This game barely gave me anything to write about, so I'll be quick.
- There were points at which Erik Bedard looked terrific, and there were points at which Erik Bedard looked a little off his game. However, there were never any points at which Erik Bedard looked bad, so all in all, this outing has to be considered a success. Against a completely right-handed lineup, he featured his usual repertoire with pretty good command and standard velocity. The missed bats weren't there - the A's, who lead the league in strikeouts, only whiffed seven times out of 62 swings (would've expected Bedard around 10-12) - but I'm thinking Bedard was pitching to contact for a while there to make sure he got comfortable and lasted at least five innings. The first was particularly efficient, as he needed only seven pitches (all strikes) to set the A's down in order.
This was a big test for Bedard, and while Oakland's lineup is bad, I'd say he passed with flying colors. The hip is still something to watch and be cautious about, but if it was bothering him at all today, it certainly didn't manifest itself in the results. Strong effort, and a huge relief.
- No, I don't know what was wrong with JJ there in the ninth. That was hands-down the worst he's looked in years, as he turned a comfortable gimme into a gut-wrenching slog. The stuff was fine, but his control was something straight out of a Matt Thornton nightmare, and he's lucky that Sweeney checked his swing in the path of the ball. If I had to guess, I'd say it was probably just a bad day. Simple as that. I know it's sexy these days to ascribe any poor pitching performance to a possible injury, but I think that, physically-speaking, JJ's fine, and just trying to get back into a routine after a long layoff. Batters have bad games for no reason all the time. Pitchers do too, and while they tend to face more scrutiny, they're still every bit as entitled to a random stinker. I'll only worry if this kind of thing keeps up.
- Bobby Crosby and Jeremy Reed were roommates at Long Beach State. Crosby was called an MVP candidate a few years back by Peter Gammons, and Reed was considered one of the top three or four prospects in baseball with the White Sox. These days, they both suck. I hope Long Beach State has boarded up that room.
- Yuniesky Betancourt illustrates the difference between a long at bat and a good at bat:
- At the plate, Adrian Beltre is batting .292/.376/.517. In the field, he leads all of baseball in plays made out of zone, with 20. Greatest free agent find in team history?
- Greg Norton had a huge night at the perfect time for Greg Norton. With Vidro on the bench as part of an old school message-sending maneuver by McLaren, Norton stepped in to deliver three hits and drive in three runs, the final two of which providing insurance that stood up as the difference in the game. Considering how little playing time Mariner bench bats tend to get, Norton has to be thrilled that he all but locked up another start tomorrow
Is Greg Norton an awesome DH? Of course not. In an ideal world that job goes to Clement or Ibanez and the team is better off because of it. However, if we assume that neither of these moves is imminent, is Greg Norton an improvement at DH? Depending on your opinion of how done Jose Vidro is (my opinion: really really done), then this question becomes much more relevant. You don't have to limit yourself to getting better in, say, 20-run increments. If giving Norton more playing time makes the Mariners better by five runs or so, then that's a decision worth making. Every little bit counts.
- In the top of the fourth inning, home plate umpire Lance Barksdale called timeout due to the sounds of exploding fireworks at neighboring Qwest Field. This at least partially explains why baseball never took off in Yugoslavia.