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36-57, Game Thoughts

Sometimes, when I don't know what to write about, I'll sit back and imagine being a reader instead of a blogger. Then I'll ask myself, "If I were a reader, what would I want to read about this game?" "Were I to have missed this game, what would I want someone to tell me about it?" It usually gets the gears turning. Not always the creative gears, but often the other gears - the writing gears, the gears that can be impossibly hard to get started.

After the final out tonight, I was stumped, so I sat back and asked myself the questions. What would I want to know? If I'd just gotten home from a night out, or if I'd been otherwise occupied, what are the things I'd want a blogger to tell me?

I considered the answers. Or, I tried to. For a solid ten minutes, I sat there. But in the end, I just couldn't get over the fact that the Mariners' three pitchers tonight were David Pauley, Jamey Wright, and Garrett Olson.

Doesn't that just tell you everything? Imagine going back in time to March.

Then Jeff: what the
Future Jeff: Hello there.
Then Jeff: You look familiar and handsome.
Future Jeff: I am you, from the future!
Then Jeff: Well that makes sense.
Future Jeff: I am charming too.
Then Jeff:
Why the visit? You on vacation? Is this how the future vacations?
Future Jeff: The future cannot afford vacations.
Then Jeff: Oh.
Future Jeff: I am here to tell you about the Mariners.
Then Jeff: Oh? Things look good?
Future Jeff: On July 19th of this season, the Mariners will play the White Sox.
Then Jeff: That should be a good game.
Future Jeff: The White Sox will be in front of their division.
Then Jeff: Well good for them! And how are the Mariners?
Future Jeff: On July 19th of this season, in a game against the White Sox, the Mariners' three pitchers will be David Pauley, Jamey Wright, and Garrett Olson.
Then Jeff: oh
Then Jeff: oh no
Future Jeff: On July 19th of this season, in a game against the White Sox, you will wonder why Don Wakamatsu did not pinch-hit with Josh Wilson in a critical situation.
Then Jeff: heavens no
Future Jeff: On July 19th of this season, you will dedicate a bullet point in your Game Thoughts recap to note the fact that Jamey Wright generated nine groundballs on 11 balls in play, and that he can very occasionally be kind of useful.
Then Jeff: what did we doooo

David Pauley, Jamey Wright, and Garrett Olson. An offseason scrap heap add who was once lower on the depth chart than Yusmeiro Petit, a mediocre old veteran reliever we signed out of nowhere in July because we couldn't live without Sean White, and 2009's worst pitcher on the team. If I were me hanging out back in March, and there was a knock at the door, and it was me from the future, and future me told me that the 2010 Mariners would play a game in July and throw David Pauley, Jamey Wright, and Garrett Olson, I would've kicked future me right in the balls. It'd make me happier in the short-term, and that way, as time passed by and July rolled around, I'd at least have an opportunity to feel something.

  • To Pauley's credit, he didn't pitch too poorly against a half-decent lineup. After the White Sox ripped him for three consecutive line drives in the first, he settled down and knocked out his longest big league start since June 11th, 2006. He stayed around the zone with all of his pitches, he threw two-thirds of his pitches for strikes, and of the 19 swings hitters took at his breaking balls, nine of them missed. Considering the White Sox as a team have the third-highest contact rate in baseball, that's an impressive achievement. He threw some legitimate Major League sliders and curveballs, and they confused some legitimate Major League hitters.

    Of course, this was probably David Pauley at his best. He's 27 years old, and he's never wowed anyone in AAA, because neither his stuff nor his location are sufficiently consistent. If you didn't enjoy watching him tonight, you'll probably never enjoy watching him very much. But then, if you did enjoy watching him tonight, then good news - the Mariners are terrible, they're not going to rush Michael Pineda, and I think Erik Bedard is literally dead, so there should be some more Pauley in our future yet. Why would they bounce him after a game like this?

    It's meaningless baseball, but what's meaningless baseball to us isn't necessarily meaningless baseball to them, and one of the neat things about roster turnover during a disappointing year is that you know, even when your team is 21 games below .500, all those kids and journeymen are trying their damndest, because they have careers on the line and they may never get another opportunity to show what they can do. David Pauley may never be exciting for however long he sticks around, but at least he'll never be confused for someone who doesn't care, or isn't trying.

  • Jamey Wright made his much-anticipated Mariners Safeco Field debut tonight in relief of Pauley, and this time he was a complete tease, throwing 67% strikes and keeping nine of 11 balls in play on the ground. You know why Jamey Wright still has a job in the Majors? It isn't because of his track record. His track record sucks. It's because just often enough, when he's pitching for his life, he manages to pull a game like this out of his comically oversized ears.


    Of course, Wright did allow a home run and a line drive RBI double, but that's because even when Wright's at his very best, he's still not very good. Nevertheless, this was one of those appearances that makes a manager think, yeah, I want to see more of this. Jamey Wright has Wak wrapped firmly around his finger. It's only a matter of time before Wright is in charge of the clubhouse.

  • In the first inning, Milton Bradley and Jack Wilson collided in pursuit of a fly ball, although it wasn't so much a football collision as it was the kind of collision you'd see between two people just learning how to rollerskate. Both of them were fine. Later, Russell Branyan hurt his back just kind of moving around, and Rob Johnson hurt his hip doing nothing in particular. I will never understand the injury-prone. On the other hand, I guess it might be more frustrating for them. If you're Wilson, and you collide with your left fielder, and you come away from it okay, you might think, "all right, I'm strong! I can do this!" Then you go home, fold laundry, and your season's over because your shirts were too hot and they melted your quads.

  • Proof that Daniel Hudson is still really really young:

    Nice hormones, pizza face.

  • Chone Figgins is batting .229. Even at his best, he never has any power. He seldom shows any fire, opting instead for the stare and the passive-aggressive smile and eye roll. And at least at second base, he's shown himself to be prone to the occasional really ugly, seemingly-careless fielding error. I'm not saying I'm finished with Figgins. I'm not saying I'm done believing in him. Note that he did reach base four times tonight, after all. I just think that all the ingredients are there for him to become a real lightning rod on the team. He gets paid a lot of money, he hasn't lived up to expectations, and he can be perceived - perceived, by some - as not giving it his all every day.

    Figgins could really use a nice, sustained hot streak. For a number of reasons.