This one came closer than I would've liked to being the worst night of my life, and the final out engendered more a sigh of relief than exuberant celebration, but in the end all that matters is that the Mariners showed up and gained a game on the two teams in front of them after losing ground twice in a row. As nervous as I may get in the bleachers from time to time, I don't really care about the "how" as long as the results are there.
That said, my knees are still shaking.
Biggest Contribution: Kenji Johjima, +21.3%
Biggest Suckfest: Jose Lopez, -4.9%
Most Important Hit: Johjima homer #1, +14.9%
Most Important Pitch: Piazza homer, -12.2%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +8.6%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +30.0%
It's late, again, and I'm worn out from the game, again, so we're doing a bullet point recap tonight:
- At no point did I feel like Jamie Moyer wasn't in complete control. He made a couple bad pitches, the one to Piazza in particular, but he effectively spotted the ball around the zone and kept from coming unraveled where a younger, less experienced pitcher might've gotten himself in trouble. Although minimal, there's value in knowing that there's no such thing as an unfamiliar situation for Jamie, and that he knows exactly what he's supposed to do with every pitch he throws. On a tangentially related note, while he's arguably the most boring pitcher to watch ever on MLB.tv, Jamie's actually a ton of fun from the seats. I think it gives you a better idea of just how off-balance some of these guys are when they swing at his slop.
- Speaking of unraveling, it seemed like the Mariners just refused to let it happen today despite several opportunities. Say what you will about how "good teams don't lose games like last night's," but bad teams would've buckled tonight, and the M's held steady. From the quick rally to erase an early deficit to the piling on of runs in the middle innings to the Ibanez answer to Johnson's home run to the three huge insurance runs in the ninth to Putz slamming the door as soon as trouble was brewing, the M's consistently did exactly what they needed to do to swing momentum back in their favor. I am absolutely convinced that a lesser team would've lost this game.
- Still going with the theme, I'm guessing that, had Reed not been able to run down Ben Johnson's deep liner in the eighth, the Padres would've rallied to take the lead. Eddie was getting hammered (and not in the way that we generally get "hammered" every time he pitches), and after Cameron went deep it felt like one more big hit was all San Diego needed to get the edge in their favor. At the time, that had to be the most uncomfortable inning I've ever watched in person, although as luck would have it, it was surpassed just minutes later. Eddie has allowed eight home runs on 37 fly balls this year. While a pure statistician would tell you that's just bad luck, I'm taking it as an indication that Eddie's through, because the "11% rule" only applies to Major League-caliber pitchers. I love the attitude Eddie brings to the team, and I'm appreciative of what he's done for us in the past, but his time is up. Go away.
- If you're a heterosexual male between the ages of 13 and dead, Petco Park is a hell of a place to people-watch. I'll just leave it at that.
- During batting practice before the game, Felix was shagging balls in right-center. On one particular long fly, he just about ran into the wall before pulling up short and fielding the ball on a hop. I almost threw up.
- The whole "Khalil Greene is hot" movement among young San Diego co-eds is one of the strangest fads I've ever observed. Maybe a female reader could explain to me how this could possibly be considered the face and body of an attractive man, but me, I'm not seeing it. Perhaps my impeccable frame and striking good looks lead me to set the bar too high for other people, but I don't think there's a guy alive who goes to bed wishing he had Khalil's San Onofre moptop or apparent inability to find anything on the planet even remotely enjoyable.
- Your current 2006 San Diego Padres bullpen: Trevor Hoffman, Scott Cassidy, Alan Embree, Jon Adkins, Scott Linebrink, Brian Sweeney, and Brian Sikorski. Outside of Hoffman, each and every single one of those guys was plucked off the scrap heap. Oh, I should also mention that this group of relievers has the lowest ERA in baseball (3.13) and the #2 K/BB (2.97). Adequate bullpens are really really really really really really really really easy to build, which is the main reason why it so boggles the mind when you see teams spend millions upon millions of dollars on "established" veteran relievers to shore up their bullpens. Lunacy.
- Mike Cameron's ninth inning AB against JJ Putz was the most predictable strikeout of all time.
- It's also worth pointing out that two of the four singles Putz allowed were weakly hit, one of them a grounder with eyes to the left side and the other an opposite-field Texas leaguer that fell just in front of a sprinting Ichiro. That he came back to strike out three consecutive batters to end the game tells me that Putz is anything but "coming back down to Earth." He's still totally awesome.
- On the way to the game today, I mentioned to my friend that it was unusually overcast, humid, and chilly, and that the ball probably wasn't going to carry at all. When we got there we found out that, on top of the other conditions, there was a strong wind blowing in towards right field. After seeing exactly zero players hit the ball out during a few minutes of BP, I declared that it would be a low-scoring, NL-style ballgame won with singles and strategy instead of the longball. Also, I'm stupid.
Overheard at the ballpark:
"Yeah, all right! Let's do the wave! Let's show how little we care about the game by standing up and doing the wave! It's 5-1, we suck! Surely the wave will score us runs!"
I have a new favorite Padres fan.
- Kenji Johjima raised his OPS by 47 points today to .789, the highest it's been since May 3rd. Raul Ibanez, meanwhile, went up 19 points to .892, his highest mark in nearly two months. It's still amazing to me how this lineup is scoring runs despite having its supposed best hitter performing like a replacement-level shortstop.
- A search for "Petagine" turns up zero results.
- After Jamie singled in a run, my friend turned to me and, pantomiming a Moyer pose at first base, flexed and said "look at my guns!" After a brief conversation about his age, we agreed that, if Jamie's arms were guns, they'd be muskets.
That'll be all for now, as I'm eager to get some sleep. Big game tomorrow, as Joel Pineiro looks to carry the M's back to within one game of .500 against some randomly-generated right-hander with a generic name and crappy peripherals. 1:05pm PDT first pitch, and I hope to return from Petco with a happy recap and a healthy tan. With the reeling Diamondbacks up next, taking this series would put us in really good shape, all things considered.