House built on the rock: Joe Saunders (.196 WPA)
House built on sand: Brad Miller (-.030 WPA)
I apologize for the brevity of tonight's recap but there is child illness in my home and has been all week. Rather than try to offer a compelling narrative I'm simply going to provide a few observations. The Mariners provided their own narrative tonight. They beat the hell out of a team that's spent the last two offseasons spending like mad to win. For many reasons this method of assembling a winner is looked at with substantial cynicism by most fans. If you're the type that enjoys schadenfreude note that the Angels have numerous large, long term contracts to players already past their peak performance and that it is July 12th and their playoff odds currently stand at 11.5%.
The Mariners may or may not be building the foundation of a consistent contender but there is at least a decent chance that the Albert Pujols contract is going to become untenable right around the time the sports/cable TV bubble bursts, leaving them financially crippled and solely dependent upon the resources of draft and player development that most team's fans have to grapple with. That is an encouraging thought.
- The counter to that idea of Angels collapse is personified in Mike Trout. It's no revelation to say that Mike Trout is an uber-talent, the kind that has the ability to shine at spotlight wattage for 10-15 years. In fact while it's obscured by Miguel Cabrera doing an excellent 1930 Hack Wilson impression Mike Trout is basically duplicating his MVP worthy 2012. Behold:
But, as everyone knows and unlike someone like Cabrera the bat is only one aspect of Trout's all around game. In addition to playing a plus defense in the outfield he excels at stealing bases. Since his MLB debut Trout has stolen 74 bases at a 90.2% success rate, which is phenomenal. Coming into tonight's game Mike Trout had only been caught stealing 8 times, 25% of those coming at the right arm of Mariner catchers. Oh, right. That's what Miguel Olivo was for.
Well make those totals 9 and 33% because tonight Albert Pujols swung through a low and away pitch and Mike Zunino launched a perfect throw to nab Trout by an hair at second. It was the kind of play that launched imagination. Zunino and Trout are both, presumptively, going to be regular fixtures on their perspective teams for many years in the future. Both are 1st round talents for a reason. When drafted it was Zunino's defense at the catcher position that lead the way on all of the hype for his selection at No. 3 overall. Tonight we saw a glimpse of why as well as the kind of strength on strength matchup baseball rarely gives outside of the pitcher/batter confrontation.
It was awesome. Here is to many more years of watching Mike Trout try to steal bases off Mike Zunino. And here's to many more instances of Zunino being Rulon Gardner to Trout's Alexander Karelin. What a beautiful baseball play.
- Raul Ibanez update: 24 HR. 6 shy of the 40+ record that has for me become the number one storyline of the 2013 Mariners for purely entertainment reasons. If Ibanez' SLG of .576 holds up (SPOILER: It won't) it would be the highest of any Mariner regular since Bret Boone slugged .578 in the 2001 year of concentrated WTF. His 1st home run tonight landed in the Hit It Here Cafe and was estimated at 438 feet.
Nothing that Raul Ibanez is doing right now is possible or real. Embrace every single second of it. Breath deeply the fumes of the miraculous my friends.
- Kyle Seager: 91 games. 3.6 fWAR. The Mariners have a young, star position player. No one outside of Seattle really gets it but don't let that alter how much you appreciate Kyle Seager: Boss.
- There were mixed opinions on how the Mariners fairly obviously spend the offseason attempting to boost the offense through simply hitting more home runs. Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse. These players are primarily known for one thing: dingers. In addition the team brought the fences in. The power shortage would ended, damn the process or cost.
Well it worked, as far as hitting dingers is concerned. The Mariners have now homered in 20 straight game, longest streak in MLB this season. Lest you think this is the team playing in bandboxes 13 of those 20 have been at home. The Mariners aren't going to hit win many more games this year than last but they hit a hell of a lot more home runs. Yay.(?)
Questions for you this Friday:
1) The Mariners have scored 38 runs the last 5 games. Without research what approximate period would you guess was the last time the team score more runs over a similar stretch.
2) In the golden days of 2013 do you have enjoyable plans for this weekend? If so, what?
3) Best video game you've played in 2013? I cannot compare anything to The Last Of Us because it has shattered my conception of how well video games can tell a mainstream story.
4) Are you having fun with this team? More so than the 2010-2012 versions?