Eight in a row this team has taken down here. Walking around downtown with some of the LL faithful after the game, all I wanted to do was stand on a bench and shout "WE OWN THESE STREETS" at the top of my lungs. There aren't too many cities out there in which a group of Mariner fans can walk around with a swagger in their step, but God bless you, San Diego. Thanks for being such a gracious host.
Biggest Contribution: Erik Bedard, +18.9%
Biggest Suckfest: Jose Lopez, -8.8%
Most Important AB: Beltre homer, +16.6%
Most Important Pitch: Giles walk, -8.2%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +26.0%
Total Contribution by Lineup: +24.0%
Total Contribution by Opposition: 0.0%
(What is this chart?)
(Here's yesterday's chart. Adrian Beltre was the biggest contributor, Jeff Clement was not, and the Brian Giles eighth inning DP was the most important play of the game.)
- Strasburg or no Strasburg, it's just an incredible feeling to walk out of Petco after watching a sweep. The Mariner fans I've met in San Diego are among the happiest Mariner fans I've ever seen, and that's probably not a coincidence, because the team has played so well down here that it's virtually impossible to be depressed and morose. Make no mistake, this series domination wasn't any great achievement - the Padres probably dropped another game in the standings while I was writing this sentence. But a sweep is a sweep, and today's sendoff win was rather convincing. In a season like this, I can't tell you how good it feels to know that Mariner baseball can still lift my spirits. For a little while there, I was getting concerned.
- I think I've mentioned it before, but for that one Sunday afternoon every summer that the M's are in town, Petco is crawling with Mariner apparel. Not even just the standard Ichiro and Griffey stuff, either; I saw a bunch of Felix, too, which warms my heart. However, the day's best belonged to a man seated just a couple steps away:
You see a man sporting the trident and instantly you've got a pretty good idea that he's been through more than you could ever imagine.
- The Mariners faced Jake Peavy today. Jake Peavy. Arguably the worst offense in baseball went up against arguably the best pitcher in baseball, and the offense blew the pitcher away. 16 of the Mariners' 18 hits were singles, but while that certainly speaks to a weakness, the fact of the matter is that, this afternoon, they were teeing off. Absolutely teeing off. Of the 32 balls they put in play, 15 were line drives, and two more wound up in the seats. Even Bedard got in on the act. The hitters were taking good swing after good swing and actually turned the tables of helplessness for a change, leaving the impression that Peavy couldn't get away with making even the slightest mistake. A man could get used to this. Nary a ball was sent to the outfield that didn't make the people around me sigh in despair.
- Raul Ibanez was only the second-worst outfielder to see time in left today. Paul McAnulty is a fat clown.
- I don't think I appreciated this enough at the time because I was too busy clapping and texting Red, but in the top of the sixth inning, Adrian Beltre hit a first-pitch hanging slider into the Western Metal second deck. From his knee. His lower body was way ahead of the pitch, but his arms stayed back, and he was able to knock that thing out with pure muscle. There are a lot of hitters in the league who can hit home runs, and there are a lot of hitters in the league who can get totally wizzle-wozzled by a breaking ball, but as far as I'm concerned, there's only one who can combine them and turn a self-made bad situation into the best possible outcome. That homer was everything we love about Beltre, from the talent that makes him good to the humanizing flaw that makes him endearing. I'm so glad he's not perfect.
- From where I was sitting, Clement's homer was gone right off the bat. That ball was destroyed, and he hit it to the toughest part of the park. It's great to see him getting better results, because now, when I look at the lineup we've thrown out there these last two days...Vidro at cleanup is nothing short of embarrassing, but everywhere else it looks all right. It's funny how different the batting order appears when Reed and Clement are getting regular playing time. It almost seems like it may not be the worst offense in the Majors after all. But oh my god does Vidro ever know how to ruin a vibe. His name alone is enough to keep me from getting too far ahead of myself. It's the end of June and he doesn't have a .600 OPS. And he's playing.
- Once a game the Padres send the Pad Squad out onto the field with souvenirs and slingshots to deliver a handful of little goodies to fans who're either really tall or really scrappy. That I'm fine with - I think it's a little kitschy, but whatever, the kids seem to love it. My problem is with the Swinging Friar mascot that accompanies the Pad Squad onto the field, because the Swinging Friar mascot is armed with a giant bat bazooka that launches balled-up t-shirts into the stands with sufficient velocity to introduce one unlucky person's right ear to his right shoulder. I'm pretty sure the bat bazooka is made by the same company that outfits the anti-tank munitions on the A-10 Warthog. I've seen that thing get t-shirts deep into the upper deck before and I've heard them whizzing by when I'm sitting several sections away from the target, so in all likelihood we're dealing with initial velocities somewhere on the order of 80-90 miles per hour. How can the Padres expect their fans to be able to react to that in time when their own hitters saw Jarrod Washburn and wet themselves? One of these days someone's going home with a skull fracture, a lawsuit, and a story to tell.
- Red Ruff came to interact with every section in left field but mine.
- Something I learned today - no matter how much I mercilessly rip on these players when I'm talking with friends or writing on the website, I can get awfully defensive when I hear them getting heckled at a game. By a fan of the other team, I mean. If there's a Mariners fan around me and he's yelling at Raul Ibanez to wake up and maybe grow legs, that's fine, but evidently it gets under my skin if someone else tries to do the same thing. I guess it's the same as it is with kids. I'm sure mine are going to act like complete retards between the ages of 3 and 26 but damned if I'm not the only one who gets to tell those stories. That's a right you only earn through tortured love and daily sacrifice. People are always going to heckle, and I'll deal with it, but I'm not going to like it when I hear it in person, and besides, it's not like Padres fans don't have more than enough of their own players who could use a little psychological abuse. They did just get swept by the Mariners.
- Sean Green has appeared in 40 games so far this year. I think he's probably warmed up in all the other ones.