Summarizing things is really, really hard. The most challenging part of writing any analysis article is always the last paragraph. For the first three hundred or so words it's easy to go stream-of-consciousness, and the middle of an article is always just pictures followed by descriptions of the pictures, but the end has to neatly summarize everything in just a few sentences. It's difficult to express a really complex thought in concise terms, so a lot of the time I wind up spending as much effort on the last three sentences of a piece as on the first thirty.
Which is why, all things considered, tonight's Mariners game was really quite impressive. In just three hours, the Mariners managed to capture the essence of their 2013 season and put it on display for every fan in the house. It was the perfect summary. There was:
1) A starting pitcher getting knocked around by an offense with a heavy platoon advantage
2) Zero offensive production from the corner outfielders
3) A useless second baseman
4) Justin Smoak walking once and striking out once
5) Michael Morse striking out twice
6) A solo home run
7) Kyle Seager being the best hitter on the team
8) Pretty terrible outfield defense
9) Surprisingly not all that terrible catcher defense, despite the catcher being an old backup
10) Oliver Perez being better than everyone expected
and, most of all, 11) humiliating defeat.
I mean, honestly. They couldn't have possibly summed up the season any better than this. And now that they've done it, I find myself facing an existential question: what is even the point of watching these games any more? I've already seen them all. The Mariners played them all tonight. Everything the 2013 Seattle baseball squad has to offer was out there on the field on August 26, 2013, and now that it's all played out before us, isn't it better to save ourselves the effort of watching the rest of the season and pack it in now?
Hey! That's right! There are other things that I could do with my life! I could go outside, and make new friends, and read interesting books! I could learn to cook, or I could start to work out and put on some actual upper body muscle, or I could don a mask and fight crime in the streets... I could do anything! I'm free! I'm -
Aw, dammit. I'm a Mariners fan.
Midway through the game, just after Kyle Seager's home run, I clicked over to Lone Star Ball (SBN's resident Rangers blog) to see how they'd reacted to our star third baseman's latest offensive exploit. I was not disappointed. I don't know if I'm ever going to get tired of having a hitter that the fans of another team fear and loathe, but it's certainly not happening any time soon.
- Oliver Perez returned to the late innings tonight, and even though it was a meaningless late inning he acquitted himself admirably, striking out two and allowing no baserunners. The commentators mentioned that he'd been better since receiving some rest recently after an earlier velocity decline due to overuse; when I get around to writing the reliever profile series (very soon!) I'll take a good look at Perez to see if that's actually true.
- At the beginning of the season, when Fangraphs' defensive metrics were jumping on Franklin Gutierrez for his play in CF, I didn't think that there was any merit to them. Now I'm not so sure. He's really looking slower lately, and he muffed a couple of catches that he usually gets easily (see: the cover picture in the chart). Factor in the fact that he's been struggling with arthritis-like issues in his legs, and it all starts to add up to maybe even a healthy Guti isn't all that great any more.
- Nick Franklin was moved up to the leadoff spot today. I'm guessing it was because he can switch hit and opposing starter Blackley has big platoon splits. It didn't work. At all. I'm not terribly concerned about Franklin long-term, though I'm not sure his future is within the Mariners organization, but remember when he got called up and people said maybe his giant minor league platoon splits had gone away? Yeah, no. Noooooo.
- Michael Saunders is still out with a stiff neck, which (depending on how annoyed you were at his recent time spent on the bench) may have you feeling pretty silly. Remember, folks: lineup decisions that seem really stupid are almost always based on factors you don't know about! Stop complaining about lineups!
Tomorrow: another day, another game. Hopefully it's a little less summary than this one.