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There's all kinds of good stuff that comes out of this win. First series sweep since last June. Latest in a season the team's been above .500 since September 28th of 2003. The Mariners are in first place (tied with "Anaheim") for the first time since August 27th of the same year. Even if it was just Kansas City, these were three wins at the start of the season. Considering that the team went 0-5 out of the gate a year ago, I'll take what I can get.

There are three different ways to talk about what's happened so far this season: (1) the optimistic approach, (2) the pessimistic approach, and (3) the realistic approach. I'll let you choose whichever one suits you best. Here are the topics:

The Mariners just completed a series sweep.

Optimist: Three in a row! The Mariners are gearing up at the start of the year and beating weak teams, which they didn't do last season.

Pessimist: It was Kansas City, the only AL team worse off than we were in 2004. You'd better win a series against the Royals.

Realist: We're nine games into the season. We don't know anything yet.

Seattle has the best team ERA in the AL, at 3.33.

Optimist: Who said the pitching wouldn't be good this year? Moyer, Sele and Franklin have really stepped it up. They've all had success before and they looked good in their starts, so why can't this continue?

Pessimist: They also have the worst K/9 ratio in baseball. Their success so far is a function of defense and keeping the ball in the park, neither of which are likely to continue at this rate for the rest of the year.

Realist: We're nine games into the season. We don't know anything yet.

Richie Sexson has seven extra-base hits (and four homers, nevermind what the official scorekeepers say) in nine games.

Optimist: Premier first baseman right here. His shoulder's fine and he's ready to lead the AL in RBI all year long. The minute he connected for a homer on the first pitch of the season, we knew he was fine.

Pessimist: The question isn't his strength, it's his shoulder's durability. There's a better-than-average chance that it completely falls apart at some point during the year. Then what?

Realist: We're nine games into the season. We don't know anything yet.

Wilson Valdez hasn't completely sucked.

Optimist: Hey, Wilson Valdez hasn't completely sucked!

Pessimist: Yes he has.

Realist: Does it really matter?

Jamie Moyer hasn't allowed a homer in his first three starts.

Optimist: Just like 2000, 2004 was an aberration. He has his changeup working well and he's keeping hitters off balance, just like he used to do in his better years. He's prepared to be the ace of this rotation going forward, if Madritsch is out for a long time.

Pessimist: Have you bothered to watch his starts this year? He's living on the edge, and not in the way that any finesse pitcher is risky. He's gotten hit, hard, and he generally just hasn't looked real good most of the time.

Realist: We're nine games into the season. We don't know anything yet.

Indeed, Jamie Moyer may be the story of the day, as he overcame some dangerous early struggles in allowing two runs over seven innings. The box score doesn't really give a good impression of just how close he was to being bombed in the first few frames, though. He was missing around the zone with his changeup and was forced to come back over the plate after falling behind hitters, and the Royals hit a bunch of balls on the screws. Just as it did yesterday, the wind knocked down a few potential big hits. The good news is that Moyer improved as the game went on; where it once looked like we may have a Thornton long relief appearance on the horizon, Moyer turned it on and started hitting his spots. It looked like everyone pretty much stopped caring after Sexson hit his home run, but that may have been a function of Jamie's pitching. Nothing quite like a lineup with a .612 career OPS batting cleanup to cure what ails you.

The big scare came when Scott Spiezio pinch-hit for Adrian Beltre in the top of the fourth, and we learned that Beltre had been pulled from the game with lower back tighness. In the prior inning Beltre snared an Eli Marrero line drive to third, and he apparently tweaked a muscle in the process, as he was visibly grimacing (edit: Apparently Beltre hurt his back on a swing in the first inning, not making the play in the third). My first instinct was to find out what kind of timetable we could be looking at with that kind of injury, but I didn't have to look too far; Mark Teahen was placed on the DL earlier this series with the same kind of thing going on in his back. Fortunately, Beltre appears to have contracted a mild form of the injury, as Hargrove says he should be fine in time for tomorrow's night game in Chicago. Pay close attention to his mobility and power, and don't be surprised if they take a little while to come all the way back.

