Mariners sail over hibernating Cubs

Yes, it took me all of 10 seconds to come up with that one…

I am currently giddy over my reunion with my laptop. Thankfully, it was only the keyboard that needed replacement, and nothing more serious than that. The good folks at Seattle Laptop Repair do a fine job. I also have a friend who works there, which turns out to be quite handy. I debated earlier today going down to Tacoma to see the Rainiers double-header, but time got away from me, so watching a game on TV made much more sense. Though I understand Ian Snell pitched quite a game. Good for him. Maybe the AAA-“AAAA” thing is where he excels. If so, maybe he can help take Tacoma to the PCL again. Believe Big, right?

The FSN pre-game show today was all over and about Lou Piniella. In fact, that’s all they’ve been able to talk about on 710 ESPN today, too. I’ve only been able to see the angry tornado that is Piniella via replay, but I understand from even some of my non-baseball-loving friends that it’s quite a treat. Carlos Silva also got moved back in Chicago’s rotation. Maybe it’s just the skeptic in me that saw Manny Ramirez claim various 24-hour injuries to avoid having to face Felix Hernandez, but how convenient for Silva that he can get out of playing on Seattle soil. Chone Figgins was scratched from today’s lineup with tummy troubles of some sort (a visit to the dentist was later cited over the TV broadcast), so Josh Wilson was moved to second, and Jack Wilson brought up to cover his usual spot at short.

Franklin Gutierrez got us on the board early in the second inning, with Jose Lopez on base. In the bottom of the third when Milton Bradley came to the plate for the second time, the Cubs fans in attendance took the opportunity to boo him, as expected (still, get over it already). Ryan Dempster rewarded their loyalty by walking Bradley, which advanced single-hitting Josh Wilson. All for naught, however, as Lopez flew out to center field to end the third.

In the top of the fourth with two out, Jason Vargas faced Geovany Soto and the 5th pitch he threw was called a strike by the ump, but not before Soto thought he had just gotten a free pass on ball four. Vargas then struck him out looking. In the 5th, Tyler Colvin shanked one out to shallow left center with Alfonso Soriano on second. Soriano severely underestimated the legs of Michael Saunders and ran to touch third, while the ball settled neatly in Saunders’ glove, outing both runners. I waited for Piniella to lose it, but I was denied. In the bottom of that inning, Ichiro would make it to base safely after an attempted throwout from short that first baseman Derek Lee, in the words of Dave Sims “tried to sell” to the umpire was an out. Josh Wilson was Dempster’s last victim for that inning, called out on strikes.

The Cubbies mounted a threat in the top of the 7th with two out and two at the corners. Vargas got a talking-to by Rick Adair and Eliezer Alfonzo before facing Tyler Colvin again. Vargas was a little slower and more deliberate with Colvin this time, amd manage to get the Cub to hit a hopper to Mike Carp at first, who dove, caught it, and tossed it to Vargas as he ran over to cover the bag. Seattle breathed a collective sigh of relief. Mike Carp made a single on an error by shortstop Starlin Castro, followed by a single over the first base gap by Eliezer Alfonzo. Jack Wilson struck out swinging, and Michael Saunders struck out swinging on just three pitches, the last of which was down right over the plate. Ichiro’s hit went straight to third baseman Jeff Baker, where Mike Carp was out to end it.

Jason Vargas was sweet like kittens through 7 innings tonight, striking out 7 batters on 94 pitches. He was replaced in the 8th by Brandon League, who has been occasionally known to give me high blood pressure. Tonight was no exception. He walked Starlin Castro, then gave up a single to Ryan Theriot. As there was a coaching visit to the mound, FSN showed Garrett Olson warming up in the pen. I love Garrett Olson, I do – but he terrifies me. Byrd hit into a double play at first and second, but advanced runner Castro to third. League threw two pitches to Chad Tracy, the second of which he sent out to center field and Franklin Gutierrez for the final out.

David Aardsma was brought in to close it out. Derrek Lee flew out to right field in what nearly became a collision between Ichiro and Josh Wilson. It looked like Ichiro was admonishing the younger player a little, but they both turned around and got right back to business. Xavier Nady grounded out, leaving Aardmsa to deal to Geovany Soto. Vargas watched from the bar, spitting sunflower hulls and looking nonplussed as Aardsma got behind Soto and then walked him. I really hate that Aardsma has not been instilling the same amount of confidence among fans that he did last year. I’m trying to just chalk it up to a rough start for everyone. We’ve still got the other half of the season, and I am hoping that this feeling of dread that surrounds him for me goes away soon.  Alfonso Soriano hit a single that sent Soto to third. Tyler Colvin was next up and did a bit of nail-biting battle with The DA before finally, wonderfully, striking out swinging.

Have I mentioned how overjoyed I am to have my laptop back?

Tomorrow is, as everyone seems to be calling it lately, Merry Cliff-mas. Cliff Lee vs Randy Wells. If Vargas can do it, Cliff Lee certainly can. Hopefully our offense shows up a bit more. I’ve heard murmurings here and there from fans over the last few years about how the Ms should be a National League team. The past few games – though not exemplary – certainly sort of make a case for that. I love the AL, though; wouldn’t have it any other way.

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