If there exists a collection of Hells, rather than the one-size-fits-all Catholic Hell that to this day remains the only reason why more people don't shoplift or take flash photographs of The Last Supper, this is the kind of game that they'll have looping in perpetuity in level 2 or 3. It wasn't a complete and utter catastrophe, the likes of which would be reserved for souls condemned to level 10 like Pol Pot and JC Chasez, but it was still a major annoyance and an effective reminder of how easy it is to stray from the path to salvation, be that an eternity in Heaven or a win against the Orioles. The true impact of the game isn't so much the unpleasant shock as it is the continued erosion of our spirits, and anyone forced to watch it again and again in a low level of Hell would invariably become a lifeless shell of a man. Much like all of us right now.
(For the curious, I imagine when I finally knock off I'll be seeing an awful lot of Arthur Rhodes in Yankee Stadium.)
Biggest Contribution: Yuniesky Betancourt, +26.1%
Biggest Suckfest: Mark Lowe, -37.4%
Most Important AB: Ichiro homers, +31.0%
Most Important Pitch: Jones doubles, -29.4%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -62.0%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +12.0%
Total Contribution by Opposition: 0.0%
(What is this chart?)
You know what I found out the other day? Bullet point recaps are so much easier to write than the usual continuous variety. So assuming no one objects (and even if you do I don't care), I'm going to go ahead and do it again.
- Jarrod Washburn is a little kid taunting a fenced-in pit bull, a little kid who doesn't realize the gate in the fence is unlocked and opens outward. He continues to tiptoe around the edge of the cliff, and easily could've been knocked around tonight were it not for the heroics of Kevin Millar, who stranded six baserunners and put up a WPA of -31.3%. For a guy who doesn't miss bats, Washburn's command is rather alarmingly not a strength, and his fastball is currently down 1-2mph from where it was a year ago. Just as is the case with Silva, Washburn's in a race against time, and time is pulling ahead. Don't let Safeco fool you; there should be no doubt about who's the team's worst starter. While I'm a fan of Washburn's personality and sense of humor, I think Roger Clemens proves that how likeable you are doesn't mean dick on the field, and on the field is where Washburn runs into trouble. When his deal is finally up, I only hope the front office learns a oh who am I kidding
Trachsel: Hey Adam, what's that you got there?
Loewen: It's a titanium necklace. In team colors!
Trachsel: I've never seen one of those before.
Loewen: I'm pretty excited, I just bought it. They say it gives you more energy.
Trachsel: Oh yeah? How's that work?
Loewen: It something something alignment of ions
Loewen: It's science!
Loewen: People keep telling me they feel more fit when they have their necklaces on. All flexible and shit. And their joints don't hurt.
Trachsel: Wow, that seems like something that's right up my alley. I'd love to be able to feel better and less sore after throw days.
Loewen: Yeah, that's what I'm looking forward to the most.
Trachsel: That's awesome. Where'd you buy it?
Loewen: Oh there's a store downtown. They're only like $20 or $30.
Trachsel: Thanks! I think I'll check that out tomorrow morning.
Trachsel: I can't believe they've had a cure for soreness this whole time without telling anybody!
Loewen: I know! haha
Trachsel: So hey do you know anything more about how it works?
Loewen: The titanium emits an energy, see. And the energy controls the bioelectric current.
Trachsel: The who?
Loewen: The bioelectric current. I'm just reciting this from memory. I guess that makes the muscles do stuff better.
Trachsel: We should talk to coach about these. Seems like everybody should have a titanium necklace, don't you think?
Bannister: OH MY GOD YOU GUYS ARE SO FUCKING STUPID
- Speaking of Adam Loewen, he's from British Columbia, so he had a bunch of friends and family in the stadium to watch him pitch tonight. And based on the sights and sounds of the game they may have been the only ones who showed up. For the first two innings before the wheels came off, they were quite literally the only people outside of the broadcast booth you could hear on FSN. At least, I assume that's who those people were, because who the hell else is cheering for the Orioles in Seattle? We might as well have been watching the game with the Loewen clan in the living room. The only thing missing was a bowl of poutine.
