With a long weekend elsewhere coming up, I asked that theand A's send me off with something memorable. I don't know if I was serious or just writing something for the sake of writing something, but either way, the Mariners and A's most certainly didn't send me off with something memorable. They sent me off with something I've already mostly forgotten, and that I'm guessing you've already mostly forgotten, too, if you paid attention at all.
The Mariners have played a lot of forgettable games these last few years, especially against this very team. I don't want to say that tonight's game was at the top of the list, mostly because I've forgotten all the others, but if this wasn't the most forgettable game, it was among the most forgettable games. This was a game from which we will take nothing. This game was like most days at an archaeological dig.
It had a few bright spots, I guess, kind of. Justin Smoak came back. Shawn Kelley came back. Cesar Jimenez came back. Casper Wells drilled a double to snap his hitless streak. The Mariners did actually lead this game by two runs at one point.
But the bright spots were dim, bright only relative to the rest of the dark, empty expanse. The Mariners played the A's. Jason Vargas started opposite Guillermo Moscoso. The Mariners lost by seven. Their only baserunner after the top of the third reached on a should-be error on a weak groundball in the top of the ninth. I was already kind of weary when I turned the game on, but after Jeff Gray surrendered a first-pitch homer to Cliff Pennington in the seventh, I fell asleep during the next at bat. I slept for nine minutes. I guess something cool might've happened in those nine minutes.
If there are any things that you ought to know, they are these:
- Jason Vargas is still stuck in a rut. Where recently his major problem was not missing bats, tonight his major problem was not throwing strikes. Though he generated a fine number of whiffs, he was behind in the count entirely too often, and well I don't think I need to go on to explain why that is bad. I don't want to say that falling behind in the count takes Vargas away from his changeup, because falling behind in the count hasn't taken Vargas away from his changeup, but it does make all of his pitches less effective.
- Shawn Kelley is still coming back. Obviously returning to the Majors was a huge step in his recovery, but it didn't mean his recovery was complete. Kelley used to be 92-95mph with his fastball. Tonight, he was 89-91. There's little reason to think he should come away having lost maximum arm strength, but he's still working his way up to maximum arm strength. Remember that he's only thrown 15.2 innings since his most recent interruption. We'll see where Kelley is at the end of September, and then we'll see where he is next March after some months of offseason conditioning.
- I seem to recall Cesar Jimenez being a part of the Spring Training pile. I don't feel like going back to confirm. Let's just assume that I'm right. What I definitely remember is Cesar Jimenez pitching in Spring Training and being terrible. He allowed 20 hits and 12 runs in 11 innings. Tonight, in his big league re-debut, he fell behind a guy and allowed a line drive single, he walked a guy, he fell behind a guy and allowed a line drive single, he threw a wild pitch, and he struck out Brandon Allen on a 3-2 slider in the dirt. His location was all over the place, and he looked completely in over his head. It was, of course, his first Major League appearance since 2008, so he's allowed some nerves, and he'll get more opportunities. I'm just saying, I'm not real excited. He doesn't do much to excite me.
As for the rest of the game, ehh, who cares. Smoak recorded two hits, but both were singles, and one was a bad single. Brendan Ryan's RBI single was an infield single he only barely legged out. Fautino de los Santos looked really awesome in the eighth, but he looked really awesome for the wrong team, and he looked really awesome for one inning when the score was 9-2. In his second-ever appearance, Henry Rodriguez blazed through the Mariners, too. He's just okay. I need to see more before I trust these young flamethrowers.
So that was a horrible baseball game to lead into a holiday weekend. And, now, it's a holiday weekend. I'll see you guys Wednesday.