Someday someone's going to make a fortune by developing a means by which we can unlock and re-access past experiences and feelings. With things the way they are right now, we can remember past experiences and feelings, usually, and we might be able to scrape the surface of what they were like at the time, but by and large the sensation is lost and gone forever. New experiences, new feelings have buried those old ones under too many layers.
Tonight I made myself some leftovers for dinner. Leftovers get a bad reputation - my leftovers tasted like they tasted yesterday, when the food was all new. You could say that tonight's dinner was a new experience, independent of last night's dinner experience, but I'm trying to make a larger point here so stick with me. You've stuck with me this far, by which I mean you're still reading about the Seattle Mariners.
We can't have psychological leftovers. Not often, not predictably, not when we want to. The reason I'm bringing this up is because yesterday afternoon I was just in a great mood, and Mariners baseball played a part in that. Friday was in the past. I'd gotten over it. Saturday the Mariners beat Dan Haren. Sunday the Mariners beat Jered Weaver. On the road, to take a three-game series over the Angels. Yesterday the Mariners beat Jered Weaver in Anaheim during the day and Jesus Montero slugged two dingers, both off of Weaver, who is great. Yesterday was a good Mariners day. This weekend was a good Mariners weekend.
What I want is to be able to feel like I did yesterday. I mean, it was just yesterday, right? How much could my brain possibly have forgotten? I want to just go back and think about the Mariners the way I did yesterday afternoon and evening because tonight the Mariners were an unwatchable pile of crap and the feelings I got from tonight's game are unpleasant. I want them to go away, replaced by better feelings I know are in there somewhere, because one should never want to be negative when one has a chance to be positive.
Can't do it. Yesterday was a year ago. Yesterday was a century ago. This is the great and terrible, terrible, unforgivably terrible thing about baseball. Every single day there's more baseball. It doesn't matter what might have happened in the previous baseball. On Wednesday, June 13, Matt Cain threw a perfect game at home against the Houston Astros. On Thursday, June 14, the Giants lost to the Astros in a game that started at 12:45. For only a brief period of time were there no layers on top of the Matt Cain layer. Yesterday was a big day for the Mariners. Today I still have the memory of yesterday, but I can't roll around in it, because now it's been poisoned by tonight. I can't just ignore tonight, and tonight sucked.
I mean, really, as we proceeded to the seventh and the eighth innings, I didn't think I'd have it in me to write even this many words. It's not just that the Mariners lost to the Rays 4-1. The Mariners have lost a bunch of times, and over the years they've lost a bunch of times 4-1. This game was just slow and awful and never competitive after the third. Blake Beavan threw 43 pitches in the top of the third inning. 43 pitches. The half-inning took forever, taking whatever wind might've been present out of everyone's sails, and the Mariners emerged behind by four. They never mounted a serious threat. The win expectancy log tells the story.
The Mariners' biggest at-bat had a win-expectancy swing of 6.3 percent. The Mariners' biggest offensive event, which had a win-expectancy swing of 6.9 percent, was Eric Thames getting picked off. That's when everything was officially finished. You could've fooled yourself into believing that the Mariners had life when the fifth inning began with a triple and a single. But then Eric Thames drifted too far off the bag and you realized that 4-1 doesn't feel a whole hell of a lot better than 4-0 because either way you're looking for this Mariners team to score a bunch of runs against good pitchers in Safeco Field. The Safeco crowd has a reputation for usually being pretty dead, but tonight it had a reason. It frequently has a reason, but tonight's reason was convincing. The Safeco crowd should've been dead. They all should've literally been left dead. Asphyxiated by unentertainment.
Are you wondering if there are things to feel good about? There aren't really things to feel good about. Granted, yesterday wasn't much of a team effort, as it was almost entirely Jason Vargas and Jesus Montero who powered the Mariners to victory, but that was an exceptional sort of challenge, and at least Vargas and Montero were really really really good. Nobody was really really really good tonight. Nobody was good tonight. I guess Trayvon Robinson tripled to the opposite field, and that's neat, but he also made three outs and struck out twice. Kyle Seager singled twice, but one of those singles was a bunt and I'm not going to suddenly bump up my mental evaluation of present and future Kyle Seager because the guy can lay down a half-decent bunt.
