Same old story - too busy to write about a game I couldn't watch anyway. Baseball fans on the East Coast may be dealing with some absolutely unbearable heat and humidity, but at least they're generally home in time to catch most of the day's ballgame. Me, I'm left having to sneak occasional peeks at a Yahoo! box score. Most people would say that living in San Diego is worth the tradeoff, but then most people aren't as weird about the Mariners as I am.
Anyway, the M's have won four consecutive series, and eight of their last eleven. Since the beginning of the streak, they've gained one game on Anaheim, two games on Oakland, and four games on Texas. It may feel like they're not catching up, but they are. Winning cures a lot of ills.
To the chart:
Biggest Contribution: Mark Lowe, +27.5%
Biggest Suckfest: Sexson/Betancourt/Rivera, -8.6%
Most Important Hit: Beltre homer, +15.9%
Most Important Pitch: Patterson DP, +15.0%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +73.6%
Total Contribution by Position Players: -25.5%
My brain is crashing. This is so another volume of You Write The Recap! it's not even funny. There's just one thing I want to mention - I was only able to watch one half-inning of this game (God bless you, lunch break), but it was a good one to see, as the bottom of the sixth was the most important inning of the afternoon. I have to give credit to Mike Hargrove for handling things the way he did; Felix was very clearly gassed when he walked Miguel Tejada, and although he only had 88 pitches at the time, he had to get yanked. The fatigue was making him drop his elbow, and letting a guy pitch tired through altered mechanics is a great way to break him. Hargrove took him out and, even though it was the sixth inning, recognized the importance of the situation and summoned the best non-closer on the pitching staff. Despite the fact that he allowed one of his inherited runners to score, Mark Lowe was definitely the right call there, and I applaud Hargrove's decision.
The moment that made me glad I tuned in came with Jeff Conine at the plate, none out and the tying run in scoring position. Lowe fell behind Conine but caught him off guard with a 2-1 slider to even the count. He then missed again, and with the count running full everyone in the ballpark expected Lowe to come over the plate with one of his 98mph fastballs.
So he threw a slider.
At Conine's feet.
For strike three.
I'm dead serious when I say it was one of the best sliders I've ever seen. Conine was sitting on a low fastball, so Lowe threw him something that looked like a low fastball until it broke ten inches to the top of his cleats. Conine got way out in front and practically spun himself around in swinging a good foot above the ball. One batter later, a double play quelled the threat and the Mariners were well on their way to another win. Mark Lowe is just so indescribably awesome. Once Raffy Soriano comes back this weekend, Seattle will have the best bullpen in baseball, and by a considerable margin.
I'm about to fall asleep, so the rest of the wrap-up's in your hands. As for the team, they've got a travel day tomorrow before hosting the A's in a crazyimportant weekend series. The M's have lost nine in a row to Oakland since beating them in the fourth game of the season, but now that the clinically dead Carl Everett's been replaced by a pair of hitters who don't make people want to kill themselves, who knows, maybe our fortunes will change. And they'd better, because getting swept pretty much guarantees that we spend the final two months toiling in the realm of irrelevance.