There you go. There's your comfortable win. It seems like every time the Mariners get out to a half-decent lead and then give up a few runs, somebody has to come by and ask "geez when's the last time this team made it easy?" so with tonight's effort - a game in which the Mariners stormed out early and never looked back - the ticker's been set back to zero. Tonight is the last time this team made it easy. We may end up pointing back to this for a good while yet, since the team doesn't score and teams that don't score seldom make it easy, but hey, at least it happened. Take that, win against the White Sox in the last week of April! We won't be needing you anymore.
- I haven't the foggiest idea what Bedard was thinking prior to taking on his former team for the first time after being traded, since it'd be enough of a chore for a reporter to so much as get Erik to confirm that he played for the Orioles, but if anything was weighing on his mind, it didn't show itself early on. It wasn't until the middle innings that he started to scuffle, and even there he was somehow able to escape a sequence of line drive-line drive-walk-line drive-pop up-line drive-line drive without allowing a run. Baltimore didn't get on the board until Bedard was fatigued and the game was in hand, and while 6.1 innings of one-run ball may not sound as sexy as seven innings of one-run ball to the people looking out for Erik's trade value, the 112 pitches represent his highest total in a Mariner uniform, which is something. Whether or not he should've been left in that long is one matter, but the fact that he made it to 112 without snapping to pieces should work in Zduriencik's favor when he goes to the phones.
This wasn't Bedard's best effort by any means, mind you. He threw strikes through six innings, but he didn't miss many bats and the Orioles smacked a half-dozen line drives. His curve, though, was there when he needed it, and any time he's able to get strikes on three-quarters of his breaking balls, I feel like he's probably going to look pretty good in the box score. For a team that still hasn't determined whether or not it's going to compete, having Bedard keep his stock high is good news for everyone.
- One day. It took Griffey one day to make me look like a retard. Fresh off of my suggesting that he may be finished, Griffey drilled extra-base hits to all fields, lining a double to left, a double to center, and a homer to right. Those three hits raised his slugging percentage from .362 to .407 and his OPS from .688 to .743. One of those doubles even came on a pretty good 93mph fastball. His timing could not have been worse.
The issue, of course, is that he didn't really put Griffey swings on them. The homer in particular came on a sweeping breaking ball from Jamie Walker that Griffey reached out for and yanked looking kind of off balance. It wasn't the most awe-inspiring of longballs, and tonight did little to make me think that I was wrong to post what I did. However, if the evidence pointed to Griffey maybe being done a day ago, now the case is a little less convincing, so that's a step in the right direction. This was a big game that Griffey's stat line badly needed.
- Russell Branyan doesn't always hit really long home runs, but he does always hit really high home runs. Tonight he put a perfect Branyan swing on a 3-2 slider from Walker and launched it about 10 or 15 rows back into right. I'm beginning to understand how he's able to so consistently post such extreme GB/FB ratios. He swings the bat like he's trying to hit an invisible person in front of him flush in the nutsack. There's just something so refreshing about the one guy in this lineup hitting home runs that don't make you wonder. When Branyan hits one, the only question is whether the outfielder will even bother running.
- When we came into the season, one of my concerns about the offense was that having supposed platoon bats like Branyan and Griffey in the middle would leave us vulnerable to lefty relievers. Those two have responded by slugging .588 against lefties over 85 at bats. Our three best offensive performances against lefties so far have come from our three regular left-handed hitters. This is the weirdest sport.
- I could use this space to talk to you about how Sean White isn't the least bit deserving of his shiny ERA, but instead of that, I'm going to point you to the fact that, over his last seven appearances, he's managed to throw 67% strikes while still generating a good number of grounders. That's good, and the 1-1 changeup he threw to Adam Jones today was absolutely wicked. So while Sean White's true talent level is going to catch up with him one of these days, my hope is that his true talent is a little better than his numbers. Truth be told, while his K/BB is currently under 1, it really doesn't have to get a whole lot better in order for him to be a useful reliever. The stuff is there for him to run lines like a poor man's Brad Ziegler.
- In case you're wondering, today was the fourth consecutive day that Ichiro extended his hit streak in his first at bat. He's now set a new club record of 26 games. Yay, Ichiro. I wonder if Beltre's hit in 26 games all season.
- Jamie Walker looks like the sort of guy who lives with eight or nine children. I just can't decide if he looks like he's supposed to.
Going for the series win tomorrow with Jason Vargas against Brad Bergesen, who appears to be a righty that lives off a high-80s sinkoh no