One of the things I love about baseball is how easily misery spreads. Those of you whose eye twitches involuntarily at reading the words "Stan Gelbaugh" understand this: when a football team is miserable, it's miserable in every fashion and facet of the game. When a basketball team is overmatched, the results are similarly predictable, as one team forces its will upon the other with ease. Not baseball. The 2003 Tigers, at 1-17, beat Cy Young-winner Barry Zito. The 2013 Houston Astros beat James Shields. The 1899 Cleveland Spiders, having played 55 of their previous 62 games on the road and enjoying a 23-game losing streak, beat the White Sox. Okay, the White Sox were 49-81. The Cleveland Spiders were pretty bad.
The Mariners aren't as bad as the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, or maybe even the 2013 San Diego Padres. But for more than a week, it sure felt like it. Those eight games mixed the worst combination of blowouts and walkoffs, making it seem as though both talent and fortune had abandoned them. This weekend, they've taken back one of each. They've given us new players to learn, with new potentialities. Baseball feels like baseball again, and less like Julius Jones.
Unusually scattered bullet points:
- We have to begin with Aaron Harang. Harang's ERA and FIP this morning stood at 8.58 and 5.57, respectively. They're now 6.51 and 4.70. Remove the obscene 17.0% HR/FB rate, almost double a career rate mostly spent at Great America Ballpark, and you have a pretty somewhat acceptable pitcher on your hands. Keep telling yourself that, over and over. Save it for the dark times.
- While on the topic, I'd estimate that at least 80% of the dissatisfaction directed toward Mr. Harang is the resposisibility of that wretched strip of hair beneath his lips. The reason he allows it to lay there, affixed as if by carpenter glue, is because his chin and neck have actually merged like some hellish facial version of Czechoslovakia.
- Jason Bay, at 0.7 WAR, has matched the 0.7 WAR he accumulated in all three seasons as a New York Met. That has nothing to do with today, but it's fun to type.
- Jason Bay is so Canadian that instead of a bat flip, he simply sets the bat down on the ground gently.
- The Mariners have six lead-off home runs in 2013, over the span of 49 games, with Jason Bay providing the accomplishment today. The team had five in all of 2012.
- The Mariners have a batter above the .300 mark, as Kendrys Morales used three hits to move himself up to .301/.375/.484 on the season.
- Endy Chavez is also batting over .300, and also making catches like the one below. Both those facts really point to the capriciousness of fate.
- When people ask the Padres about the 9-0 game tonight at home, they're going to look downward and away, pause for a moment, and grumble, "Forfeit." Each and every one of them.
Now go, reader. I discharge you from your service of Mariner fandom for the rest of the day. Go buy your groceries, sweep your floors, update your podcasts on your mp3 player. The Mariners are fine for at least the rest of the day.