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The Weekend That Wasn't

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Friday: 9-3 Indians. Not Ho Ramirez's best day. Or maybe it actually was, and Ho Ramirez's best day just sucks. Struggling to throw consistent strikes in chilly conditions, Ho flirted with too many dangerous situations, and finally in the fourth inning Casey Blake made him pay with a bases-clearing double. From that point everything came unglued, and before long Cleveland had put up an eight-run inning to take an 8-1 lead. Paul Byrd tried to let the Mariners back into the game as best he could, but bases loaded 2-0 popouts by both Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez spoiled the opportunity. Byrd needed just 87 pitches to get through his seven innings before getting yanked because the game was out of hand.

Saturday: 7-6 Mariners. Jeff Weaver lasted just 2.2 in his Seattle debut, allowing home runs to Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, and David Dellucci, but the bullpen managed to hold the fort while the Mariner lineup clawed its way back into the contest. Sean White was the big winner, tossing 3.1 shutout innings, while Ichiro sparked the rally with a triple to lead off the sixth. Still trailing 6-5 going into the ninth, the M's faced long odds, but Fausto Carmona somehow managed to blow a save in a game he started when Kenji Johjima took him deep for a two-run homer. JJ Putz handled the bottom half, threw zero splitters, and closed out the victory.

Sunday: 2-1 Indians. Ichiro's first-pitch longball was a pleasant start, but that was all the Mariners would manage against Sabathia in one of those starts that seems way more dominant in the post-game box score than when you're watching on TV. The Mariners cut at first-pitches and bad balls time after time, and even failed when they tried to be patient, as Richie Sexson struck out twice after getting ahead 3-0 both times. As for Felix, he was terrific, but in the blink of an eye a Lopez error and a Hafner bomb put the wrong team on top, and the Mariners never threatened again. The home run was Felix's only fly ball of the game, bringing his HR/FB% up to 100%. Statisticians declare that this will regress to the mean over time.

Monday: Snowed out. My imagination is ironic.

...so we're off to Boston, who's due to get some crappy weather of its own come Thursday (Wednesday doubleheader?). I'd be lying if I said I'm optimistic about Jeff Weaver's chances tomorrow, but then I'd be lying if I said I'm optimistic about Jeff Weaver's chances anywhere, so that doesn't really mean anything by itself. Ortiz is going to take him deep at least once, so the key'll be keeping people off base in front of him and taking liberal advantage of Josh Beckett's own longball tendencies. Of course, no one really cares about tomorrow, not with Felix/Matsuzaka on the schedule for Wednesday night. In that environment, with those pitchers, with that kind of national coverage, we've got an early favorite for Pitching Matchup Of The Year. Miss that game and I don't think we're allowed you call you a Mariner fan anymore.