Generally speaking, I'm not a man who takes a lot of naps, but the ones I get tend to be well-deserved and refreshing. Although rare, they're events that I look forward to, and sometimes they turn out to be critical components of a busy workweek.
A few months ago, I came back from an early class and crashed on my bed, anticipating that an hour or so of mid-afternoon sleep would give me enough energy to work through a late night. I was all settled in and out cold for about seven minutes before I woke up to a phone call. I groaned, reached over for my cell phone, and saw "1-800-377-7789" on the caller ID. Not even a friend or family. Ignoring the call, I tried to go back to sleep, but all I could do was toss and turn and stare at the ceiling. Finally, after about half an hour, I gave up, rolled out of bed, and checked the voicemail message that the 800 number had apparently left me. It was a reminder to call a "Dr. Phelps' office." Dr. Phelps, as it turns out, works at a telemarketing collection agency, or something along those lines. My nap was interrupted by a spammer. Thanks to Dr. Phelps, I spent the rest of the day in a foul and highly unproductive mood.
It wasn't an isolated incident, either. Almost without fail, calls from Dr. Phelps' office would either get me up way too early in the morning or cut my attempted naps in half. This assault on my sanity continued for about three or four weeks before I finally found a way to make them leave me the fuck alone (basically, calling them back and telling them to leave me the fuck alone). For as long as this went on, though, the calls consistently interrupted what little peace and quiet I could have, and left me angry and frustrated and in no mood to get anything done. It was a serious problem, the sort that could drive a lesser man to all kinds of evil.
You can probably see where I'm going with this. The Mariners' current five-game losing streak has been like a series of senselessly interrupted afternoon naps. If you're going to fall behind by an assload in the early innings, at least have the common courtesy to let your fans doze off without making annoying loud noises to wake them back up. A person who's sleeping is a person free of worry or angst. A person who's woken up prematurely is a person full of distemper. If you wake someone up with the hope of a comeback and then don't follow through, you would've been better off leaving him alone. I can't think of a more irritating way to make a habit of losing baseball games. Seriously, Mariners - either do something before the seventh or just lay down your weapons and surrender. This non-committal bullshit isn't doing anyone any favors.
Biggest Contribution: Ben Broussard, +14.3%
Biggest Suckfest: Ho Ramirez, -15.0%
Most Important At Bat: Broussard grand slam, +14.3%
Most Important Pitch: Guerrero homer, -13.1%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -13.5%
Total Contribution by Position Players: -40.3%
Jeff Weaver, Miguel Batista, and Ho Ramirez over seven combined starts:
I'm just putting that out there.
With Bartolo Colon making his first appearance since last July and the Angels rolling out a pretty feeble lineup, this looked like a game with a little hope, and it got off to a fast start when Ichiro drilled a leadoff double into center. Little did we know at the time that the double would represent the high mark of our Win Expectancy. The rest of the inning was a disaster, the only redeeming moment being the classic Colon-Vidro encounter with Ichiro on third, pictured below:
In an at bat extended by both a series of pitches and the short breathers Colon had to take every time he climbed back onto the mound, Vidro came out on the losing end, going down on strikes and returning his professional-hitting ass to the dugout bench to think about what he did over cheesecake and Fritos. The camera briefly shifted to Colon, causing an immediate 3000% spike in anorexia among the young female viewership, before it went back to the standard center field angle in time to show Raul Ibanez flying out to end the inning. Another runner in scoring position stranded by the middle of the lineup. We've seen this movie before. All that was left was...was...
...oh yeah, the horrible early pitching. After Ho's performance today, the Mariners have now allowed twelve runs in their last six first innings. It could've been way way worse, too; there were two on and only one out when Mike Napoli hit a scorching comebacker to Ramirez, who wheeled around and threw to second to complete the double play. I mentioned this in the game thread, but a pitcher who turns that kind of double play must feel like a hockey goalie who hears a shot ring off the goalpost behind him. On the one hand, you didn't get burned, but on the other, you should've. Understandably, I'm sure Ho Ramirez is happy to get whatever outs he can by whichever means possible, but I can't really think of a less-inspiring way to leave the field after recording the third out.
Fortunately for the Angels, they were playing the Mariners, so they could afford to miss out on a few terrific run-scoring opportunities. Such as, say, Garret Anderson's at bat with the bases loaded in the next inning. You can't convert every RISP situation, but if you have to fail, I can't think of a better team to fail against. It's not like the M's were doing anything in their half-innings, anyway, so any additional runs would've just been piling on. I think Bartolo Colon got through a few of those innings on two pitches. This lineup hacks more than Jose Vidro after he accidentally swallows the lettuce on a cheeseburger.
Of course, just because piling on against the Mariners is unnecessary doesn't mean it isn't fun, so imagine Anaheim's delight when they got Ho on the ropes in the fifth and Hargrove called for Julio Mateo to stop the rally. If Mateo were a fireman, and he was called to the scene of a small grease fire in the kitchen of a one-bedroom apartment, he'd torch everything on the block including the apartment itself and tell the owner "now your fire can't do any damage." Mateo's inherited five runners so far this year and they've all come around to score, but while that seems bad enough by itself, he's also allowed five runs of his own, making him pretty much the worst reliever in baseball. By the time he was finished, the Mariners trailed by a touchdown, and it looked like everyone on the field had just given up. A minor one-run rally in the seventh wasn't particularly encouraging; it broke the shutout, but holy crap, that should've been done hours earlier.
Once again, the Mariners waited until we were comfortably asleep before they started showing signs of life. Nobody thought much of Jose Guillen's RBI single, but when Scot Shields walked Jamie Burke to load the bases for Ben Broussard, we perked up a little and watched through half-shut eyelids. We were ready to try and go right back to sleep after Shields twice struck out Broussard looking on inside fastballs, but somehow Derryl Cousins neglected to call the pitches what they were and in so doing gave Broussard a third opportunity, of which he took considerable advantage. One swing of the bat later, we were looking at a one-run ballgame (first pinch-hit GS in franchise history), and the dugout came alive.
Then Anaheim brought in one of the best relievers in the world and gave us all the finger. That's what we get for hoping. Rudely awoken from a pleasant slumber, we now get to go into tomorrow's 12:35pm PDT Weaver/Santana start all irritable and cranky. That usually doesn't happen until after Weaver pitches. Based on recent trends, I wouldn't bother tuning in until at least 2:15 or 2:30.