The facts are these:
- Cliff Lee, one of the best pitchers in baseball, is a Seattle Mariner.
- Last night, he made his first start against the Texas Rangers after coming off the disabled list.
- He posted a no-hitter for 3 innings and change, and managed to keep the Rangers from scoring any runs whatsoever through 7 amazing, solid innings.
- He threw 98 pitches.
- The game remained 0-0 until the 12th inning, when Texas obtained two runs, and there was nothing our offense could do to match it.
- Ichiro Suzuki was caught stealing home in what could have been our (what would they call it? A walkoff steal?) big moment to end the game, but he was easily – easily – thrown out.
- The Rangers scored one of their runs on a wild pitch by Brandon League.
- I hate wild pitches.*
I want to be excited about baseball, but the Seattle Mariners are making it really really, hard. Is there anything – anything – more frustrating than watching your-now-other-ace pitch a stellar game, only to have bad relief pitching, bad batting, and bad baserunning mess it up at the last minute? I submit to you that there is not. I haven’t been a Mariners fan long enough to remember or know a time when there were two aces on this team. Now that we have two, shouldn’t it be time to honor that by either using the players we have in a more effective manner, or figuring out where the problems lie and fixing them before this gets any worse? The AL West race is starting the year our closer than any other, and as we head into May, we need to start putting some distance between ourselves and our three area foes. Have to. This is supposed to be our year, but we’re acting like we’ll settle for a winning season. I’m tired of settling.
And don’t even get me started on what was done to the bullpen yesterday in order to make room for Lee. As everyone knows by now, Shawn Kelly, arguably one of our better arms, was sent to Tacoma because he still had options. Yet Jesus Colome, a guy I keep forgetting actually exists, keeps his job of, well, sitting in the bullpen. Because he certainly hasn’t seen a lot of hill time so far this year. As Jeff Sullivan notes, the organization must love Colome, but to the rest of us on the outside, the love seems irrational and unjustified. I listened to a little pre-game show yesterday, and our local press talked to both Jack Zduriencik and Don Wakamatsu about the move, but nobody bothered to ask why Jesus Colome is so important that we can’t keep Kelley. I’d like to know, and I don’t think I’m alone.
In order to keep my sanity, I have to believe that this team’s management knows what it’s doing, and that the way our players are used, the fact that our bench is atrocious, and the things that have been happening lately during games are all part of some grand design that will become apparent eventually. I do believe in this team. I may not Believe Big (mine is currently more a large or medium belief, rather than XXL), but I do still believe. Whether my belief will be rewarded and legitimate is a matter to be seen. I’ll start the Super Panic toward the end of June, I guess.
Happy Felix Day, everyone.
*Subject to change, based on what team is throwing them.