If you look closely enough, life is full of little treats. Finding a quarter on the sidewalk. Seeing a hummingbird briefly hover outside your back window. Nutrageous bars. They're the things that bring a smile to your face, if only for a passing moment, and help you get through what would otherwise be a wearisome, monotous day. They may not seem like much, but it's these ordinary little treats that make existence seem not so terrible.
That said, life is also full of huge, awesome treats that blow the little things out of the water. Becoming president. Solving Linear A. Running down Ashlee Simpson on a residential boulevard and knocking her unconscious. And beating the Angels. I know it comes up every time we play those guys, and you're probably getting sick of me talking about it by now, but as far as I'm concerned, there are few things more satisfying than watching the Mariners clobber the Halos in front of 80,000 vermilion Thunderstix. Days like today might as well be holidays, because as soon as the final out is recorded I start bouncing off the walls in animated celebration, leaving myself in no shape to get anything accomplished for the rest of the afternoon.
With their second series win over the Angels in as many attempts, the Mariners are now out of the cellar, with the added bonus of being just 3.5 games behind the first place Rangers. And as if that isn't already enough, we get an off day tomorrow to savor the feeling.
Sometimes, if you let it, baseball can be very, very good to you.
Biggest Contribution: Jose Lopez, +20.0%
Biggest Suckfest: Gil Meche, -15.4%
Most Important Hit: Betancourt homer, +18.3%
Most Important "Pitch": Kennedy homer, -21.5%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +2.0%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +45.1%
Another game the Mariners win despite getting an awful start from Gil Meche. He'd look even worse in the Win Probability Added numbers if I had charged him with an extra-base hit allowed on Jeremy Reed's incredible full-extension catch on a line drive by some guy named Tommy Murphy in the sixth, but I can't let myself do that because defense is way too subjective, and rewarding position players for making catches that strike me as extraordinary only serves to create a gray area where I'd prefer that everything be black and white. So we just have to accept that occasionally we'll be left in positions like this, where we know that the numbers may not reflect what happened on the field with 100% accuracy.
Coming into the season, I wasn't sure which of Pineiro and Meche would pitch his way out of a starting role first, but then I remembered that Gil Meche totally sucks, and every five days the answer to the preseason dilemma becomes more and more clear. He really does stand out as the worst arm in the group, the hopeless yahoo behind four other guys who at least periodically have their stuff together. If the Mariners rotation were a TGI Friday's commercial, Jarrod Washburn would be "Ribs!", Joel Pineiro would be "Beef!", Felix would be "Pork!", and Meche would be "Vegetable medleyyyyyyy!" (Jamie Moyer excluded because he's usually asleep by the time the rest of the guys go get dinner). As much as I lamented the team's lack of starting pitching depth two months ago, Gil is awful and needs to go. None of Jeff Harris, Francisco Cruceta, or Bobby Livingston could possibly be any worse than this if given the opportunity.
Of course, the one good thing Gil apparently does for this team is wake up the bats. No stranger to an inordinate amount of run support, Gil was spared a loss by a spectacular display of raw power from the same lineup that entered the day with the lowest Isolated Slugging Percentage in the American League. It was enough to make your jaw unhinge and drop to the floor, because we've become so accustomed to the one-base-at-a-time sort of rally that seeing Mariner hitters send balls over fences leaves you in a state of gleeful bewilderment. If you had asked me a week ago if I thought Jeremy Reed and Yuniesky Betancourt would have a single home run between them at the end of the season, I would've had to think long and hard about it before coming to the conclusion that Yuni would probably pick up an inside-the-parker at some point during the year. And now they have four, accumulated in a single series against the team I hate more than anyone else in the league. In a telling indication of my lack of imagination, that's beyond even my wildest dreams.
Can God throw a fastball so good even Jose Lopez can't hit it out of the park?
Places Kevin Gregg Was Mistaken For An Employee And Asked For Help By A Customer Who Didn't Recognize Him As a Professional Baseball Player:
Liz's Antique Hardware
Angel Stadium team store
Neighborhood yard sale
Anaheim has committed 11 of its 23 errors this year in just six games against the Mariners, due in large part to Mike Hargrove's new "aggressive baserunning" tactic. Meaning that the team least equipped to deal with Angels-style baseball is, apparently, the Angels.
There are probably other things worth talking about at least a little bit - like Fruto's surprisingly confident and effective debut, or Carl Everett's homer, or the fact that Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre have the two lowest OPS' on the active roster - but at a time like this, there's no need to blather on and on. The Mariners just took another series against the Angels and pulled themselves out of last place. Revel in the moment, and enjoy your Monday.