- Something was wrong with Matt Garza from the start of the game. After nearly every pitch, he'd shake his right arm a few times as if he was trying to get it loose. He's kind of a fidgety guy, but this is an unusual thing to do, and unless his undershirt was constantly giving him trouble I'm inclined to believe that he was feeling discomfort from the beginning, and that in the third he finally realized that he couldn't pitch through it anymore. This one could take a long time to heal.
- I won't comment on the strike zone since I wasn't paying much attention to the umpires, but I will say that Erik Bedard's fastball command was pretty bad. Here's the breakdown:
Strike: 23 (37%) (excluding in play)
In Play: 9 (15%)
Ball: 30 (48%)
Strike: 25 (58%)
In Play: 8 (19%)
Ball: 10 (23%)
His curve was terrific and he was really spotting it well, but without a consistent fastball he struggled to get ahead in the count as often as he would've liked. I was also a little concerned when I saw the FSN gun reading 86-89mph on his heater until I went into the PITCHf/x data and pulled out an average velocity of 91.2. So he's not hurt. He just had trouble locating his fastball. This will get better.
- As for the home runs (I love the goal horn) - Riggans' barely cleared the fence, and Carlos Pena is one of the best hitters in baseball. Still not concerned.
- Early indications are that you can count Roy Corcoran as another useful reliever the Mariners pulled off the scrap heap. He doesn't have pinpoint control, but he throws a sinking fastball with good velocity and sharp late break, along with some offspeed stuff to keep people honest. With a decent ability to miss bats and a projected groundball rate around 55-60%, he's like the Sean Green you can use when the original Sean Green is having one of his spells. Man, the M's are so good at this.
- Anyone who watched the game yesterday knows exactly why I was such a big fan of the Jason Bartlett addition. That guy might have literally twice as much range as the clowns they fielded at short in 2007.
- Loafie got a lot of shit down the stretch last year for gaffes where it looked like his head wasn't in the game. Well, yesterday he made a pinpoint relay throw to get BJ Upton at third base (although I think Upton was safe), and he took second on an Adrian Beltre foul out behind the plate when he realized that Shawn Riggans wasn't paying attention. Everybody who blasted him for allegedly spacing out ought to be singing his praises right now.
- How you know you set the bar pretty low last season:
One of the things they're touting in Tampa Bay this year - we can catch the ball. (Dave Sims)
- Not only was this the first time (I think) a Rays game was sold out before the day of, but the large crowd in attendance also set a record for the longest sustained booing in the history of the world. And on a related note, I have to think there's no more uncomfortable situation than being the third base coach when the manager comes out to argue with the ump.
- A real left fielder catches Willy Aybar's RBI single in the third.
- Brad Wilkerson currently has the highest walk rate on the team. I know he's struggling to hit the ball, but he's not nearly as bad as too many people are making him out to be. Repeat after me: Mike Morse sucks. Mike Morse sucks. Wilkerson might collapse, but you have to at least give him a chance before calling him pathetic.