I'll just post a few quick thoughts from this afternoon's game before spending the better part of the night trying to forget about it.
- We traded Asdrubal Cabrera for the opportunity to hate Mike Hargrove even more than we did a week ago.
- The popular theory that "managers have little effect on a team's performance" should be changed to "managers have little effect on a really good or really bad team's performance." For teams like Seattle that are right in the middle, critical games are won and lost by managerial decisions, and this can make all the difference between playing baseball in October and hearing Tim McCarver tell you about it. A very convincing argument could be made that Mike Hargrove cost us this game by refusing to use his newest weapon when the situation very obviously called for it. Even if you allow for the fact that it'd take some serious stones to lift Raul Ibanez in the ninth against Fuentes (however, it would've been the right move), Willie Ballgame and Carl Everett still got to flail away while Eduardo Perez penned his Christmas wish-list. Then going to Eddie instead of Sherrill later on...if the Mariners had won, it would've been in spite of Hargrove's decision-making, not because of it. I hate blaming the manager for outcomes, but I can't help it here. Mike Hargrove sucks.
- Things Dave Henderson said about the NL today: "They stink." "We're better." "They're the inferior league." One wonders how far he would've gone had Rick Rizzs not quickly cut him off. "Guys in the National League are a bunch of spineless pussies" probably wasn't out of the question.
- Jason Jennings, whose "Lowe-like sinker" was a frequent topic of discussion during today's broadcast, has a groundball rate of 43.8% this season, exactly league average. Of the 15 outs Mariner hitters put in play today, 11 of them wre in the air.
- Rene Rivera in the two games I've seen him in person: .375/.375/.875. Rene Rivera all the other times: .267/.293/.360.
- Yuniesky Betancourt is 8 for his last 42 with one extra-base hit, as his OPS creeps back towards .700.
- Do you think this loss would've been easier or harder to stomach if we were all Red Sox fans, and our team was fresh off a 12-game winning streak with a reasonably comfortable division lead? I'm inclined to say that, because we're still fighting for a playoff spot while they're practically a shoe-in, we're taking it five times worse than they would've. I suppose the upside is that we also get to enjoy games like yesterday's more than them, too, but man, it sucks right now.
- Mike Hargrove's shining moment today was calling on JJ Putz to get out of a bases loaded/no-out jam in the top of the eighth with a 2-1 lead. That was absolutely the right move, and although Colorado was able to tie it up, Putz was fantastic. What wasn't so fantastic was that he was removed after throwing 16 pitches, 14 of them for strikes. After the eighth, this one was all downhill for Grover.
- Ichiro is now 27 for 29 on stolen base attempts, a success rate of 93.1%. However, this does not justify calling for him to steal every single time he reaches first base. He only has a 93.1% success rate when he thinks stealing is appropriate. When he doesn't make an attempt, I'd say he probably has a pretty good reason for not trying.
- The Rangers are down 9-5 in the fourth right now, meaning that at least we shouldn't lose any ground in the division today. Except to the Angels, I guess, but nobody cares. Small consolation is still consolation.
Again, Felix and Jered Weaver tomorrow at 7:05pm PDT. Nothing like a series against Anaheim to make the bad feelings go away. And Oakland's facing the combined 9.99 ERA of Robertson/Verlander/Rogers for the Tigers, so hey, awesome.