- Trailing 1-0 after two innings, the Orioles had Adam Jones on third base with no one out and Brandon Fahey at the plate. Fahey hit what would've been a line drive single for anyone else in the league, but because Fahey is Fahey, a little doily of a man, Raul Ibanez was playing him at like 200 feet, and made an easy catch in close enough to keep Jones from tagging. I love Brandon Fahey. He's completely worthless, and he can't even pinch-run since varying wind patterns knock him off course with no prior warning, but if he ever got picked by a bird of prey and dropped in my yard, I'd invite him in for Hi-C and a game of checkers.
- Staying in the third inning, the bottom half was all kinds of weird. For one thing, Jose Lopez snapped a streak of 23 plate appearances by swinging at the first pitch of an at bat against Loewen with the bases loaded and nobody out. The pitch was a fastball way in on the hands and Lopez completely missed. I think it's pretty clear that he's still not to be considered a disciplined hitter. Later, the Mariners sustained a rally when Jose Vidro blasted a two-run double over the head of Jones in center field, prompting the scoreboard image above. If this is as hard as Vidro can hit the ball, he picked a good time. And finally, at one point Felix was sharing a laugh with Carlos Silva in the dugout and I could've sworn I saw Felix instantly gain weight like something out of The Green Mile. I can think of better role models.
- Slowly but surely the Orioles clawed their way back into the game. After getting two against Washburn, they manufactured their third run with a pair of infield singles - the first of which should've been an out, as Lopez made a spectacular stop and throw behind second - and then dropped the subtlety and stormed out to a lead in the seventh. Arthur Rhodes put the first three batters in the inning on base, departing with some choice words for home plate umpire Casey Moser, who refused to give him the low-away strike. John McLaren then came out to argue in support of his pitcher and quickly got tossed, but not before he pulled off that back-and-forth head bob thing that you only ever see from old men in baseball pants. I swear to God that move doesn't work anywhere else.
And that's when things got really ugly. In came Mark Lowe, and once again he couldn't locate his pitches. He fell behind Millar 3-1 and gave up a sac fly, then he centered a belt-high fastball to Aubrey Huff that got ripped for a tying single, and then two batters later he walked Ramon Hernandez to load the bases for one Adam Jones, who I hear catches a lot of fly balls.
This was easily the most frustrating at bat of the game. Lowe had Jones beat. He got him to swing through two changeups to get ahead, missed with a fastball, then had AJ way out in front of another two changeups that he barely fouled off. But rather than going back to the well, Lowe piped a fastball over the middle that Jones nearly sent into the bullpen. I know as a pitcher you don't want to fall into a pattern, but through five pitches Jones had shown absolutely zero ability to recognize and punish the changeup. To put a fastball at the belt, in that situation, in a 1-2 count, is inexcusable. Lowe has to be smarter, although when Bedard's activated from the DL I wouldn't be surprised if he were told to go learn his lessons in Tacoma instead of hurting the team in Seattle. The stuff is there, but the rest is not. And until it comes, Lowe won't be productive.
- Again and again and again opposing managers just don't seem to get that Ichiro beats the crap out of left-handed pitching. The weird thing about Ichiro's bomb off Jamie Walker was that it wasn't one of Ichiro's standard line drive home runs. This one flew. I don't know that I've ever seen Ichiro get that much air under a ball and still send it a long way. This was the point at which the game finally got a little exciting.
- The game then ceased to be exciting in the top of the eighth when Brian Roberts led off with a home run off Sean Green. I was going to give the Mariners a break for letting Green face a switch-hitter since Roberts doesn't pack much of a punch, but when Green was left out there to pitch to Markakis later on, that's when I realized that I was paying closer attention to the game than the coaching staff apparently was. Watching Willie Ballgame hack away against Chad Bradford in the bottom half with Greg Norton on the bench only sealed the deal. Non-decisions don't get much more pathetic.
The game ended, we lost, and now we're 11-12 with a 1-6 record against the Baltimore Orioles. If you'd have bet in March that the Mariners would find themselves in their current situation, you'd be up an awful lot of money. And you'd also be dead, having been burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft. But your corpse would probably have a big shit-eating grin.
Oakland tomorrow night, in case you need a little help falling asleep at the end of a long work week.