I've spent a lot of time, both here and in real life, discussing with people whether or not this is really the worst team in baseball. I mean, yeah, the standings say it is, but in terms of raw talent, are we actually worse off than, say, the Nationals or the Royals? This has been a point of contention, because for as bad as the Mariners have looked, a lot of people have trouble wrapping their heads around the possibility that an alleged pre-season contender could turn into such a foul mess seemingly overnight. There's no way, right? There's just no way.
Well, regardless of what you think of the Mariners at full strength, this weekend we all caught a glimpse of what the worst team in baseball could look like. Even if you're one of those people who refuses to believe that we truly are as bad as our performance (and I'm still not sure where I stand), the fact of the matter is that, when you take an awful team and subtract Adrian Beltre, JJ Putz and Brandon Morrow, you're left with something outrageously suck. For the duration of the weekend, we were the worst team in baseball, and I'm not sure it was even all that close. Did you like it? Did you like what you saw? Jose Vidro batted cleanup again today. Miguel Cairo came to the plate ten times in three games. Miguel Batista tried to close. That's not just the worst team in baseball - that's one of the worst teams the league has ever seen. Thankfully we had injury excuses for some of the most egregious decisions, but after seeing the team Jim Riggleman threw out there this morning, I find it a lot easier to understand why we are where we are. We're terrible.
As of this writing, the Mariners lead the Strasburg Sweepstakes by three games over Washington, five games over San Diego, five and a half games over Colorado and San Francisco, and six and a half games over Kansas City. That's not a bad place to be as we approach the halfway point of the season. Granted, moves like dumping Richie and Vidro will unfortunately make us better, but you have to figure that the rest of the teams on that list will make similar moves as well, which should help preclude us from falling off the pace. The eventual returns of Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, and Austin Kearns will give us a boost, although those are still a ways away. We just have to do what we can to keep from getting hot. God bless you Carlos Silva.
Were the Mariners to schedule another press conference, I think the only thing they could do that I would meet with enthusiasm and trust is to announce that they've made it an organizational goal to gun for Stephen Strasburg. I didn't think I'd ever get to the point at which I wanted one of my favorite teams to make it a priority to lose, but here I am.
Biggest Contribution: Raul Ibanez, +8.0%
Biggest Suckfest: Carlos Silva, -20.4%
Most Important AB: Vidro strikeout, -7.7%
Most Important Pitch: Teixeira homer #1, -10.6%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -22.4%
Total Contribution by Position Players: -27.6%
Total Contribution by Opposition: 0.0%
(What is this chart?)
(Sorry about last night, by the way - here's the chart. Washburn made the biggest contribution, Batista was the biggest suckfest, the Braves gave us 18.1% WPA with errors, and our chances were dashed by Greg Norton.)
The Atlanta broadcasters were going on and on about "Suzuki" and his Japanese baseball bats all day long, but while I'm not going to throw the r-word around all willy-nilly, I wonder if they realize that white people are the weirdest and most dangerous people on the planet. Seriously, we think it's awesome to light stuff on fire and kick it at things. What's that all about? I'm terrified of us.