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You get conditioned for stuff like this.

My personal story:

Ottawa Senators:
-1997, loss to Buffalo in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
-1998, loss to Washington in EC Semifinals
-1999, loss to Buffalo in EC Quarterfinals
-2000, loss to Toronto in EC Quarterfinals
-2001, loss to Toronto in EC Quarterfinals
-2002, loss to Toronto in EC Semifinals
-2003, loss to New Jersey in EC Finals
-2004, loss to Toronto in EC Quarterfinals

Seattle Mariners:
-1997, loss to Baltimore in ALDS
-2000, loss to New York in ALCS
-2001, loss to New York in ALCS

Seattle Seahawks:
-1999, loss to Miami in first round
-2003, loss to Green Bay in first round
-2004, loss to St. Louis in first round

Seattle Supersonics:
-1996, loss to Chicago in championship
-1997, loss to Houston in Western Conference Semifinals
-1998, loss to Los Angeles in WC Semifinals
-2000, loss to Utah in WC Quarterfinals
-2001, stopped caring about basketball

If you want to break it down even further:

Seattle Mariners:
-1997, loss to Baltimore in ALDS
-2000, loss to New York in ALCS
-2001, loss to New York in ALCS
-2002-2003, wasted 90+ win seasons
-Chris Snelling's always hurt
-Talented young pitching is always hurt
-Franchise wasted A-Rod/Griffey/Johnson/Edgar/Buhner all on one team
-Beltre disappointment
-Awful for two seasons
-Good Mariner teams disappointed at trade deadline
-Miguel Olivo bust
-Gil Meche bust
-Willie Bloomquist existence
-Bullpens of the 90's
-Jose Mesa blowing first game at Safeco
-Arthur Rhodes + David Justice/Rondell White
-Twelve-run meltdown vs. Cleveland
-Matt Thornton

I could go on, but I won't. The point? After a while, these sorts of things just don't get to you anymore. You develop such thick skin that you can watch a reliever walk in the winning run for a division rival and laugh about it five minutes later. Part of me feels good for being able to brush it off as if nothing happened, but another part of me feels like, by developing this sort of attitude, I'll be unable to appreciate the good times. Fortunately, it doesn't look like there'll be any of those on the horizon, so it shouldn't be a problem for a while. Some might say it's a little depressing that my goal in watching sports is to avoid disappointment, rather than experience pleasure. These people are probably right.

Really, what can you say? The Mariners are a bad team, and bad teams will have occasional meltdowns against good teams. If anything, I'm glad it happened in Oakland, so that we can give the A's a bit of a push to get out of their slump and pass up those cute little Angels once and for all. You never like to blow this kind of game late, but Eddie's been so spectacular this year that you can't justifiably blast him, and at the end of the day, the M's still took two of three from a playoff contender. In the grand scheme of things, it's not so much a devastating collapse as it is something to build off.

Biggest Contribution: Greg Dobbs, +13.4%
Biggest Suckfest: Eddie Guardado, -75.1%
Most Important Hit: Dobbs single, +10.7%
Most Important Pitch: Chavez double, -39.7%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -71.8%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +23.4%

(What is this?)

And that, my friends, is the worst (and largest) individual player rating of the season. That said, if you're bitter about how Guardado pitched today, just read this story and you'll feel a lot better. Besides, it's not like he doesn't have a reasonable excuse - he'd pitched on three of the previous four days coming in, and given that we're nearing the end of the season, his trick shoulder is probably running out of steam. With how he's exceeded expectations and pitched so well this year, I can't rag on Eddie for a bad day. It'd be like picking on Felix on the rare occasion that he's off his game (if that ever happens).

Here's the part I disagree with, though: calling for Jeff Nelson to get out of Eddie's mess, leaving Rafael Soriano (along with Scott Atchison and Shigetoshi Hasegawa, for that matter) in the bullpen. Now, obviously, Hargrove's thinking was that he didn't want Soriano's first appearance to come with one down and the bases loaded in the ninth inning of a tie game, but does he really need to be that protective? Soriano's not a rookie, and he has plenty of experience in high-leverage situations. He'd pitched well in Tacoma and is as ready as he'll ever be to resume pitching in Seattle.

The real problem, though, is with Nelson himself. Even though he's been virtually unhittable against righties this year, he's still walked more than 13% of the batters he's faced, and - barring a double play - he was due to face a switch-hitter in Swisher after Ginter. Why is that such a big issue, you ask? Because lefties own Nelson, to the tune of a .457 OBP. .375 a year ago. .400 the year before that. .347 in 2002. Jeff Nelson simply walks too many hitters to be effective in situations where he can't afford to put someone on base. It's not his fault Hargrove saw him fit to pitch today - that was just improper usage, and the team got burned because of it. I don't like discussing managerial incompetence very often, but this was a bad move from the start.

Jeremy Reed since August 1st:

.263/.339/.386. It's something.

Earlier in the year, when Matt Thornton was around and George Sherrill wasn't, some people pointed to Thornton's strikeout rate in an attempt to justify the decision, that he was a true "power lefty," something Sherrill could never dream of becoming.

Thornton: 21.3% K
Sherrill: 29.1% K

Hmm. Sherrill looks to be better at that, too. The list of things that Matt Thornton does more effectively than George Sherrill has thus been reduced to (1) sucking, (2) proving that no matter how tall they are, white guys still can't play basketball, and (3) cellular respiration. There's probably nothing Sherrill can do about two of those.

Vanity License Plates Ryan Franklin Will Never Have on his Truck:

MY_BAD
ALMVP05
9IP_0HR
NOXCUSE
2HUMBLE
I♥0RUNS

Erik Bedard and Jamie Moyer Friday at 7:05pm PDT.