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Mariners Try To Sweep Yankees, Instead Blow Dust Everywhere

It's hard to be too broken up about losing today. This was CC Sabathia and the Yankees going up against Jason Vargas and the Mariners. While the Mariners had the pitching advantage the first two days, they very much did not have the advantage on Sunday, so a loss was to be expected. We weren't looking for a win - we were hoping for a win, and even with the loss, the Mariners won the series. If a team keeps winning series, they'll go an awful long way.

It's hard to be too broken up about Vargas' effort. Vargas can't be on top of his game every time out, and after the at bats the Yankees had against Michael Pineda and Felix Hernandez, one figured Vargas would have to be somewhere near perfect. He wasn't close to perfect at all, and he wound up with the results to match, but that happens. Plus two of the runs that scored in the third shouldn't have scored, since Nick Swisher was out at home.

It's hard to be too broken up about the Mariners returning to last place. Today the Mariners lost while the other three won, which blows, but they're still all of one loss out of first, so the difference between first and last here is kind of like the difference between the best and worst gummy bear. It isn't the AL Central, where the difference between first and last is kind of like the difference between the best gummy bear and the worst circus peanut.

Given the expectations and the probability, I don't think there's any way to consider this game and this loss particularly disappointing. One of the reasons it was so important to win yesterday was because a win today looked like such a long shot. The real disappointment isn't that the Mariners lost; it's that the Mariners continue to get nothing from the top of their lineup. And that's been going on for longer than just today. During the broadcast - the part that we were allowed to watch - Root Sports cut to a highlight of an Aaron Hill grand slam in Toronto, and Matthew and I both sighed, thinking about how nice it would be if the Mariners were able to hit for any power. Because the Mariners can't hit for any power, they need their table setters to set the table in the worst way. And they're not. Chone Figgins has two hits in his last 37 at bats, and his OPS is below .500. Ichiro, meanwhile is six for his last 43, and his OPS is down to .640. The two guys the Mariners can't move from the top of the order look like absolute crap.

The optimistic perspective is that the Mariners are at .500 a third of the way through the season despite getting little from Ichiro and nothing from Figgins. And that is encouraging in a way, because you figure Ichiro and Figgins can't keep performing this poorly. But the pessimistic perspective is that Ichiro and Figgins look bad at a time when their team really needs them, and wouldn't it just be fitting if, when the Mariners are finally ready to play like a winner, Ichiro becomes more of a liability than an asset?

I really shouldn't be putting Ichiro and Figgins under the spotlight by themselves. There are a bunch of players on the Mariners who aren't pulling their weight. But Figgins seems absolutely, positively dreadful, and with Ichiro, it's just so new and unfamiliar and unsettling. I've never before watched an Ichiro slump and wondered about his ability to turn things around. These days, I'm wondering.

This is such a weird season. Not especially great. Not especially bad. Just weird. The Mariners could win 20 games in June, or they could lose 20 games in June, and I wouldn't be surprised by either. There's the legitimate potential for each.