Due to a Mother's Day get together, this is coming a little late and will have to brief. 31 games into the 2004 season, the M's were 12-19 and I was none to happy. After most of those early season Mariner losses, I would frequently undergo a Mr. Hyde transformation, wrecking havoc on any unsuspecting objects that would get into my path. This season after 31 games, the Mariners are 13-18, but the Mr. Hyde transformation is gone and has been replaced by a Jeff Spicoli perspective. The reason? I don't expect them to win every night. In fact, I don't expect them to win more games than they lose. I know that they will eventually go on a stretch that will pull them closer to .500 and I am content with that and any more would make me ecstatic. It's not that I have given up on this team but they have a rough road ahead. They will get better, it's just going to take time and I'm willing to be patient.
With that being said, I am beginning to believe that this perspective has rubbed off on some of the players (except for Villone, but we'll touch on that later). There are times when certain players look like they are trying to remember if they left the iron plugged in before leaving their hotel room while they are at the plate. The team just looks flat, like baseball robots that show up for nine innings, do what they can and then go home to watch QVC or The Weather Channel. Something needs to shake this club up, make them realize its okay to smile, laugh and enjoy their job. Its baseball, not multilateral talks with North Korea.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Jeremi Gonzalez, (yes, this Jeremi Gonzalez), held the Mariners to three runs on four hits with six strikeouts. This game was the epitome of the M's skid, suspect starting pitching and lack of any offense whatsoever. The Red Sox jumped on Pineiro early and never looked back, as Gonzalez cruised through the Mariners line-up for five and two thirds only to give way to the Bob Melvin, er, Terry Francona bullpen rotation.
Ryan Franklin finally got some run support in the second game of the double header, thanks to a Richie Sexson grand slam in the top half of the seventh. There were several well hit balls that on a different day could have done some significant damage, but yesterday turned into deep fly-outs. Franklin took full advantage of the brutal weather conditions in Fenway, which helped turn a David Ortiz two-run homer into a long fly-out in the first.
With two out and one on in the Mariners top half of the seventh; they were greeted by Cla Meredith, who happened to be making his major league debut. He promptly walked Winn and Beltre and Sexson followed with a drive the curved around the right field foul pole. Ideally, this will provide a much needed spark that will get the offense churning on all cylinders as the team heads to New York.
Ron Villone came absolutely unglued in the 7th inning, when a David Ortiz blooper came extremely close to the foul line and was called fair. The call could have gone either way, but from my biased opinion the ball looked like it was foul. Villone also thought the ball was foul, proceeding to throw his arms in the air and then run towards third base umpire Ed Hickox to have a heated conversation on the values of debt consolidation and bond diversification. Villone left peacefully, but erupted again in the dugout and had to be held back by teammates and Don Baylor. Perhaps this is reaction that may spark the team and light a fire underneath them, or it could mean that Villone has some more elbow room on the plane ride and bench for the next couple days.
~Beltre looks to be coming out of his early season funk, going 5-11 with 2 BB this series. He is starting to hit the ball on the screws again and hopefully he turns that corner in the coming games.
~Wiki Gonzalez had a solid first game back to the big leagues, going 3-4 with two doubles and a run scored. If he can keep this production level up, he may start taking AB away from Olivo.
~Tomorrow night's game has Gil Meche and the M's facing Randy Johnson and the Yankees, the same Yankees who lost a four game series to Tampa Bay this week.