On my way home from Hell school this evening, I heard Rick Rizzs interviewing JJ Putz. I know Putz has inflamed a lot of Mariners fans with whatever his comments may have been about Ichiro after the 2008 season, but he is still and will always be my favorite. I can disagree with the words and methods a player uses and still hold that player dear. I bet Garrett Olson likes the Dave Matthews Band. The Dave Matthews Band is usually a dealbreaker for me, and yet I do like Garrett Olson. I guess we all pick and choose our battles. For what it’s worth, Putz gave Ichiro some props by calling him a “terror on the base paths” while comparing him to Chicago’s left fielder Juan Pierre. I’d like to chalk up his words in 2008 to, well, 2008. Nobody on or off the team could have been happy then. Not that things have improved, but this team feels more likable to me; we’re still losing, but names like Silva, Batista, Vidro, Wilkerson, Sexson…those are long gone.
David Pauley did a pretty decent job as our starter today, until the top of the 5th when he threw a 2-1 slider to Alex Rios with Omar Visquel on base, and Rios sent it over the left field wall. Up until that point, the score had been a nice cozy tie at 1. I can’t really say it hurts at this point. We had opportunities during that first part of the game, and a lot of those were squandered, so it’s mostly par for the course. I’m not going to shed any tears. Pauley was a satisfactory rotation guy, though, for us. It’s a shame the bats are so silent this year. Isn’t the first time I’ve said it, likely won’t be the last.
Russell Branyan left the game around the 6th inning with back stiffness. I love Branyan, and it’s been nice to see him in a Mariners uniform again, but I wonder how many of the same people who were rejoicing so much at his return will now be playing “I told you so” in regards to his fragility? Judging from the hype a few weeks ago (I’m speaking mainly about local radio), it seemed like a lot of people thought he was going to save our year single-handedly: we never should have let him go, they should have signed him in the offseason and kept the two young prospects they gave to Cleveland to get him back, etc., etc., blah blah blah. I’m willing to bet that tomorrow’s radio shows see a surge of armchair experts all talking about how we should have known better. Thankfully, I can’t listen to the radio during the day, so I’ll maintain my sanity.
Jamey Wright threw his first game on Seattle soil this evening, replacing David Pauley in the top of the 7th inning. Wright allowed a run in that inning, and gave up a home run to Andruw Jones in the 8th on what Mike Blowers referred to as a “hanging breaking ball” that was traced to the middle outside of the strike zone. Gordon Beckham hit a fastball thrown down the middle to score Alexei Ramirez, before Wright was able to get Juan Pierre to ground out to second.
Garrett Olson came into the 9th while Scott Linebrink warmed up the in the pen, the Sox apparently having decided against using JJ tonight, likely for strategic reasons. Around this time, I decided to check the standings, the first time I’ve done so this year. Turns out it was a bad idea; none of my teams are doing anything worth a damn this year; Ms, Orioles and Diamondbacks are all in the basement of their respective territories. The Phillies, my last fallback because of ex-Mariner content (and because I’ve become so familiar with them over the past few years) are at least third in the AL East, but it’s of little comfort because they’re not really “mine”.
And while I was writing that, we lost to the Chicago White Sox, 6-1. It doesn’t even sting anymore, not even a little.
Tomorrow is another Doug Fister start, according to mariners.com. Is it just me, or does it seem too soon already? It’s also Dave Sims Hat Night, which I originally had plans to attend, but finances prevent me from it. I can only hope there is a repeat performance next year. My fuzzy kitty hat needs to be seen in the public! On a hot day in July!
This pretty much sums up this season: