Every so often, I'll get a thoughtful email from a reader saying that Lookout Landing is one of the only things that's kept him (or her) close to theover the years. Maybe the individual has moved far from town, or maybe the individual has just struggled to care since the Mariners have been bad for so long. If this sounds like bragging, I promise it isn't me bragging. I'm telling you this to set up the following point: some of the time, those emails make me feel good about myself. Some of the time, those emails make me want to apologize.
The Mariners can be difficult. I've referred before to my old parakeet. I loved my old parakeet, but that parakeet didn't do shit. It made too much noise too early in the morning. It would bite you in the finger if you got too close, and if you stayed far away, it would fly to your shoulder and bite you in the ear. It never learned to talk. In its later years, it could barely fly at all. My old parakeet was kind of a bitch, and the affection I still felt was difficult to rationalize.
This in particular has not been a great few days to be a Mariners fan. It's always a good time to be a casual fan, because a casual fan is free to check out at the first sign of trouble, but this has not been a great few days to be a careful observer. Last Thursday, one of Felix's best-ever performances was thrown out the window with a ninth-inning loss. Friday, the Mariners were behind 6-0 in the second inning. Yesterday, not a single Mariner reached base, and while there's an argument to be made that it's just cool to witness baseball history, I really didn't think it was cool to witness baseball history. I didn't come away thinking "wow that was really great to see"; I came away thinking "wow the Mariners looked terrible again."
And then today. I wouldn't say that today's was a particularly devastating loss. There wasn't much at stake, and the Mariners put people on base. Lots of times! The Mariners did have a lead that they blew, but some of that lead was built upon defensive mistakes by theso it's not like the Mariners entirely earned it. Still, this was just...a bad game, a game I wish I hadn't watched, especially on such a beautiful day. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, it's been a gorgeous weekend. Yesterday, and then today, maybe even more so. If you stayed inside to watch this game, that sucks. If I was in any way responsible for that, I'm sorry. I know I feel like I've thrown away too much of a rare weekend, and I can only hope that not too many other people did the same.
The Mariners got swept by the White Sox. They got swept by the White Sox because they played the White Sox, and it seems like sweeping is what the White Sox do. While I wouldn't say the White Sox have the Mariners' number, because that doesn't make sense, the White Sox have certainly had the Mariners' number, based on recent encounters. In the long run, it's neat, because it gives me something to feel about the White Sox and baseball games are better when you feel something about the opponent, but in the short-term, it sure gets old watching the Mariners lose to the White Sox, who always seem to have the exact same team even when the players change.
I think it was Friday night I wrote that I didn't know why any Mariners fan would want to read that game recap. Once again, I don't know why any Mariners fan would want to read this game recap. The Mariners lost again, and with Kevin Millwood on the mound. Kevin Millwood isn't a guy many Mariners fans care to read about. It was a Sunday, and if this weren't my job I'd probably in large part check out from baseball on the weekend. The interesting young hitters didn't do much. The most interesting young pitcher allowed four hits and two runs in an inning. There are games that leave me with something to say and games that don't, and this one didn't. The Mariners played the White Sox. The Mariners had a lead that Kevin Millwood gave away. The Mariners got swept and remained a half-game in front of the.
Maybe that's the best angle. "Sure, the Mariners are a disappointing 7-10, but the Angels are an even more disappointing 6-10!" That angle's good for schadenfreude, because haha, the Angels are seven games back of thealready, and they're probably not making that up. And that angle's good for encouragement, because the Angels are 6-10, and the are 4-10, and the are 7-9, and do people expect those teams to keep struggling? I guess the Phillies have a valid excuse. But with the Angels and the Red Sox, you figure they'll turn it around eventually, right? So maybe the Mariners will turn it around too, because there's only so much you can take from the first dozen+ games.
Of course, the thing about the Angels and the Red Sox is that they had expectations, and they had expectations because they had and have great talent. The odds are a hell of a lot greater that the Mariners are playing like the Mariners than that the Angels are playing like the Angels, or that the Red Sox are playing like the Red Sox. Today I choose schadenfreude. That's what I'm going to use to cheer me up as a Mariners fan. If and when schadenfreude's not good anymore, then I'll choose something else. I don't know what it'll be. Maybe it'll be the Mariners! But possibly or probably not.
Maybe I'm just grumpy because it's so nice outside. It is so nice outside. I don't even like nice weather, but I like the beginning of nice weather, before it loses its novelty and starts being consistently, obnoxiously hot. When it's raining and the Mariners lose a bad game, those three hours are worth X less than replacement. When it's nice and the Mariners lose a bad game, those three hours are worth Y less than replacement, where Y is greater than X. At least those of us who watched got to see Matt Thornton again. Always nice to be reminded of that transaction.
I'm going to limit these bullet holes in an effort to salvage the day. I could force more bullet holes, for example by writing a bullet hole about Kevin Millwood, but I haven't an interesting thing to say about Kevin Millwood. Millwood is 37 years old, he looks like Kevin Millwood, and he's a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. I guess in a way that's inspiring, no matter how many runs he allows. Have you ever thought about how silly it is that Kevin Millwood is a 37-year-old man and he makes a living playing baseball? It's a game with a ball and a stick and a glove and ridiculous uniforms when you step back and really look at them. Millwood has kids. He's at an age where you'd think he'd be coaching his kids in sports. Instead he's still playing sports. What a weird thing to do.
