Mike Mussina has a little league fastball. Mike Mussina has a little league fastball and an assortment of slop that he throws in an effort to screw with the hitters' timing of his little league fastball. Through his first six starts he struck out all of 12 batters in 32.1 innings while putting up a swinging strike rate of six percent. SIX PERCENT. In middle school one of my English teachers taught me her little rule of thumb that you should spell out numbers up to ten and then switch to numeric form for higher ones. If I'm spelling out your swinging strike rate, that's bad. That's almost impossibly bad.
And yet there goes Mussina, whiffing five - all swinging - over six effective innings.
Top 6th: Seattle
|- R. Ibanez struck out swinging|
|- A. Beltre safe at first on third baseman M. Ensberg's throwing error|
|- J. Clement struck out swinging|
|- R. Sexson struck out swinging|
I can't even blame it on the lineup being too right-handed since three of the strikeouts were by lefties. So instead I'll blame it on the lineup being bad. This lineup is bad. And while I expect it to get better as Clement and Balentien get their sea legs (not a pun, shut up) and Johjima regresses towards the mean in a good way, it'll still be bad, and it'll still be a problem that costs us games. Our pitching is good, but it's not spectacular. We need run support, and right now, do you trust these guys to provide it?
There will be streaks. There'll be streaks where we look back on this post and think it's stupid, and there'll be streaks where we look back on this post and think I wasn't being harsh enough. But what matters is the overall picture, and when you can count the number of players you expect to consistently get on base on the severed right hand of Mordecai Brown, you're in trouble. This lineup just doesn't have enough talent to get away with making so many easy outs.
I suppose on a day like today, I shouldn't be picking on the offense, not when Felix was as bad as he's looked in forever. But where Felix has earned the right to have the occasional stinker, this offense hasn't, and the longer it takes to get its shit together, the further we sink. At 13-18, we're tied with the Nationals and behind San Francisco. This is a big hole. This team is in danger of ending its season before it even begins.
The clock is ticking.
Biggest Contribution: Ichiro, +10.0%
Biggest Suckfest: Felix, -26.6%
Most Important AB: Ichiro single, +10.1%
Most Important Pitch: Jeter double, -10.9%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -25.9%
Total Contribution by Hitters: -30.1%
Total Contribution by Opposition: +6.0%
(What is this chart?)