Seriously, Scott Spiezio. It's the friggin' Royals. Can Justin Leone get some love from someone? Please? Hargrove left the veteran in to lead off the eighth inning in a blowout against a lefty taken in the Rule 5 draft. Isn't that the ideal situation for an unknown righty bench bat to get a little playing time? But hey, what do I know, I'm just a guy, and Mike Hargrove has 1,001 wins under his belt.

10-2. If ever there was an appropriate time to use Matt Thornton in a ballgame, this was it.

Something I'll never understand: Denny Bautista was having all kinds of trouble in the top of the fourth, and he was pulled with men on second and third and one down in a 4-2 game. The guy who relieved him, Mike Wood, proceeded to issue an intentional walk to Ichiro, the first batter he faced. Was it really necessary to summon a fresh arm from the bullpen to put Ichiro on base? Bautista was doing a fine job of that himself.

When a hitter's coming to the plate, and the announcer says something along the lines of "talk about a guy who's due," it's just a polite way of saying "he really sucks".

Along similar lines, a Kansas City announcer had the following to say during a Joe McEwing at bat:

It's a battle every time he goes to the plate.

Did he mean one of those battles you fight with yourself when you're about to do something really stupid? Or maybe he meant it in the way that spraying your garden roses with insecticide is a battle against aphids. He certainly couldn't have meant that it was some kind of difficult battle involving the pitcher, because McEwing's hit .230/.285/.297 in the last three years. I could be wrong, but I think that's what we usually call a "forfeit".

Did you see that six-run fourth inning? Well, probably not, unless you have, but you've probably read about it. That's what's known as a "big inning" among fans of good teams, the kind of thing we almost never saw from last year's Mariners. All three run-scoring hits in the inning were doubles. Power is good. Look for several more of these over the rest of the year.

The first official Lookout Landing "Trace the Announcer Tangent":
Announcer #1: "So here's Julio Mateo to pitch the eighth, with the score 10-2 Seattle."
Announcer #2: "Back in the old days, we used to refer to this as 'mop-up' duty."
Announcer #1: "So I guess Mateo is mopping."
Announcer #2: "Mopping, he is."
Announcer #1: "Do you mop?"
Announcer #2: "You mean like, ever?"
Announcer #1: "Yeah. Do you ever mop?"
Announcer #2: "Yes I do, as a matter of fact."
Announcer #1: "Oh really?"
Announcer #2: "I mopped my floor just last night."
Announcer #1: "I'm impressed."
Announcer #2: "Always gotta keep the house clean."
Announcer #1: chuckling
Announcer #2: "...and Mateo closes out the inning, so we head to the ninth with the score still 10-2 Seattle..."

This really happened. They also went to some length to discuss the proper usage of the term "nary". How do these people have jobs? Are they actually getting paid?

Bad: Jeremy Reed only has six hits this year. Good: Four of them are doubles. He put a charge into a ball to break the game open in the fourth, launching a three-run double to deep left-center. Reed's starting to swing the bat a little better (.272 in his last six games), which should keep the people who want to move Randy Winn back to #2 at bay for a little while. Besides, it's not like Winn doesn't have his own problems.

Wilson Valdez has an incredibly strong arm. The next time you see the Mariners on TV, pay attention to how he throws. Even when he doesn't have time to set his feet and get proper momentum behind the ball, he still strong-arms a dart to first base. Sure, he's only got a .296 OBP so far, but at least the defense has been fun.

Joel Pineiro gets his first start of the year with the Mariners tomorrow, opposing Jon Garland at 8:05pm EDT. It's a good matchup for Joel, as the White Sox put a bunch of hackers in the lineup that should keep him from battling through long innings. Remember to keep an eye on his pitch count, as there's really no excuse for letting him surpass 100 pitches. As for Garland, he's a contact pitcher with a home run problem and occasional command issues. The fact that we get to face him in a hitter-friendly environment tomorrow should help ease the potential torture of having to listen to the White Sox broadcast team.