Today, the Mariners played a game of baseball against the Boston Red Sox and they lost. The game was at Fenway Park, and the Mariners wore their blue uniforms that look kind of funny because they have numbers on the front, and they also seem more like t-shirts than any of their other uniforms for some reason. I don't know if its the material, the color, or the way they sit on each player, but this has always confused me a bit. The game also started at 4:00, which might have seemed strange at first. But, lo and behold, the game was being played in Boston, on the East Coast. See, it actually started at 7PM local time. Wow! That definitely makes more sense.
Hm, what else happened tonight. Let me see. Oh! Did you know that Fenway Park is the oldest park still being used in the major leagues? It's super old and famous and stuff. So when you watch Red Sox baseball games on TV, the cameras sit really low, because the stadium wasn't built with the television age in mind. If a runner is on second, you can usually see their little head bobbing up in the bottom of the corner underneath the pitcher, caught in the telephoto lens of the camera sitting near ground level. I wonder if someone has ever turned around 180 degrees and made a funny face back at the TV broadcast. Ha! Boy, that would be wild.
Okay, lets see...um...Oh, yeah. Today's game had an official attendance of 34,578, just below Fenway's 37,400 seat capacity. Funny story, earlier in the year, the Red Sox announced that their record of 820 consecutive sell-out games ended, and pretty much everybody knew that they had been fibbing with the numbers a little bit--'donating' unsold seats, and counting tickets sold to secondary market sellers. Heh. Sure is an interesting factoid. I mean, they didn't do it tonight, cause they still had a lot of people. But pretty darn fascinating none the less!
Alright, okay. Um...well...dammit. I think I have to talk about the game now. I'm out of options. I really didn't want to have to do this, but here we go:
The Seattle Mariners lost tonight's game and it was pretty awful. Not sink-the-ship-and-head-into-the-trade-deadline-ablaze awful, but ugh-another-one-of-these? awful. Joe Saunders got beat up really bad by a Red Sox club that is 2nd in runs scored, 2nd in hits, 1st in doubles, tied for 2nd in triples, 3rd in team average and alright you get my point. Saunders was notably upset after the game, abstractly calling out either home plate umpire Chris Conroy or even the Mariners' own defense, which made a series of head-scratching plays throughout the game. Two by Brad Miller, whom I still love and want to pretend didn't do things like this tonight. The infield is also made up of 14 year olds, so it shouldn't be that shocking, but they have been playing baseball for the entirety of their adult and teenage lives, so maybe today could be a nice lesson in what not to do going forward. Yeah. Lets go with that one, and not look at the team's dwindling defensive numbers as of late.
But whether or not Saunders and the Mariners got bad calls or botched plays, they still gave up 11 hits and 8 runs. I didn't get to see the whole game to have any sort of visual analysis of the strike zone, but check this out:
Okay. First off, there are obviously a couple gimmes in these two images, as there are in any strike zone map from any game ever played. But these are probably the cleanest strike zones I have seen in a long time. Even the lefty zone has seven balls that 4/5 other umpires would call strikes. Home plate umpire Chris Conroy has been a full-time MLB umpire for only a month and a half. Joe Saunders was upset he was not getting calls, presumably in a rough start that saw him giving up 2 runs in the first, 3 runs in the second, and one again in the 4th. He probably felt like he had nothing to work with. He probably felt stuck in the middle of a shitty situation. But I wonder--was he upset at Conroy's zone? Or was he upset at how Conroy was calling the game?
I don't know, and you honestly can't even blame Saunders. He is a much better pitcher than the Joe Saunders that trotted out to the mound today. He still got 5 strikeouts. He managed to sneak an xFIP of 2.48 off for the day by generating 61% of his hits as ground balls. Those are fundamentals. Unfortunately, The Red Sox are hitters, and their fundamentals don't seem to have opposing pitchers in mind. Also, I just wanted to point this out because it makes me feel better about all of this:
Just keep looking at this if you feel bad.
Today's game was a bit of a bummer, but it wasn't all bad. Nick Franklin hit a double in the top of the first and was driven in by a Kendrys Morales RBI single. Then, in usual garbage time tomfoolery, the Mariners put together a little "run" in the top of the 9th following a 2-out Justin Smoak single, a Michael Saunders walk, and a Henry Blanco RBI single that bounced off the green monster. Single. Off the green monster. Henry Blanco. Well, I guess it's not that big of a deal because...
...there was an exciting play at the top of the second, where Jose Iglesias seared a line drive into centerfield off the very same wall, trying to stretch it to second, only to meet a surprisingly well played Raul Ibanez throw. Iglesias dove head first into the ground, somehow missing Nick Franklin's tag and the base, jumped up, rolled backwards, and headed for first base. Nick Franklin had never seen this before. Neither had Dave Sims or Mike Blowers, apparently. Or anyone else for that matter, because while Iglesias was running back to first, and the Mariners managed to snag him in a rundown and eventually tag him out, everyone watching the game said nothing for about five minutes. You can see it here. It's pretty cool. Oh, yeah, and two hours later the Red Sox traded Iglesias to the Tigers. These two events are not related, but wouldn't it be fun if we pretended they were?
In other news, Michael Morse came back from his stint on the DL, still as beastly as ever. Well, sorta. He struck out three times and hit a weak groundout in the top of the 9th. Michael Morse can hit home runs a lot, and is a very good baseball player, generally speaking. But here's the thing. Sometimes, I go to the store to buy some beer and I'm in the mood for something a little different. I've had enough of all the Deschutes regulars, and living in Portland, Widmer runs through my tap in the kitchen. So I come back with something I've never tried that sounds somewhat interesting, only to pop the first one open and realize that it's pretty meh.
Well, great. I spent eight-nine dollars on a beer I'm probably not even going to drink. In fact, I might cut my losses and just buy something cheaper the next day, pushing the beer I don't really like back in the fridge, hidden by leftover containers and bags of celery. But inevitably, a week later, it's 9:30 PM, I want more beer, and I don't feel like going to the store. So I dig back into my fridge, immediately eying the beer I had been quite underwhelmed with, and realize that beer is beer and what the hell. I take one swig, and instantly remember why it had been sitting in my fridge. I keep drinking. This is a story about Michael Morse.