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60-96, Game Thoughts

As strange as it may sound, this was a pretty good day for a 60-96 baseball team. This particular Monday gave us a lot to be happy about.

For one, David Pauley turned in a half-decent outing. Pauley's now gone at least six innings in eight of his last nine starts, and though the walks are a little up and the strikeouts are a little down, the thing about Pauley is that he's a groundball pitcher. He's able to escape with a couple more walks and a couple fewer strikeouts because he doesn't allow that many balls in the air. Is he a great pitcher? Of course he isn't. I don't think he's even going to be a part of the team next year. As sick as we get sometimes about talking about #5 starters, though, they're neat to have around. Pauley could stick in the Major Leagues, and it was only on a team like this that he could find that out.

For two, Greg Halman got on the board with his first big league hit and his first big league RBI. You can watch the video highlight here, or you can watch the animated .gif here for some reason. On a 2-1 count, Halman went down and pulled a low changeup. The groundball hugged the line and, like so many other baseballs in the field, managed to avoid Adam Moore and Michael Young. No, it wasn't the sexiest hit in the world. Another foot or two to the right and it's a routine grounder that doesn't even advance the runner from third. It's still a hit, and it's still all Halman's going to be able to think about for the next 24 hours. I don't know what it's like to watch Greg Halman when a lot of the pressure's off, but a lot of the pressure's off. As in so many endeavors, the first one's always the hardest.

For three, hello there, Justin Smoak. When Smoak first came over, he homered in his fourth game, then homered again in his fifth. Then nothing. Though he obviously spent quite some time down in Tacoma, the fact remains that, until today, we hadn't seen Smoak go deep in a Mariner uniform since the 17th of July. Since that day, as a matter of fact, he'd gone just 10-74 with zero extra-base hits. So seeing him launch a blast - as well as a couple well-hit singles - came as a welcome change of pace. Nothing turns around for a hitter in one game, but these are the days that build confidence. These are the days we should see more and more often from Smoak as he puts his early adjustments further behind him.

And, for four, Chuck Armstrong all but confirmed that Jack Zduriencik will remain the Mariners' general manager. It's important to understand that I think all of us have seen our opinions of the Zduriencik front office change at least a little bit from where they were before the year. Speaking for myself, I know I've backed off from my previously out-of-control enthusiasm as cracks and flaws have revealed themselves. I would no longer rank this front office among the very best in the game. I still, however, consider it a pretty good one, all things considered, and I think turning things over again would've set the organization back a great deal. Some of the front office's screw-ups can be traced back to inexperience, and they're gaining experience by the day. I believe that these people can get the Mariners to where we want them to go.

So, even though the Mariners are terrible, today was one of those days that gave us a little wink. A little hint that maybe things could get better, and get better quickly. Lately, I know, we've all felt lost. We've all questioned what we're doing. Today, at least in some small part, helped to pull us back in.

Unfortunately what also happened today is that the Rangers and FSN Southwest announced a fifty trillion dollar TV deal that pretty much means we're totally fucked for the next ninety years. Baseball!