It’s been a bad week for baseball, and an even worse week for me to be paying attention to baseball. The Mariners got Sox’d in Chicago, and have been working on another sound beating in Detroit, with a shelling of both Doug Fister and Michael Pinda (8-1?! Ugh), some terrible base running and defense by Chone Figgins, and an Ichiro benching. It has felt at times as if the Ms are swiftly sinking back under the waves of .500, and it’s been painful to watch, listen, or hear about for me. I’ve been feeling this week like I can’t write in this space without sounding like I am really angry or have completely given up hope. I’m not and I haven’t, but I’ve been keeping my posts in check because I don’t want to say something out of frustration that I might regret later or don’t really mean. I guess the small amount of solace that I might be able to take away from this road trip is that our pitching kept Miguel Cabrera quiet, for the most part. But if there’s not a ‘W’ behind it, it still feels a little hollow.
Today when the Mariners managed to get a few men on against Rick Porcello, I had a little bit of hope – but then Carlos Peguero swung at a ball in the dirt, and the Mariners half of the first inning was over. And lo, I was bummed. Rick Rizzs claimed on the radio that dirt balls are how Porcello rolls. How do the players facing him not know that? I spent the next few innings listening on the radio while I ran errands for a friend, but on the way back home, the Mariners started giving Felix Hernandez some run support, with three runs all in the 5th inning for a 3-2 score. After Miguel Olivo homered, the Mariners small-balled their way into two more runs to put themselves on top. Figgins stole a base, even!
The Tigers continued pecking at Felix’s pitches in the bottom of the 7th inning, but not enough to rack up a run, and in the top of the 8th, Rick Porcello was replaced by hirsute lefty Daniel Schlereth (that’s not a slam, incidentally, the man is just hairy). After allowing one on and getting one out, Schlereth was replaced by Joaquin Benoit to face Miguel Olivo. The strategy didn’t work, however, and Olivo hit another home run over to left field, giving the Mariners a little more space to work with. The crowd voiced their disapproval, and I felt a little more comfortable. Benoit then gave a walk to Franklin Gutierrez, to a chorus of more boos. Gutz went for a steal of second, but was gunned down on his slide. Chone Figgins made Benoit work a little bit, but wound up striking out in the end. I can’t even feign surprise or anger anymore with that one. Figgins is what he is. There is no point in being angry, because fan anger isn’t going to make him better, it’s just going to stress me out, and that’s pointless, too.
Felix remained in the 8th, likely determined to keep his lead out of the hands of the bullpen, who haven’t seemed terribly solid lately. He gave up one run to keep a two-run lead for his team, before managing to end the side. In the top of the 9th, Adam Wilk came in for the Tigers, getting Jack Wilson to fly out and giving Ichiro his second hit of the day. With two out, however, a Wilk changeup right down the middle allowed Justin Smoak to hit a home run to left center, upping the score to 7-3 in the Mariners favor. Detroit fans manifested their inner Seattle by getting up and leaving the stadium in droves.
Felix either felt OK about coming out of the game, or Eric Wedge thought that some 126 pitches was enough, because Brandon League hit the hill in the bottom of the 9th, facial hair free, and rocking his double-aught plugs. League took the inning away from the Tigers easily – it was over almost before it started. Finally, a win for the Seattle Mariners.
I am pleased with this one win, and we are 34-32 and coming home to a series against a somewhat-less-than Angels team (and a Dan Haren start, which is thrilling for yours truly). The Mariners are still treading water, but at least I can go about the rest of my day with a sense of all being good in the universe. I don’t know how to explain it, but there is definitely a feeling of being “OK” after a road trip like this and a win like today’s. Not that I’d be spending the day crushed out of my mind or anything, but there is most certainly a sensation of well-being and happiness that comes from something like this. Like resolution, I guess.Fin.
Looking forward this week to the games being later in the day again, and of a degree of “normalcy” about the west coast schedule. I also just realized this morning that I will be able to sit above Raul Ibanez on Friday’s contest against Philadelphia, and while I am not really looking forward to hearing drunk people around me bash him (because I’m already well aware it’s going to happen), I’m just glad to see the Phillies here.
EDIT; yeah, totally a bad week for me to be paying attention. I was unaware that the game on Friday was a win. I’m blaming my work schedule and lack of reading comprehension over the fact that the Tigers was a four-game series. My very, very bad.