- Hisashi Iwakuma came into the game the 10th lowest FIP in the AL at 3.23. His 7 IP, 8K, 1 BB, 1 R performance tonight lowered it to 3.08. A pitcher that generates the results of Iwakuma is always fun but one of the added virtues of an Iwakuma performance is the semi-irregular way he achieves those results. It shouldn't surprise you to know that of those top 10 FIPs 5 of them belong to pitchers who also have a fastball velocity in the top 10 (including 4 of the top 5). Hisashi Iwakuma's fastball velocity is 35th out of 46 qualifying AL starters. Iwakuma is producing at a near elite level right now and doing a bit of a zig to the other guys' zag. It's fun.*
If the Mariners get only one all star it will most likely be Felix, and no one's going to be upset about him getting the honor. But despite the team's overall play both Felix and Iwakuma should make the team.
*Enjoy the enjoyability of this bullet point and do not focus on the fact that Doug Fister has an even lower FIP with an even lower fastball velocity. Do. Not. Focus.
- Baseball is amazing. That's a statement that we typically make following a moment of extreme rarity or drama. But it also applies to the many ways in which it clings to vestiges of ignorance that took root in the game's infancy. Somewhere, sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century baseball players decided if a runner made it on base in the 9th inning and didn't represent the tying run he could walk around the field with his pants down singing Gilbert and Sullivan and no one would pay him any mind. That ugly specter of antiquity reared its head again tonight when, in a 3-1 game with 2 outs the Mariners allowed J.D. Martinez to simply jog to 2nd base.
Look, the game is over if they throw him out. I'm not some McCrackenesque world alterer to point this out right? Baseball players get this yes? There has to be a reason. But I bet it's grounded more in the "this is how we play the game" than "this is how the rules of the game work" thinking. I imagine the line has something to do with ruining the pitcher's concentration but that argument really does not make any sense. I blame Cap Anson. Racist son of a bitch.
- We've all been watching Tom Wilhelmsen's sub-par peripherals catch up to him the last few weeks as he bucks and weaves his way through save opportunities. I'll just point out that while that's been going on he still hasn't given up a home run this year and that that is not going to stay that way. You have been warned.
- I'm sorry for the negativity. Here's a video that makes me feel better. Maybe it will do the same for you.
I feel like I'm supposed to start this out by talking about how the Mariners won. They did. They beat the Astros 3-2. There were as many errors as runs. There was one earned run in this game and it was on a home run by Raul Ibanez. Hisashi Iwakuma pitched well, Carter Capps and Tom Wilhelmsen slightly less well. The Astros played really badly in basically every facet of the game. They did that because they are quite bad and will remain so for the rest of the year whether the Mariners beat them or not.
That poorly written paragraph is about all I can conjure for the play-by-play happenings of this game. The entire game I couldn't stop thinking about that Mariners' starting lineup. It's haunting me. It's not the worst lineup ever. I mean, it's not good but come ON we are Mariners fans. We are the sommeliers of bad offenses. "I do believe if you want old, broken and utterly devoid of any meaning you will love the 2010 vintage sir." No this lineup was horrifying for where it is going, where it is not, and what it says about, well, a lot. Who in this lineup is a Mariner next year?
Bay - Nope
Seager - God yes
Morales - Maybe. Leaning towards no
Morse - Maybe
Ibanez - No
Shoppach - No
Chavez - No
Ryan - No
Triunfel - No
It is June 10. The team came into today 27-37. They are not going to the playoffs. This lineup is almost 100% band-aids. There is no Ichiro, an icon who retains the glimmar of his past glory. There is no Adrian Beltre, who manages to entertain regardless of results. There's no Nick Franklin, or even a Justin Smoak or Dustin Ackley; young players who's struggles are at least sufficiently frustrating to elicit a negative response. This lineup is nothing. It is a Frankenstein built from parts cast aside by other teams. It shambles slowly, and its eyes are glazed and unfocused because it has no soul.
Jack Z has had 4.5 years. In game 65 of his 5th season he had to use a lineup with zero upside that was one of the worst in the game. There's nuance and luck in every situation, doubly so for one as complex as the roster of a baseball team. But, today depressed me. It depressed me more than a loss. It depressed me because no matter what happened this game wasn't leading anywhere. There was nothing to learn, except A) we're boned. Still. And B) the eternal quest for the floor continues apace.