Unpleasant conversations you may not have to face:
1) Love interest/significant other: How can you care that much about sports? Sports are pointless. Why can't you care that much about me?
2) You: Yeah, sorry babe, I'd love to, but I gotta watch a game that night. What about the next day? Just so long as we're back by 7.
3) You: So do I drop $250 on the authentic Saunders or $250 on the authentic Gutierrez?
And there are others. Lots of others. If you really think about it, by being lousy, the Mariners are kind of doing you a favor.
- This was such a slow game, in such a lifeless atmosphere, with so many unexciting players that by the time extra innings rolled around, I just wanted things to end, even if the A's came out on top. There was a scene in House where our hero remarked on how his oncologist friend's patients would thank him when he told them they were dying. This game reminded me of that. The M's may have lost, but I still found myself thankful.
- You're forgiven if this kind of slipped your mind as things wore on, but today began as Felix Day. It was not a very good one, as the A's kept pounding everything on a line. Ordinarily, when you see six strikeouts and 11 hits in six innings, you assume a little bad luck, but most of those hits were legitimate, as Felix struggled with his command all day long. This gives Felix three pretty mediocre starts out of four. I'm not sure what the problem is, but there are so many problems to investigate on this team that I can hardly work up the motivation to investigate any one of them. So Felix is in a funk? The whole team is in a funk. I think that means they're bonding.
- For nearly four and a half innings, Rob Johnson was having the game of his life. He delivered a game-tying line drive home run, he added a hard-hit single, he picked an important runner off at third base with a hell of a throw, and he gunned down Rajai Davis on a pitchout. Then everything started coming apart in the fifth. With two on and two down, Ichiro smacked a base hit to left, but Johnson was throwing out trying for third just before Casey Kotchman could touch home plate, negating a run. That was a play that demonstrated zero field awareness. Later on, Johnson struck out with a runner in scoring position, struck out again with a man on first, and let a Brandon League splitter in the dirt get away, allowing Cliff Pennington - the eventual winning run - to advance from second to third. Now that we know he's probably okay, we can laugh at Johnson getting drilled in the sack by a foul ball, because he kind of deserves it for all the shit he's put us through. Even when he's having the best game of his life, he still finds a way to push his suck front and center.
Bottom of the tenth: a summary
-four-pitch walk, where none of the four is more than an inch or two from the zone
-runner advances to second when Franklin Gutierrez is caught off guard after catching a fly ball
-runner advances to third when Rob Johnson can't handle a splitter
-runner scores when Kurt Suzuki rolls a grounder past an immobile Matt Tuiasosopo
Brandon League got the loss, and he's probably developing a bit of a reputation among the more casual fans, but one could argue that the only thing he did wrong in the inning was just barely miss his spots against Pennington. Once Pennington got on base, everything else was the fault of the defense. Gutierrez needs to be more heads-up, Johnson needs to be more not Johnson, and Tuiasosopo needs to not be on the roster anymore. I know League hasn't exactly been the guy we thought we were trading for so far, but he's also kind of gotten it in the shorts.
- With a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, Don Wakamatsu was comfortable going to Kanekoa Texeira. A broken-bat single and a beanball later, Wak wanted Sean White. By that point, Texeira had thrown three pitches. Only one of them was bad. But Wak still called on arguably the worst pitcher on the team, even though White is not a groundballer and he struggles quite a bit against lefties. A lot of bad decisions involve more than managerial discretion. This was not one of them. Texeira was fine. Shawn Kelley pitched later. Brandon League pitched later. Hell, David Aardsma stirred once or twice. Sean White was the wrong choice for that situation, and Wak got burned.
In White's defense, he did come up with a good at bat against Jack Cust. He got ahead with a big loopy curve, missed outside with a fastball, and came back with three more curves and a changeup before throwing another fastball and finally putting Cust away with a 2-2 change low and away. White doesn't throw his offspeed stuff very often. He should consider throwing it more, because his fastball is bad.
Michael Saunders may not be on fire anymore, but he did lead off the ninth with a good walk against Andrew Bailey, and in the eighth he came in to make a shoestring catch on a sinking Ryan Sweeney liner and then immediately threw to first to double up an over-aggressive Daric Barton. The point is, despite the 0-3, Saunders still did some positive things, and with Milton Bradley possibly returning as soon as tomorrow, it's had to envision a scenario in which Saunders gets sent back down. The cynic in me still expects Ryan Langerhans to just go on the DL rather than the M's doing anything significant with their clownshoes DH platoon, but I know there's a little part of me somewhere that always has faith in other people to do the right thing.
- Let's just put this in plain English: Ken Griffey Jr., the player, right now, is a worthless pile of shit. It's true that he's been making better contact lately. He's gotten air under some balls rather than simply rolling them over. You know what that better contact has gotten him? A .114 May batting average. I'm certain there's more to this story than meets the eye, but whoever's responsible for Griffey still getting playing time gets to go to sleep with the knowledge that this whole DH catastrophe is one of the biggest reasons the M's are just about out of the race. This is embarrassing. The Seattle Mariners are a Major League baseball team. I don't give a shit if Griffey looks better in batting practice, or if he's getting the barrel on the ball. He's worse than Wilson Valdez. Make him disappear. The fans that get butthurt by the organization doing something that's clearly in its own best interests aren't fans of the organization anyway.
- Casey Kotchman is 27 years old and still he makes mistakes on the basepaths most people stop making in high school. The neat thing about Kotchman screwing up on the basepaths is that at least he's on the basepaths, but for example, today, Casey Kotchman of all people should know not to pose when he thinks he's hit a homer. He should just book it out of the box on any ball in play. Even if the ball clears the wall, he'll still have about 320 feet to jog.