Oddly, the past two games against the Texas Rangers have actually been wins. Last night, Jose Lopez wound up jamming his finger while attempting to catch a bounced hit. He will be out for the rest of the season, and, some hope, off the Mariners roster after this year. I have mixed feelings about this. Lopez has certainly done alright in the past, and his defensive behavior at third has been far better than I initially thought it would be when the move was made. But offensively he’s a liability, handful of home runs or no (and I do mean handful). A quick look at his basic numbers on FanGraphs shows that all his simple offensive metrics (I’m referring to HR/RBI/H, stuff like that) have gone down from last year, some by nearly 50%. I like Lopez in general, but I think his time here in Seattle needs to be at an end. You don’t win championships with players that fans think might be nice guys or hard workers. Well, unless you’re the Phillies (I’m still a Raul Ibanez fan).
Justin Smoak has now managed to hit three home runs over the course of all three games. All three were aggressively fought for by Rangers fans, and all three were fighting for the privilege of tossing the ball back onto the grass. Today’s throw-back was an especially angry one, nabbed by a guy who was running so fast to get it, I thought at first he might be getting chased by security. I realize that perhaps Cliff Lee has not been as spot-on as he was when he was here down in Texas, and Justin Smoak might have been viewed by Rangers fans as a key piece of their future, but the Rangers have already sealed up the AL West, and after having that spot pillaged by the Angels on so many occasions, you’d think they’d lighten up a little. It’s a game. It’s not like Smoak called your mother a whore. Plus, you could have had a home run ball hit by Justin Smoak! Might come in handy some day. I suppose my own personal priorities are different. I think I would keep any HR ball I managed to get my paws on, regardless of how much I disliked the player or situation by which I obtained it. If I am risking personal safety to catch a projectile, I’m keeping the projectile in question. End of story.
Today’s game was not a win, even though I felt absolutely sure that we would take it. I watched up until about the 6th inning or so, but it appears that Garrett Olson, Jamey Wright, and shiny new toy Dan Cortes conspired against us after that, and gave up the winning hits to the Rangers in a one-run game. Oh well.
We have four more games left, so the guys might as well come home, deal with Oakland over the weekend, and be done with it. It’s not that I necessarily want the season to be over, I guess I would just feel more comfortable if I didn’t have to worry anymore. Once this season is over, I can watch games that don’t really matter to me and will therefore actually be more fun to watch as a fan of the game, rather than waxing and waning with a team I care about. I just need a break. I will likely eat those words in about two months, but for now, I’m just tired. I plan to fill the offseason with football and hockey, in that order, along with catching up on my baseball movie watching, when the pain of missing baseball itself becomes too much to bear.
With the obtaining of another set of tickets from a friend, this weekend will be spent in one last hurrah at the ballpark – I’ll be at all three games, Friday through Sunday, and for Friday’s game I’m going to be – awesomely enough – sitting in Section 331! It feels like forever since I’ve been back to my first home in the stadium. It will be a nice way to send off the 2010 Seattle Mariners.