Nikola Tesla: Kyle Seager (.011 WPA)
Thomas Edison: Aaron Harang (-.337 WPA)
One of the byproducts of a team featuring as many young players as the Mariners is how easy it is to find something positive. The team just got a full on Brandon Knight experience and yet a cursory glance at the night's happenings and I can convince myself to feeling good about Brad Miller continuing to get on base at a regular clip, Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak drilling doubles or even Michael Saunders getting an extra base hit for the 3rd straight game. Even in an obliteration like tonight's the power of youth's rays pierces some mighty dark clouds.
Old players are oftentimes a bore because their abilities and narratives are already known (note: Raul Ibanez is the exception that proves this rule), but young players are fun because they drop you into the beginning of something. It could be a fairy tale. It could be The Road. Hopefully it's good because there are few things more thrilling than realizing you've got a great story on your hands, checking the book's spine and seeing hundreds of pages still to read. At least these Mariners are at the beginning of something. The story's a bit uneven but all my favorite characters have strong redemptive qualities. It's enough to keep me attached.
- Through a wide variance of success this year the overall line on Aaron Harang has been pleasantly average. The term "pedestrian career" seems to carry a bit of a negative connotation but in the world of starting pitchers a healthy arm that regularly produces pedestrian results is something most teams would be glad to have more of. Seriously you can make a great living as a starting pitcher by staying healthy and simply not being terrible. Just ask this guy.
Harang's FIP (4.16), K% (19.1) and HR% (10.2) are all right in line with career norms. There have been two variations in 2012, both due to regress, one good and one bad. The BB% of 3.6% is almost half his career average and WAY down from 2012 (10.8%) and the LOB% of 64.5% is also off from the career number (73.5%). Those will both go up but his results will likely stay mostly static.
Aaron Harang's just a big, doofy, tertiary character from Tombstone pitching baseballs for a living. He's not great and he's not terrible. His credit line in the movie of the 2013 Mariners' movie will be small and waaaaay towards the end, at the point where the only people left in the theater are waiting for an easter egg post-credits (That would be more Brendan Ryan celebrity impressions by the way.) He's never going to be Felix. But when Aaron Harang has nights like this never forget that you are a fan of the Seattle Mariners. You know terrible. This isn't it.
- Brendan Ryan pinch hit for Nick Franklin in the 8th inning, carved out an 8-pitch at bat and drilled a 95 MPH fastball for a home run. If someone watched Brendan Ryan play for the 1st time tonight I can't imagine a sequence that could do more to misinform that person as to what makes Brendan Ryan a serviceable major league baseball player. Always the jokester.
- Nick Franklin K% first 20 games: 14.5%
Nick Franklin K% last 20 games: 29.4%
I'm just gonna go to the liquor cabinet and pour some Old Overholt on the rocks and pretend that this bullet point isn't real because Nick Franklin is awesome and the Mariners finally have a core of exciting young players and oh please, please tell me it's not February 2nd again.
- Tomorrow while you are working like a stupid sucker a 23 year old from Nicaragua is making his season debut. I'll admit to melancholic feelings about Jeremy Bonderman's DFA due to the narrative but now it's Erasmo time. Thanks to his age, injury history and the fickle nature of the profession of baseball pitcher it's hard to know what to expect. But if, IF this team is headed towards a legitimately enjoyable 2014 the odds are that Erasmo Ramirez will figure prominently on that team. Tomorrow is a big day.
Questions for you because tonight's game did not produce enough of them:
1) Growing up who was your favorite baseball player who wasn't a star?
2) You have to choose for the rest of your life between consuming stories through either one-shot motion picture or seasons of episodic television. Which do you choose and why?
3) Are you enjoying this long, early onset stretch of Summer or do you find the relative heat to be tiresome and long for the chilly embrace of Fall?
4) What admittedly awful music do you enjoy?