Don't forget to sign up for the LL/USSM events in Tacoma/Everett in early August. You'll really want to be there.
Lately it's come to my attention that staying up really late to write recaps and then waking up at eight in the morning to go to work is bad for my health. With that in mind, I might have to schedule breaks for myself every once in a while when the Mariners play on the West Coast during the week. And tonight's going to be one of them, since I can already feel a cold coming on. Since the game was an unmitigated disaster, though, I'd say it's probably fine to just skip over and totally forget about.
Here's what I will say - this game just felt like being stabbed in the heart. For the first several innings it looked like we'd end up tied for the Wild Card, but then Bobby Jenks fell apart, Felix hung a slider, and Eric O'Flaherty Eric O'Sucked a lot, turning what should've been a tie in the standings into a two-game deficit. This wasn't a game we should've lost, and now the pressure's on Washburn and the lineup to beat Erik Bedard tomorrow in a situation that I really wanted to avoid. Although if nothing else, a win over Bedard would go a long way towards cleansing the memory of tonight altogether. The guy is a beast.
Felix was bad today, but he wasn't bad for pitch selection reasons. No, this time it was just lousy command. You could tell early on that, while he had his usual assortment of pitches, he didn't have his location down, and it never showed up. The entire effort was a chore, and he was pretty lucky to come as close to six shutout innings as he did. In the end, it was a horrible 2-0 slider to Jay Gibbons that killed him, but this wasn't a winning start, and the homer only served to drive that point home. Aces can't throw 57 strikes on 99 pitches against a bad lineup and expect to come out all rosy. That said, I'll only be concerned if it happens again in his next go-round. Sometimes good pitchers simply don't have a good feel on a particular night. Hopefully this was just one of those games.
Eric O'Flaherty's control was worse (11 strikes, 26 pitches), but unlike Felix, he didn't have the stuff to survive. Everyone has to regress a little to the mean at some point, so with any luck O'Flaherty got it all out of the way today and can resume being good again tomorrow or Thursday. If he's got a few kinks he has to work out, though, I'm admittedly more than a little intrigued by Ryan Rowland-Smith's ten strikeouts in 7.1 innings. This system spits out passable relievers like Mama Molina spits out overweight babies.
I'm going to go sleep off this sickness. Win tomorrow. I promise I'll be suitably impressed.
Biggest Contribution: Jose Vidro, +11.3%
Biggest Suckfest: Eric O'Flaherty, -23.5%
Most Important At Bat: Johjima funk blast, +10.8%
Most Important Pitch: Gibbons homer, -41.6%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -45.1%
Total Contribution by Position Players: -11.5%
Total Contribution by Opposition: +6.6%