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Breaking up is never easy, but the worst part isn't the breakup itself - it's finding out that the other person has moved on before you, going out, being happy, and sharing love with other people, the same love that used to be yours. Suddenly you become depressed and plagued with self-doubt, wondering aloud if you'll ever date again in between repeatedly hanging up after dialing six digits of your ex's phone number. Your life feels empty, and you know that the only thing capable of filling the void is another relationship, one more fulfilling than the last, one that lets you think about the one before with a smile on your face, knowing that you've found something five times better than what you used to think was perfect.

When people would ask me how I was doing, I'd reminisce about all the good times I had with Shin-soo, my heart would sink, and I'd cry. How could he move on so quickly? Didn't I mean anything? But not anymore. Never again will my friends have to roll their eyes when I mention how Shin-soo used to lip-sync to the song on the radio. "Let Shapiro have that hoebag," I now declare proudly. "Shin-soo? Who cares? Ben's twice the man he'll ever be. Bitch couldn't even cook."

In the grand scheme of things, Broussard's solo shot in the ninth inning today didn't mean much of anything. The Mariners were already winning, the Indians weren't going to touch JJ Putz, and it wasn't even a particularly impressive home run. But the significance goes beyond the "1" it put on the scoreboard - it sent a message to Cleveland that, while they've certainly hit it off with their hot young import, we're pretty happy with our new veteran, too, the only difference being that our relationship might actually last into October. Youthful energy is great and all, but sometimes the most stable, enduring couples are borne of seasoned experience.

The first person to make a gay joke gets banned.

Biggest Contribution: Mark Lowe, +43.7%
Biggest Suckfest: Jose Lopez, -9.2%
Most Important Hit: Ibanez homer, +12.3%
Most Important Pitch: Belliard double, -17.8%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +57.7%
Total Contribution by Position Players: -12.8%

(What is this?)

Since tomorrow's an early game (10:05am PDT), I'm not going to bother writing a lot of text - by the time most people come around in the morning, they won't be thinking about the game that ended a few hours ago, and the post'll be buried under the open thread anyway. So I'll just mention two things:

-I beat this drum just yesterday, but Jose Lopez is hitless since returning to the team and is batting .250/.308/.351 over the past two months. His last extra-base hit came on June 28th. I can't comment on why his performance has taken such a turn for the worse because I don't know, but he has to be moved away from the top of the lineup until his bat comes around because, right now, he's hurting the team. We knew that he'd have his slumps before the year began, and the only way he'll get better is by playing himself out of it, but for the time being he really ought to be swapped with the white-hot Yuniesky Betancourt, who's hit .369 in July. From the sabermetric point of view, it works because Betancourt's a better bet to get on base at the moment. From a traditionalist point of view, Betancourt just "feels" like a good #2 hitter because he puts the ball in play and runs pretty well. I'm not advocating this as a long-term solution, because Lopez is going to be the better hitter, but for at least the next week or three the switch should be made. God knows the lineup struggles enough when Ichiro isn't batting in front of a black hole.

(What this means, of course, is that Lopez is going to sit in favor of Willie Ballgame tomorrow. Which might not be such a bad idea, since Cliff Lee's a lefty.)

-Mark Lowe is one of the best relievers in baseball. Stuff? His heater tops out at 98, he takes off 15 with his changeup, and his slider breaks like a splitter turned 45 degrees. Results? 36 batters faced, 11 strikeouts, two unintentional walks, five hits, four line drives. While he'll eventually have to allow a run (although honestly I don't know how that'll happen), he's absolutely phenomenal, and a completely different pitcher than the one he was a year ago. The 2006 Mark Lowe is a 23 year old who's already earned the trust of Mike Hargrove, the same Mike Hargrove who hasn't been impressed by Adam Jones, Shin-soo Choo, or Chris Snelling. When Rafael Soriano returns, look out - this bullpen will go four-deep with outstanding arms, and may very well turn out to be the component that leads Seattle into the playoffs. By the way, Lowe is ours for six years.

Cliff Lee is opposed by Joel Pineiro tomorrow morning at 10:05am PDT. If you wake up, drowsily turn on the game, and think you're having a nightmare, you are. Just the real-life kind.