Aboard the U.S.S. Media
Commander: Anything unusual going on?
Operator: Not really, sir. Pretty quiet out there.
Operator: Hold on-
Commander: What is that?
Operator: I can't tell.
Commander: There it is again.
Operator: If I didn't know better, I'd say...
Operator: I'd say that's the Seattle Mariners.
Commander: The Seattle Mariners?
Operator: The Seattle Mariners. That's definitely the Seattle Mariners.
Commander: Are you sure?
Operator: Take a close look.
Commander: I'll be damned.
Operator: What's the protocol?
Commander: Let me think.
Commander: All right, everybody, heightened awareness.
Commander: We need to keep the Mariners monitored.
Commander: It is imperative that we keep a close eye on anything and everything that they do.
Operator: Where did they go?
Commander: Did they just disappear?
Operator: I think they just disappeared.
Commander: Yeah, they're definitely gone.
Operator: What now?
Commander: That's it. False alarm.
Commander: Everything back to normal.
Operator: You don't suppose they just went stealth for the time being, do you?
Commander: But seriously, no, forget 'em.
I kind of miss it.
I swear, I kind of miss it. Don't get me wrong. I'm absolutely elated that the Mariners won, and won big. Despite baseball's best efforts, I was able to watch a lot of this game, and I had fun. It was awesome watching Dustin Ackley. It was awesome watching Felix Hernandez. It was awesome watching Curtis Granderson and Mike Carp. I couldn't wait to watch the Mariners line up, smile, and high-five one another in the middle of the infield.
And yet, as enjoyable as that was, it's just a little bittersweet. That losing streak was something else. It was one of the longest losing streaks in baseball history. In baseball history. Baseball history goes back really far. I saw a tweet the other day that said losing streaks this long are historically less frequent than perfect games. The Mariners were doing something amazing, and they were keeping themselves relevant.
They weren't keeping themselves relevant in a way we would've wanted, of course, but they were attracting so much attention, regional and national alike. The losing streak made the Mariners interesting, far more interesting than any last-place team ought to be. So, in a way, I kind of bonded with it. I guess it was a sort of Stockholm syndrome. The losing streak gave me a reason not just to watch the Mariners every day, but to look forward to watching the Mariners every day. Baseball fans love shit that's historic, and what the Mariners were doing - what we were all witnessing - was historic.
And now it's over. The Mariners made a run, but they didn't break any records, and now everything's been undone like an arrangement of dominoes. It's awesome, because they won and now our team can stop being so much of a national punchline, but it's a little disappointing, because with the streak snapped, we're left to watch just another Mariners team in the basement. I'm tired of watching Mariners teams in the basement.
On the plus side, at least this team still has interesting components. Players we can watch that make us think that brighter days might be ahead. Many of them were on display today. The Mariners beat the Yankees today in large part because of Felix, Ackley and Carp. Throw in Michael Pineda, a healing Justin Smoak and a few others, and there are enough players of interest to keep many of us paying attention. Nothing against Jamey Wright and Josh Bard, but it's not like all the players on this team are Jamey Wright and Josh Bard.
So that's something. That'll be enough to keep us chugging along. But, man. Even though it wasn't going to last forever, things'll never again be like they were for the last several days. In a way - in just the slightest little way - that's too bad.
Just a few bullet holes:
- I don't have a whole lot to say about Felix's outing. He wasn't the best he's ever been. He wasn't bad. Statistically, one might be a little underwhelmed by his line, but consider that these were the New York Yankees, and he allowed one run in seven innings. Felix was what the team needed him to be, and God only knows how much pressure a 17-game losing streak puts on a pitcher, and what effect that might have. Felix made his pitches when he needed to - most notably in the fifth, when he struck out Granderson with two on and two out.
Truth be told, the most interesting part of Felix's game, I thought, was this pitch:
That was a 3-0 pitch to Brett Gardner in the bottom of the fifth. It didn't end up mattering. I'm not sitting here and whining that that call didn't go the other way. Even if that were called a strike, it's still a 3-1 count against a good and disciplined hitter. But that pitch was just about down the middle. It was a little further down and a little further inside from being right in the center of the zone, but it was an obvious strike. An unquestionable strike. A 100% strike, in a situation in which umpires tend to be extra forgiving.
And it was called a ball. I don't care that it was called a ball, but I'm curious why it was called a ball. When I showed the Gameday strike zone image to Rob Neyer, his immediate assumption was that it was a system error. It was not. It was a human error. What was Hunter Wendelstedt looking for? Where did that pitch need to be? How did he miss it?
This was as wrong a call as Jerry Meals' call last night. Obviously, it was way less significant. Obviously, it doesn't actually matter. I'll forget all about this call by tomorrow or Friday. But it's amazing to me that these things can happen. I'm generally pretty understanding with pitches on the edge. I'm less understanding with pitches like this. The only way Hunter Wendelstedt could have been more wrong is if he ruled this pitch was a homer.
Phil Hughes since coming off the DL:
That is, amazingly, quite a bit better than it was before Hughes went on the DL. But his velocity and results are still down, and he doesn't resemble the pitcher he was last season. So as annoying as it might be that the Yankees have squeezed so much goodness out of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, at least they have this going on. They have this going on, and also the fact that Ivan Nova is not very good. And Jesus Montero has made zero progress in any respect. Oh no!
Franklin Gutierrez forever looks like a guy who's about to get into an offensive groove, which reminds me of Chappelle's joke about Lil Jon that started everything. Franklin Gutierrez is like RealPlayer.
- Dustin Ackley came to the plate five times. He pulled a line drive triple to right. He sent a line drive single to center, and a line drive out. He sent a line drive single to left. He didn't swing at a single ball out of the zone. Dustin Ackley is a child's first pair of adult scissors. "These are so much better than what I'm used to!" He doesn't have Brendan Ryan's on-air personality, or even Ben Stein's on-air personality, but personality isn't real high on my list of important traits for a baseball player to have. More importantly, I like my baseball players to be good at baseball, and holy crap Dustin Ackley
- Mike Carp has batted 34 times since being recalled, and he's picked up 13 hits, including another four today. His triple bounced off the end of Granderson's glove, but it was still hit well to center, and plus there were three singles, too. We're seeing power and plate coverage that could allow Carp to be a Major League hitter. The sensation of watching him bat is so different from the sensation of watching Carlos Peguero bat. Mike Carp is grocery shopping, where Carlos Peguero is fishing with a pointy stick.