- The Mariners' first baserunner of the game - and their first baserunner since Friday - reached with one out in the bottom of the first, when Dustin Ackley struck out and then sprinted to first when the ball got away from A.J. Pierzynski. That's how I wanted to see Brendan Ryan break up Philip Humber's perfect game, and maybe he could've done exactly that had he run instead of hung around to argue. There's something fitting about the Mariners snapping an extended batting skid with a strikeout, and while Ackley was followed by a legitimate single from Ichiro, the order in which those events happened is set in stone. Saturday, the Mariners went 0-for-27. Sunday, their first guy to reach base reached base after he swung and missed at a cutter in the dirt.
- In the top of the fourth inning, Brent Morel batted with two outs and Kosuke Fukudome on second base. Morel singled to right, and Fukudome rounded third as Ichiro came up throwing. Ichiro threw another strike to Miguel Olivo, a perfect one-hop right on the money, and Fukudome was tagged out. The Mariners' official Twitter account responded by rhetorically asking the league "when are you going to learn not to run on Ichiro?" The answer is hopefully never. We want people to run on Ichiro, so that he can throw them out. Stop trying to give other teams advice, Mariners. Things are already hard enough as they are!
- In the bottom of the fourth, the Mariners had runners on first and second with nobody out. John Danks is a lefty, and he saw Casper Wells leaning optimistically off first base. So Danks, as one does, threw over to first to try to pick Wells off. What Danks failed to notice was that Adam Dunn failed to notice John Danks. Dunn was playing first base with Paul Konerko at DH in an odd switcheroo, and Dunn had no idea what was going on. His eyes were fixed on the batter the whole time. He did flinch after Danks threw over, but only after the ball was already a good 20 feet beyond him. It was funny to see Danks throw the ball past a first baseman who wasn't paying attention. It would've been funnier to see Danks throw the ball at a first baseman who wasn't paying attention. That was prime nutshot potential gone completely to waste.
- I don't know how I didn't notice this before but Jesus Montero walks up to Jesus Walks by Kanye West. The thing is he doesn't. Jesus Montero has two walks. He is very raw and aggressive. It's like if Kyle Seager walked up to Kyle Quit The Band, or if Chone Figgins walked up to Chone Hits Home Runs A Lot And Always Gets On Base. Dustin Ackley could legitimately consider walking up to Dust In The Wind since it could be a play on words about how he's so fast, and while it's kind of a slow bummer of a song, so is the song he walks up to now. Dustin Ackley's walk-up song might as well be the Safeco PA announcer saying "Dustin Ackley" over piano scales.
- During one of the commercial breaks, ROOT Sports aired that one Mariners ad, but it cut off at "A cast of rising stars and dominant vets le-" and switched to a spot for a local car dealership. The ad is becoming self-aware.
- Going to the top of the sixth, the White Sox had runners on the corners with nobody out when A.J. Pierzynski rolled a slow grounder to short. Brendan Ryan charged and threw home, instead of getting the easy out at first. It looked like it would be a difficult play with Adam Dunn barreling down on Miguel Olivo, but Ryan's throw was perfect and Olivo's glove touched Dunn in the leg before Dunn reached home plate. The out was recorded, and Olivo kept out of harm's way. It was a hell of a play on Ryan's part, unfortunately negated when Alex Rios followed with a game-tying triple, but one wonders what must've been going through Olivo's head when he saw that Ryan was looking at him. During football games, commentators talk about quarterbacks who lead their receivers right into a dangerous safety in the middle of the field. The quarterback sets up the receiver to get hit wicked hard. Ryan set up Miguel Olivo to get run over by Adam Dunn. That could've gone a hell of a lot worse. Maybe Brendan Ryan is a big fan of John Jaso. Given that Ryan leads this team in walks, he might just be out of patience for Olivo's batting approach.
- When Millwood came out and ROOT Sports flashed an infographic with his stats, I was waiting for Mike Blowers to say that he'd kept his team in the game. Blowers didn't end up saying that, or anything close to that, but I'm going to write about this expression now anyway. What does that even mean? You hear it all the time. When does a pitcher not keep his team in the game? Just last week the
rallied back from 8-1. Just yesterday I think the rallied back from 9-0. A pitcher always keeps his team in the game, unless the pitcher literally removes his team from the game, perhaps by doing something to draw a forfeit. I don't know what would draw a forfeit instead of a simple ejection but I would love to see a bunch of players try to find out.
- Steve Delabar has 12 strikeouts and zero walks. Almost every fastball he throws is 96 miles per hour, and his offspeed stuff is in the high-80s. Everybody still talks about the home runs he's allowed, but he's thrown two-thirds of his pitches for strikes. Where did this come from? Is this for real? If this is for real, holy shit, Steve Delabar could be dominant. It might not be for real, since he's thrown only 130 pitches, but I was not expecting a 12/0 strikeout-to-walk ratio from Steve Delabar.
Travel day tomorrow. The Mariners were originally scheduled to begin another home series on Tuesday, but then Seattle held a vote and the voters were like, nah.