Michael Saunders went 0-for-4. His OPS is down into the .680s. He drilled one loud out into the outfield, which is the sort of thing we used to have to cling to with Michael Saunders. We thought we were past that. Coming off a mammoth afternoon, Jesus Montero did nothing. On the plus side, he threw out Desmond Jennings stealing. On the minus side, he allowed Jose Molina to steal, and I don't know how much Montero's catching defense matters anyway since he's probably not long for the position. Dustin Ackley went 0-for-4. He's batted .188 in August. That's better than I thought it would be when I looked it up. Ackley just isn't showing any signs at all. It might not be long before his OPS course and Brendan Ryan's OPS course intersect.
And so on. Carter Capps walked three of five batters, and while two of those walks resulted in part from quality strikes getting called balls, Capps' command was visibly lousy. Lucas Luetge and Shawn Kelley pitched, and Kelley pitched well, but by that point I could hardly bring myself to pay attention. Maybe the most interesting performance was turned in by Beavan and his third inning was an absolute disaster.
Let's look at this. The Rays do not have a great lineup. The Rays do not have a good lineup, when Evan Longoria is taking the night off. Beavan was in a decent position to succeed and he allowed eight hits and four runs in six innings. But if you choose to just look at the numbers - and it can be instructive to just look at the numbers - 65 percent of his pitches were strikes, which is a good rate, if a little below Beavan when he's at his best. An astonishing 13 of 19 balls in play were grounders, and grounders have never been Beavan's forte. He generated four strikeouts and 11 swinging strikes. That ties his career high, matching his 11 on July 22, also against the Rays. In that start, Beavan was fantastic. In this start, Beavan was five-sixths fantastic, and one-sixth literal torture. Parents use the threat of Beavan's third inning to make disobedient children eat their vegetables.
So Beavan was pretty good tonight, except for when he wasn't. That time when he wasn't colored the rest and no one's going to come away commending Blake Beavan on a job well done. But Beavan's still hanging out at two walks and 24 strikeouts over six starts since returning from Tacoma so he hasn't deviated from his course toward becoming possibly interesting down the road. We can still tell ourselves there might be something there.
I don't know what to tell you about the rest. I feel obligated to continue typing but it would work towards everyone's benefit if I didn't, probably. Brendan Ryan threw his bat again while swinging. Let it not be said that Brendan Ryan doesn't lead the league in a single offensive category. Jose Molina stole a base and even though Molina has stolen bases before and even though he stole a base on a broken hit-and-run, Jose Molina still stole a base against Jesus Montero and that might be reason enough to change Montero's position. Earlier, in the third inning, Molina began an at-bat by showing bunt, and I chuckled at the idea of Jose Molina fancying himself something of a speed demon. Maybe I'm the one who has a lesson to learn.
And of course, when you play the Rays, and they have Jose Molina behind the plate, you have to expect that he's going to work his Molina magic around the fringes of the strike zone. In the third inning, Chone Figgins was called out on a 2-and-2 changeup outside off the plate. He turned and stood with an expression of disbelief, clearly at loggerheads with the umpire, but if he were wise he'd ignore the umpire entirely and just yell at Molina for cheating. In the bottom of the ninth, John Jaso was called out on a 2-and-2 changeup way outside off the plate. It wasn't even within the normal range of lefty strikes. It was just a ball, plain as day, called a strike. Jaso tossed his bat and began jogging to first, assuming he'd walked. Sam Holbrook instructed him to turn around and go away. Obviously it wasn't a walking situation, as the count was 2-and-2, but catcher Jaso tried to get an extra pitch in his favor and catcher Molina tried to get a pitch in his favor, and Jose Molina won. Jose Molina always wins these things. I didn't used to know the word "legerdemain". I do now, and thanks to Jose Molina, I'll never forget it, although I'll sound like a complete idiot trying to say it in a sentence. Thank God I'm a writer on the Internet.
Rays 4, Mariners 1, 183 minutes. This was three hours and three minutes of getting pulled over and waiting for the police officer to get out of his car, and we were all charged a fine of one evening. A man's life contains only so many evenings.