I don’t really know what to think about the Branyan acquisition/trade. After seeing this tweet and having forgotten that it could be done, I’m trying not to get attached to the idea of Branyan in a Mariners uniform again. I was disappointed when he got traded, and I know he wasn’t too stoked about it either – or at least, I remember seeing a few sour grapes – but with his back problems, I figured it’d happen, and I wasn’t shocked. Today, I have to say I’m a little shocked. And the fact that Dave Cameron is confused is only more shocking/confusing. The too-little-too-late approach is very strange. Unless they truly believe that the season can be salvaged…but that would be…weird. Wouldn’t it?
Yesterday we had a nice win during a Doug Fister start. Brian Sweeney took his first throws dressed in Seattle colors, and did an excellent job in long relief. LONG relief. And with David Aardsma gone on family leave while he and his wife are waiting for their first child to be born (which, I understand, did happen today, so congratulations to the Aardsmas), Brandon League took care of business in the 9th. Both Sweeney and League protected a one-run lead for 5 innings. Not too shabby.
Jason Vargas was on the mound for us today. Vargas’ first trick was to give up a home run to Rickie Weeks on a second-pitch 88MPH fastball. The Brewers are nothing if not aggressive. They went after Vargas fiercely in the early innings, every swing a quickly-whipping follow through. Weeks got to Vargas again in the 3rd inning for a double, but his teammates just kept swinging at all of Vargas’ offerings, stranding him at second.
Russell Branyan showed up on camera in the dugout in the bottom of the 5th, dressed head to toe in Mariners away grays. Regardless of what the reasons for the trade were, I actually feel a little comforted by the sight. While I was marveling at that and fielding Twitter responses, Milwaukee got two more runs. Vargas was replaced in the bottom of the 6th by David Pauley, recently called up in exchange for poor Mike Sweeney, who is on the DL once again. Pauley gave up a ground rule double off the left field foul pole on a 2-2 pitch to Jonathan Lucroy, struck out Carlos Gomez, and intentionally walked Alcides Escobar to face pitcher Chris Narveson after a brief mound conference. Narveson flew out to Ichiro, ending whatever threat Milwaukee might have continued to have.
Narveson remained in the game in the 7th inning, and took care of our order in quick time. Rickie Weeks resumed his pelting of our pitching in the bottom of the 7th, smacking a single off Pauley on a 0-1 pitch. Once Corey Hart was walked and Prince Fielder was at the plate, a call was made to the bullpen for…Sean White. Can’t win ’em all, and we weren’t going to win this one. Fielder struck out swinging, and then Ryan Braun hit a sacrifice grounder, runners advanced. Casey McGehee was intentionally walked so that Pauley could face Jonathan Lucroy, which I initially thought was a bad idea, but it worked well for Pauley. Lucroy popped up near second, and the ball was caught by Jack Wilson, staring into the sun with Chone Figgins right behind him. Near-collision, and Wilson looked slightly annoyed, but his mission was accomplished.
In the 8th inning, Jack Wilson managed to squeak out a double on a throwing error, but it was all for naught. Our half of the 9th inning went pretty much the same way against pitcher John Axford, and we lost, shutout 3-0. I have to say for what it’s worth, that White’s presence didn’t make things worse, so that’s a positive, right? Hello?
Tomorrow is a day off before Felix and Cliff Lee take on the New York Yankees in Yankee stadium. I will be getting up at 6am to meet a friend at the Kangaroo and Kiwi on Aurora to watch some World Cup soccer. Right now it seems like a good idea, but I’m willing to bet that when my alarm goes off tomorrow, I’ll be wondering what the hell I was thinking. I have another week off from school, and then the most grueling term yet, with an externship in Mountlake Terrace and likely some rushing to get to evening games in the month of July. Also, this next Saturday I go to batting practice and hang out in the booth at an AquaSox game with Pat Dillon from Aquasox Radio, NorthSound 1380 on the AM dial. I think it’s going to be a good week.