Ordinarily, I like to post long daily recaps, especially after a (somewhat) exciting game like tonight's. Having to swing by the airport at five in the morning tomorrow sort of cuts into my time, though, so this'll be another quick one. To the chart:
Biggest Contribution: Jamie Moyer, +30.9%
Biggest Suckfest: Raul Ibanez, -10.2%
Most Important Hit^: Morse single, +11.9%
Most Important Pitch: Matos double, -19.1%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +44.0%
Total Contribution by Hitters: -16.6%
(Note: the error that allowed Willie to reach base in the ninth earned a +16.7% rating.)
The short of it: Jamie had one of his best starts of the season in front of a healthy weekend crowd, JJ Putz was able to keep a close game close, and Mike Morse delivered another big hit to send everyone home happy, except the Orioles, who are neither going home nor feeling particularly chipper. Perhaps more importantly, though, Willie Ballgame was able to extend his hit streak to 11 games after the notoriously generous Safeco scorekeeper gave him an infield single for his efforts in the ninth inning. Call it what you will, but that "1" in the hits column probably earned Willie another start tomorrow afternoon.
The question is, does he deserve it? So far this year, he's taken time away from Mike Morse, Jeremy Reed, and Jose Lopez in getting into the lineup. A comparison:
Bloomquist, pretty clearly, is the worst player of the four. Throw in the fact that he's three years older than Reed, four years older than Morse, and six years older than Lopez, and it's not hard to see that Willie's upside just isn't as interesting as those of the other players. So, yeah, Willie's developing into a useful utility player, but utility players don't play this often, and they don't play at the expense of younger, more talented athletes. It's bad enough that Snelling hasn't gotten the opportunity to show off; we don't need our other young guys fighting for time on top of that.
What was Willie doing at the plate in the ninth against a righty, anyway? That was the perfect time to pinch-hit Reed or Snelling against a nervous guy on the mound with limited Major League experience. Instead, Willie was left in to remind us all of how he does the little things that don't show up in the box score, like miss bunts. As much as Hargrove has said recently that he likes the young talent on the roster, does anyone actually believe him?
Anyhoo, a fun way to end an otherwise slow ballgame. You write the rest of the recap, if you're so inclined. Suggested photoshop: Ichiro charging the mound after getting hit in the back. I only say this because it's something I would've done if I had the time.
Gil Meche goes up against a really fat guy tomorrow at 1:05pm.