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By the time the game got out of hand, I found myself trying to think up a list of things more embarrassing than being a Mariners fan today to use as the intro to this post. I couldn't come up with anything, so I thought I'd clear my mind by going for a swim and give it another go afterwards. All that came to mind was "being a Mariners player." So this is the intro instead.

Biggest Contribution: Adrian Beltre, +15.8%
Biggest Suckfest: Jarrod Washburn, -41.1%
Most Important Hit: Beltre homer, +15.5%
Most Important Pitch: Buck homer, -15.9%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -47.7%
Total Contribution by Hitters: -3.3%

(What is this?)

This one started off rather comfortably, with the Mariners establishing a 2-0 lead two batters into the bottom of the first, but the Royals came storming back quicker than you can ask "can pitchers be placed on the bereavement list after allowing a home run to Adrian Beltre?", scoring in five consecutive innings to bury the M's. It was a perfect storm of dominance, with all the necessary elements coming together to allow Kansas City an easy victory - a lousy Jarrod Washburn whose go-to pitch all day was the centered belly-high fastball, an awful defense that didn't give him any help, a vaguely interested John Buck, and a Mariner lineup that can't hit lefties, anywhere, ever, no matter what. It's getting to the point where opposing managers might start claiming that they're using a lefty even if they're not, just to see if they can go nine innings without the Mariners ever catching on. Given that the Royals lifted southpaw Jeremy Affeldt from the rotation before his scheduled start in this series, you have to wonder which team here actually pities the other one more.

Anyway, another Lightning Round:

  • Contract In Review: through 12 starts, Jarrod Washburn has a 4.50 ERA, a 4.87 FIP, and the lowest strikeout rate of his career (12.0%, or 4.5 K/9). His percentage of runners stranded on base is way down from last year's fluky total, and his HR/flyball percentage has regressed from 8.3% to a much more normal 10.5%. He's been able to survive by cutting his walks and getting a ton of help from the guys behind him (.259 BABIP), but still, this isn't the kind of early season performance you want from a guy who's under contract through 2009. I suppose the good news is that he's getting deep into games on a fairly regular basis, and that his recent dead arm might serve to explain at least a portion of his struggles, but where I had little confidence that Washburn was a good investment two months ago, now I have even less. Fortunately for Jarrod, he's third or fourth on the chopping block in this rotation.

  • One of the things about Adrian Beltre that both tantalizes and irritates me to no end is how he's so incredibly strong. Yesterday he practically sent a ball over the center field fence with one hand, and today he pulled a soaring fly ball into the left field seats despite being well out on his front foot when he swung. This is the kind of stuff that makes me scoff at all the steroid speculation, because the problem with Adrian Beltre very clearly isn't his strength. The ball still leaves his bat as quickly now as it did two years ago, it's just that he puts the good part of the bat on the ball much less often.

  • Also, no, Adrian Beltre isn't "back" - it's only two games. He's hitting .321 over the last two weeks, but only five of his 18 hits during that streak have gone for extra bases, with three of them (including both homers) coming against some of the worst pitchers in baseball. Trust me, if Beltre ever finds his way back to being what he was when we signed him, you'll know.

  • Because Mark Redman throws with his left hand, Willie Ballgame started in center field over Jeremy Reed today. Some of his highlights - taking an unspeakably awful route after a Mark Teahen fly ball that dropped for a double in the second, badly misjudging another Teahen fly ball in the seventh that required a full-extension diving catch, and then taking another unspeakably bad route on a David DeJesus pop up in the eighth that fell in for a single. He also chased Emil Brown's second-inning homer all the way to the wall, leaping about 20 feet to the left of the ball's flight path about three seconds after it came down. I don't really want to rip into the guy after he tripled and walked, but just because he has the right glove and a bit of experience doesn't make him anything more than a bad defensive center fielder. Playing him next to Morse with a flyball pitcher on the hill is just begging for disaster.

  • Carl Everett: .251/.332/.395. As a DH.

  • When Willie Ballgame was picked off of first base in the fourth, I don't know if the fans were saying "Boo" or "Boo-quist." Either one would be amusing, albeit for completely different reasons.

  • In case you don't feel sufficiently embarrassed, the Mariners were beaten by a team that had its DH batting ninth.

  • Who's been the most consistent starting pitcher in the Mariner rotation so far this year? The following is a list of average RA values (runs allowed per 9 IP) based on individual starts, along with their standard deviations:
    Meche: 5.51, +/- 3.10
    Moyer: 4.63, +/- 3.50
    Washburn: 5.15, +/- 3.95
    Pineiro: 6.06, +/- 5.07
    Felix: 7.49, +/- 5.81
    Put another way, Gil Meche has been consistently mediocre, while Felix has been inconsistently terrible. It'd be interesting to have some league-average value for the standard deviation for the sake of being able to compare numbers, but I'm not going to do all that legwork, so there you go.
Mike Wood and Gil Meche tomorrow at 7:05pm PDT. Two years ago, Wood was a moderately intriguing prospect included to sweeten the package in a trade for a superstar before the league was able to figure out how bad he is. Gil Meche was never included in such a deal, and the Mariners have had to live with that decision (or lack thereof) ever since. Sliding Doors, indeed.