ROBERT TAPDANCING ANDINO! It's Justin Smoak getting thrown out at home for seemingly the 50th time this year despite the ball never leaving the infield. The Mariners tonight called every play in the "how to annoy an already frustrated and angry fanbase" playbook.
Objectivity is a powerful tool. It grants us wisdom from the moment, separates us from the immediate in a way that's essential to differentiating us from the instinct driven creatures of the wild. Tonight, for whatever reason, that mental curtain was pulled back and I seethed and raged with the ferocity of a wild animal. Baseball is a game of sloooooow play but still, every now and then, we want a payoff. Preferably at a greater rate than one in twelve.
- Aaron Harang continued his fat Jeff Weaver impression tonight. The righty allowed six runs through three innings and put a struggling offense in the kind of early deficit it has yet to overcome this year. It's been frustrating to watch Harang the last few weeks but it's important to note that, while not all that good, it's unlikely he's this bad. The LOB% of 56.8% and HR/FB rate of 27.3% are downright Vazquezian and scream unsustainable. Aaron Harang is not a very good starting pitcher at this point but being not very good is still a long ways from being Blake Beavan. Until the Mariners feature a fully armed and operational Erasmo Ramirez they have few to no better options than continuing to let Harang take the hill every fifth day. That is damming of many things. Have another drink.
- CJ Wilson was the starter for the Neon Green Glowsticks of Vapidsville tonight. For his career Wilson has turned left handed hitters into adorable slap-hitting kids OPSing .573. That said 25 year old number 2 draft pick Dustin Ackley was benched for 29 year old career journeyman Robert Andino. I think at this point Eric Wedge has stolen his wife's lipstick and painted faces on some baseballs that he keeps in this office. When confronted about them he reportedly indicated that while they have opinions he raised his voice and proclaimed "I don't, I DON'T let them tell me what to do."
- In the bottom of the 7th, with the team down by three runs and two outs Dustin Ackley hit a ball between first and second. In sequential order Jeff Datz waived Justin Smoak home from second, impeded his progress by standing in Smoak's lumbering path and then watched him get thrown out when Howie Kendrick made a fine play and refused to le the ball reach the outfield. At this point it seems safe to say that Jeff Datz recognizes in Smoak a kindred spirit in the awkwardness of gait and is attempting to prove to himself, us and his doubting parents that the less fleet of foot can score from second on a single. I am recommending counseling for the fine Mr. Datz, and for all of us who are witness to his macabre practices at third.
- Though it did little to shift the outcome of the game let it be forever recorded how Mike Trout, the "perfect ballplayer", performed a baseball act of incomparable ineptitude on Kendrys Morales' 9th inning popup. It was a play so routine, with victory at that point so assured that I can only hope the average Angel fan's response to Trout's drop was to switch to the Lakers game. I hope those fans wept.
- Game Thread