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Mariners Take Odd Course To Predictable Finish, Lose To Rangers

There is no such thing as an uninteresting game photo of Adrian Beltre
There is no such thing as an uninteresting game photo of Adrian Beltre

Inside the Texas Rangers' war room

Ryan: Welcome, everybody, to the war room.
Daniels: We've all been in here before.
Sundberg: Like lots of times.
Washington: You don't have to say "Welcome, everybody" every time you open the door.
Levine: Referring to it as the "war room" only perpetuates the offensive image of sports as combat.
Ryan: Can it, egghead, sports is combat.
Levine: Sports *are* combat.
Ryan: See, you said it yourself.
Levine: But-
Ryan: So we've got this thing to figure out.
Ryan: We've got Darvish, and we've got Feliz, and they gotta debut.
Washington: Right.
Ryan: They gotta debut against somebody.
Daniels: There are really only two options, right? White Sox or Mariners?
Ryan: That's what the schedule says.
Ryan: So I was thinking that-
Blalock: /rustles
Purpura: What was that?
Ryan: That's Hank Blalock.
Ryan: He lives in here now, don't worry about him.
Blalock: /chews whiteboard marker
Ryan: We want a soft landing, right?
Levine: That doesn't seem like a very war room thing to say.
Sundberg: A soft landing would probably be preferable.
Washington: I don't think landings get much softer than the Mariners.
Daniels: For what it's worth, their lineup doesn't look as piss-shitty as it used to.
Daniels: There are actual hitters in it now I think.
Ryan: I hear you, but I keep thinking, "but Mariners".
Washington: The Mariners are what the Mariners are.
Daniels: That didn't add anything.
Ryan: We have to debut them against the Mariners.
Ryan: I agree.
Sundberg: Did you just agree with yourself?
Ryan: Wouldn't you?
Sundberg: What?
Sundberg: But in this case, yes, Mariners.
Washington: We're all agreed, then.
Washington: Darvish opens against the Mariners, and Feliz opens against the Mariners.
Ryan: It'll work like a down-home analogy!
Sundberg: /high five
Ryan: /high five
Washington: /high five
Blalock: /high five

I'd like to introduce you to a new feature on Lookout Landing, in which I put less effort into a game recap than I usually have in the past because I don't really know what to say and there's no sense in trying to force content without inspiration. This was the Mariners' sixth game of the season, and the Mariners' first game of the season that didn't leave me with one or several ideas. This was a game that they lost to the Rangers 1-0. The one run scored on an infield single. The Mariners generated four hits. Blake Beavan started. If you gave me a week, I could probably come up with some way to sell this as something worth reading about. I don't have a week. I have a night, and not a very long night since I've been procrastinating even getting this started. The game left me with zero writing momentum, and then I took a break so as to end up with...negative writing momentum? No, that's not right, I'm writing now! I think negative writing momentum would require me to start deleting things I've already published.

What's funny is this was a game a lot of Rangers fans will find worth reading about. For Rangers fans, this was sort of the equivalent of Brandon Morrow's first-ever start, against the Yankees. Feliz wasn't quite so dominant, and he didn't mess around with a no-hitter for so long, and the 2012 Mariners lineup isn't the 2008 Yankees lineup, but the significance of Feliz's start is similar to the significance of Morrow's start. Here you have a talented power arm that began in the bullpen. He's transitioned to the rotation, and his first go was fantastic. Rangers fans have every reason to be thrilled about Feliz's effort, and to want to eat up as much content as they can find.

But Mariners fans don't care so much about Neftali Feliz. I certainly don't care that much about Neftali Feliz, and I don't want to write about him at length. I don't find him nearly as interesting as Yu Darvish, so I don't feel like writing about him like I felt like writing about Yu Darvish. But then, when you remove Feliz from the picture, you're not left with much. Blake Beavan lasted into the seventh inning, and he seemed to me to have done a good job, but how much do people want to read about Blake Beavan? How much do people want to read what I would have to say about Blake Beavan, since I couldn't sustain close attention to Blake Beavan?

