On the one hand, losing generally doesn't feel so bad when you expect it from the get go. All signs before the game pointed to Jamie Moyer getting slaughtered by the middle of the Boston lineup, so I was more than prepared for a blowout. But on the other, to get so tantalizingly close only to fall short...that just sucks, regardless of context, since at the end of narrow ballgames you're always left looking back on how things would've been different had one or two at bats gone differently. If anything, it feels worse when that happens in games you expected to lose, because with the way your spirits get lowered, raised, and lowered again, it's almost like the team lost twice on the same day. That's rough, and it's one of several reasons why going into a game with any kind of expectations whatsoever is a terrific way to make your viewing experience worse.
I'm in a rush to get to bed, and tomorrow's game will be underway by the time most of you wake up anyway, so let's just get to the chart and try to end this quickly:
Biggest Contribution: Rafael Soriano, +11.5%
Biggest Suckfest: Ichiro, -20.2%
Most Important Hit: Reed double, +8.7%
Most Important Pitch: Gonzalez double, -12.7%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +17.9%
Total Contribution by Hitters: -67.9%
Congratulations to Adrian Beltre, whose streak of consecutive negative ratings has reached 14 games (going back to last September 30th). But don't celebrate the achievement just yet; if the way he's swinging the bat is any indication, there's a lot more where that came from, so the whole situation should look even better a week or two from now. You have to think that he'll eventually luck his way into a seeing-eye single with a man on third in a close game or something, or maybe a bases loaded HBP, but until that happens the streak should survive, and you know how much the announcers and coaching staff like to go on about the value of consistency. One could make the argument that Adrian Beltre has been the most consistent player on the team so far. It's good for Grover to know what he's going to get out of a guy when he's filling out the lineup card.
Before I give up and call it a night, I should congratulate Jamie Moyer on his surprisingly effective start that I don't think anyone saw coming. Despite getting squeezed by Tim Tschida at least a half-dozen times, he managed to keep the ball away from the fat part of the bat for most of the night while racking up his highest strikeout total since July 28th, 2004. The fly balls are a little foreboding, and the inclement weather almost certainly gave him an edge over the hitters, but it doesn't really make sense to worry about little things like that when, in the bigger picture, Jamie was great on a night when he very easily could've been shelled. We're going to need some people to chip in a bunch of quality starts behind Felix this year if we want the Mariners to contend, but they don't all need to come from one guy. Getting the occasional 6 IP/2 R game out of Jamie, Gil, or Joel goes a long way towards making everything more stable.
Tomorrow's game starts at 10:20am PDT, with Joel Pineiro going up against Tim Wakefield. I don't know too much about Cuban baseball, but I'd say there's a real good chance that these'll be the first knuckleballs Yuniesky Betancourt's ever seen. Also, Kenji Johjima's scheduled to get the day off, with Rene Rivera getting the start and acting as the third total black hole in the lineup. It's funny how Rivera's on the active roster while Guillermo Quiroz - a better player - cleared waivers and reported to the minors after being DFA'd. Well, it's not so much funny as it is needlessly inefficient, but whatever, backup catchers are spectacularly irrelevant over the course of the season, and there are much bigger things for us to worry about.