The Mariners lost 9-7 to their bitter occidental rivals, which is always a kick in the balls, but there was actually a lot of good that came out of this game. Notably: Gil Meche and Clint Nageotte being good, Kevin Appier being bad, and Justin Leone smacking a grand slam off of an old teammate who probably should've known better. I'm telling you, as long as it's not an important situation, I fully support Leone kicking our ass. And hey, with only Geoff Blum and Vinny friggin' Castilla blocking him in San Diego, maybe he'll get his chance at legitimate Major League revenge come summertime. All things considered, he really couldn't have asked for a better situation.
On the Mariners side, Meche faced the minimum through three innings of work, walking one and fanning three while inducing a double play. I wish he would've recorded more than two groundball outs, but that two-seamer is still a work in progress, and since it's essentially the only reason why I have even the slightest hope of Gil improving in 2006, I should probably give him more time. It's difficult to take up a new pitch in ST when you have to sit out for a week and a half with an oblique injury, so he's not at the point yet where we should be demanding results. That day will come. In the meantime, I'll be fine with a bunch of flyball-riddled scoreless innings.
Relieving Meche was Kevin Appier, who allowed a pair of runs and five baserunners in 1.1 innings before coming out of the game with a strained right calf. Even if it only keeps him out of action for a few days, Appier's a guy who really needs everything to go right to break camp with the team, so sucking and getting hurt at the same time is kind of a hope-dashing double-whammy. You have to wonder if this is God's response to Appier having this hilariously unflattering picture plastered all over the official website every other day. Although I guess if that's how things work, then Ezequiel Astacio probably never would have so much as sniffed nationally-televised postseason experience last October.
It's about time for certain guys to get their acts together. One of these guys is George Sherrill, featured earlier in this Doug Miller piece. A quote from the article:
Curiously, there's no mention of his younger (edit: actually older) brother, who we can only assume made George work for his familial affection. Anyway, Sherrill allowed another three runs today (courtesy of a three-run bomb by Blum), pushing his ST ERA up to 16.20. Even if he still looks like a frontrunner to grab one of those last bullpen spots, his grasp on the role is certainly more tenuous than it was two weeks ago. There's a chance that the team might be tempted to keep Luis Gonzalez hanging around while pushing Sherrill back to Tacoma, where he has absolutely nothing left to prove. That's bad. Now, I'm all for a little healthy springtime competition, but let's be honest with ourselves - poor string of meaningless appearances aside, George Sherrill might (might) be the best pitcher in the bullpen, and leaving him off the roster would needlessly make the team worse. Given that this is a Mariner team who'll need tons of things to go right to make the playoffs, bumping Sherrill to AAA doesn't really seem like a good way to kick things off.
Fernando Vina made an appearance in defensive relief of Jose Lopez, but he didn't record an at bat. Which is good for him, because offense is where he has the most difficulty not sucking, so he's better off leaving Hargrove to imagine what kind of hitter he is for as long as possible without having to actually demonstrate his ability.
Carl Everett hit his first home run of the spring this afternoon, and checks in with a .259 BA. Matt Lawton and Roberto Petagine are batting .500 and .476, respectively. I'm just saying.
Felix Hernandez against the Giants tomorrow.