I feel like I've been unfair to Blake Beavan because he's a perfectly acceptable young starting pitcher who's made it all the way to the Majors, and he probably has a terrific story to tell, but his pitches aren't compelling. His skillset isn't compelling. His statistics aren't compelling. Blake Beavan is essentially a pitching machine, but not one of those basic pitching machines like you find at a Family Fun Center. A more advanced pitching machine, where you can program locations and speeds and movement. He doesn't quite have the advanced pitching machine's variety, but he just throws strikes and is okay. Tonight he practically pitched at his ceiling. He allowed a run and had three strikeouts. How many people do you think are going to go to work in the morning and ask somebody else, "hey, you see the game Blake Beavan threw last night?"

Beavan was good tonight. Better than I expected him to be. By the numbers, and accounting for opponent, he was probably better than Feliz. For him to turn in that kind of performance so close to home against a World Series contender (favorite?) is tremendous for him. His fastball got seven swinging strikes! Maybe the problem's on my end. Maybe I don't appreciate Blake Beavan enough, and I'm just being stubborn. In any case, we're not going to get anywhere special by the end of this post.

Of note is that Chone Figgins did a nice job of ranging back and catching a line drive over his head in the bottom of the third. This isn't remarkable because Chone Figgins made a nice play in left field - Chone Figgins is athletic and he has enough experience in left field. This is remarkable because a line drive Chone Figgins catches over his head is a line drive Carlos Peguero catches at his knee. If the Mariners had an outfield of Chone Figgins, Carlos Peguero, and a normal guy, they would have a total of three starting outfielders.

Of note is that Munenori Kawasaki made an awesome pick of a throw to tag out a stealing Ian Kinsler, also in the bottom of the third. The one run scored on an infield single that Kawasaki knocked down by diving full-extension to his right. Kawasaki came over with a strong defensive reputation, and he's lived up to it. Now it's just a matter of figuring out whether 300-foot fly balls really are Kawasaki hitting the ball as hard as he can. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt but then he is very cute and little.

Of note is that Mike Napoli got hit by a Blake Beavan fastball in the noodle in the seventh. That says "noodle", not "doodle", although I would also be writing about it if Mike Napoli got hit by a Blake Beavan fastball in the doodle. Napoli was fine, and the beanball came moments after Napoli hit an easy grounder to third that was ruled a foul ball even though replays showed Napoli didn't hit the ball off his foot, and even though Napoli didn't react as though he hit the ball off his foot. Mike Napoli should've been out. After he didn't confess, he got hit by a fastball in the head. He'll confess next time, if he remembers this lesson, which he probably won't, on account of the fastball to the head.

And of note is that the Mariners at last officially have a hit against Neftali Feliz. Several of them! Where by "several" I mean "four", just as I predicted in the game thread post because I am amazing. All four hits were singles, with two from Justin Smoak and two from Jesus Montero. Based on that I think it's pretty evident that, when the Mariners were danging Cliff Lee on the trade market, they were looking to get a guy who could get a hit against Neftali Feliz. For the record, Feliz didn't allow a hit until the fourth, meaning he was on his way to a third no-hitter. Pause and appreciate how long that streak lasted. There's something poetic about former Ranger Justin Smoak finally coming through with a single, but I'm not a poet. Look at all of these paragraphs, written normally without any structure or schemes.

Based on the outcome, this was a winnable game. It never really felt like that winnable of a game, but the Mariners only lost by one, and maybe they could've tied it had Miguel Olivo not slid head-first into first base in the seventh with two out and runners on the corners. All three of the Mariners' losses so far have been winnable games, which an optimist would take to be encouraging. "Change a few things and the Mariners are 6-0!" says the optimist. "Change a few things and the Mariners are a loose-leaf stack of research papers!" says the surrealist. But to be fair, that would require changing way more things.

Tomorrow, it's Kevin Millwood and Colby Lewis. I'd kind of forgotten about Kevin Millwood. Now he can make me either glad or sad that I remember about his existence. Not to be dark but if the Mariners lose tomorrow they might never see .500 again, so here's hoping for a win, and also, I recommend you take a moment to appreciate the present. Appreciate this, right now! Appreciate the hell out of it! Joy is fleeting!