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13-20, Game Thoughts

Ehh. We lost to the Orioles. We lost, and we didn't really ever come close to not losing. We also lost with that lineup. This team would be more fun if you took the players and replaced them with better players.

I don't know how much more there is to say, other than this team won't make us proud on a consistent basis until or unless the players start playing like they were expected to play. Mark Teixeira had a .623 OPS through May 7th, and the Yankees went 20-8. Know why? They have enough talent to absorb some underperformance. The Mariners don't. The Mariners were going to have to fight to win 85 games, and they were going to have to fight to score 700 runs. That was before the year. Before Chone Figgins decided to not get hits, Jose Lopez decided to not get homers, Milton Bradley decided to not be some approximation of normal, and both the catchers and the designated hitters decided to not participate. And before other things. Now what? What're we supposed to do, other than hope these guys get it figured out before it's too late?

It's the same story. It's still the same story. We can complain all we want about the DH platoon - and we should, on account of it's a nightmare - but that's only one of several problems, and though it's arguably the easiest fix, it isn't enough on its own. And it's not like you can expect Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders to be the answer. I like them too, but they're limited in what they can provide. More than anything else, the Mariners need to regress. Regress up, regress in the good way. The forgotten way. Hendu used to remind us at every opportunity that "that's why they call it average." The Mariners need to find theirs. They need to find their averages before this division wraps itself up in a neat little box with a bow on it.

Let's make this quick:

  • The home run that Luke Scott sent out in the bottom of the fourth came on Ryan Rowland-Smith's 55th pitch of the game. It was his last. RRS wasn't dealing or anything, and with a rested bullpen there was plenty of available relief, but still, that seems to reflect a pretty striking lack of confidence on Wak's part that RRS would be able to keep the game close. While I can't begin to know for sure why he came out so soon, it seems to me that Wak was frustrated and wanted to send a message. Why he wouldn't be sending similar messages to like pretty much every position player on the team, I dunno, but there are only so many ways to explain a 55-pitch outing in which a guy threw enough strikes and only surrendered three runs.

    At this point, assuming the team doesn't make any immediate changes, it looks like RRS is in line to get another, what, three or four starts before Bedard comes back? I don't even know what it would take for him to hold onto this spot anymore, given what Jason Vargas and Doug Fister have done. I suppose he could turn things around while one of the other guys melts down, but that's unlikely. Put simply, he's pitched himself out of a job in the rotation. Appears to be something of a lame duck. Probably temporary, since who knows what could happen and we'll need starters again in 2011, but it's still a lousy situation.

    You know what'd be nice? Still being in the race when Bedard shows up. Otherwise that'd be a total bust.

  • I'm too old and weary to make a big stink of blown calls anymore, but in the top of the fourth, with the bases loaded and one down, Josh Wilson hit a grounder to third, where Miguel Tejada stepped on the bag for one out and threw to first for the double play. His throw pulled Garrett Atkins off the base, but Atkins was able to spin and tag Wilson on the back. Only he didn't actually apply a tag. He came close, but he missed. Unfortunately Angel Hernandez was only looking at Wilson's front and assumed that Atkins made the play. That blown call directly cost us one run, and it also cost us Adam Moore with men on the corners. So in conclusion, that blown call cost us one run, and whatever negative runs Adam Moore might've produced. That was an important run at the time.

  • Josh Wilson went 0-4, stranded 7 runners, and caused six of our 27 outs. His performance today isn't any more indicative of his ability than his performance on Sunday, which is why we have to defer to looking at his performance over his career, which is why we call him bad.

  • There was a very audible "Wake up Griffey" chant as we headed to the ninth inning, and when he finally came on to pinch-hit, he was getting heckled by everyone within shouting distance. It'll be interesting to see whether he or Bradley gets heckled more upon Bradley's return (if Griffey's still here). The Bradley heckles might be more malicious in nature, but Griffey could end up having him beat in word count. Allegedly falling asleep in the clubhouse is really easy material, and fans on the road have little reason to bite their tongues.

  • When Griffey pinch-hit, he put a classic Griffey swing on an Alfredo Simon 1-2 fastball. I mean classic. I thought he got all of it. I know people say that a lot about Griffey now, but I literally threw my arms in the air and shouted when I saw him make contact. I knew that ball was gone. Then it died 20 feet in front of the track. Shannon says Griffey hit a few balls near the warehouse in batting practice, and there's obviously no reason to think she's lying, but this swing, more than any other swing Griffey's taken all season, convinced me that he's toast. He can't do to Major League pitchers what he does to guys in batting practice. He can't do it anymore.

  • Ryan Langerhans threw Tejada out at home in the third inning. The throw was strong, and the throw was perfect, arriving at home plate on a line from a distance of like 250 or 300 feet. I had no idea Langerhans' arm had that kind of strength. I'll say it again - unless he completely falls apart, I don't see how this team could possibly justify sending Langerhans away. Not when the lineup is doing what it's doing.

  • Down 5-1 in the top of the eighth, Jose Lopez came up with two on and lifted a 2-2...changeup? cutter? deep to left center. Corey Patterson caught the ball above his head with his back to the wall. Rather than make another crack at Lopez's expense about his lack of power, I'll say that, on a day with nicer conditions, that ball leaves the yard. This is what they mean when they say it's a game of inches. This, and a million other things, too.

  • Ty Wigginton broke up an early double play by reaching his arms in the air and blocking a throw with his wrist. I can't believe that move is allowed. 

  • Jesus Colome had to come out with some kind of minor injury, which, hey, all right.

  • This probably deserves a post of its own at some point, but our catchers are terrible. Rob Johnson's a backup, and Adam Moore looks like he barely knows what he's doing anymore. Maybe Moore is gathering valuable experience and a lightbulb's about to turn on, but it seems to me that he's lost, and he doesn't look to be improving. I know getting sent back to Tacoma wouldn't exactly help his confidence, but the organization should evaluate whether that's in his long-term best interest. One problem is that the team doesn't have any other catchers on the 40-man roster, but I've got some ideas.