The Mariners are Frustrating, I’d Like to Talk Some Tacoma Rainiers Also

So yesterday I had plans with a friend of mine to discuss a project I’d like to work on with him. That project with remain unmentioned right now, but you can rest assured that I’ll be announcing it on here when it comes to fruition.

We spent a huge chunk of the day drinking beer and brainstorming, but between venues I was able to catch the Mariners game on various TV screens. I saw the Mariners and their Rainiers jerseys, and I saw the Angels ghetto-ass, red-letter-A Dodgers jerseys they tried to pass off as throwbacks. I’m not a big fan of the “turn back the clock night” events. It’s not that I don’t appreciate baseball’s history, but if I want to see someone wearing a goofy loose-fitting jersey and an ugly ass hat I’ll just throw on the DVDs of World Series history that my girlfriend won’t let me watch.

But last night was by far the most contrived version of such a night I’ve ever seen. I mean the Rainiers thing… whatever. They were in Washington, and that’s something. They’re now affiliated with the Mariners. Like I said, whatever. But for the Angels to wear the jersey of an existing MLB team that isn’t them is silly. The Angels obsession with being considered an LA team was always funny. That they’ve extended such an obsession to the point where they are wearing another team’s jersey… Give me a break. I think the Mariners could have picked a better team pair such a night with.

On to the game though. On the heels of the news that Brandon League has been demoted from the closer role—at least for now—the team came out pretty well. Felix pitched well through five frames, but damn did things go south in the sixth. After a tough-luck infield single, a walk, and then a bunt single, Felix gave up a pinch-hit grand salami to Alberto Callaspo. I’m a fan of Alberto Callaspo’s save for last night, and I think he’s got underrated power and versatility. So as much as last night’s blast confirms my beliefs about him as a player, it also affirms my wishes that the Mariners would have claimed him when the Royals put him on waivers.

I don’t have anything bad to say about the defense of the Mariners answer to Callaspo though, as Kyle Seager made a web-gem-worthy play at one point, flipping a ball from his glove to first base on a rushed play. He’s a very good second baseman.

Justin Smoak hit a homerun for the second straight night, and this one was over 400 feet, which is big news. He has quietly snuck into the homerun lead for the Mariners, and after an absolutely disastrous March and April he’s boasting a .233/.267/.384 slash line in May (.151 ISO!) and a .261/.292/.652 slash line in the last seven days (.291 ISO!). Justin Smoak may not have found it, but he’s getting warmer.

The Mariners lost 5-3 last night, and I watched it in fragmented pieces. The reason for that, ultimately, is that I was going to the Tacoma Rainiers game later in the night, and was excited to get to see Vinnie Catricala, and was hoping I’d get to see Stephen Pryor. I also got to see Yasmani Grandal, a switch-hitting catcher traded to the Padres in the Mat Latos trade. I was a fan of that trade for the Padres and Grandal was the biggest reason, but I hadn’t seen his bat in person yet. The bat is real. The deal is good for the Padres, who also received Yonder Alonso and Edinson Volquez, who has out-produced Latos on results and peripherals himself.

So the quick report on Catricala: The fielding concerns are real. He made two really bad throws to first for throwing errors, albeit on tough plays, and made another that he was bailed out by first baseman Luis Jimenez on. His bat seems fine though, even though his ugly .209/.256/.291 slash line may not indicate that. He struck out swinging once, but the other three times up I tweeted these three things.

Then after spending the entire game trying to figure out what the hell Catricala’s walk up music I figured it out, which was the obvious jinx necessary to induce a strikeout.

I was a lucky man though. At the beginning of the game I was pretty upset that I’d be sitting in on my second Jeff Marquez start.

But I’d get to see Stephen Pryor, which was lucky for me, until his innings went like this:

I’m all about the demotion of Brandon League. I think it is a smart move. I don’t know that Pryor is the immediate replacement. And with all respect to Harrison Crow, I am still much higher on Carter Capps. Pryor has command issues, and AAA guys hit him hard five times in two innings. It’s the first time I’ve seen him in person, but I wasn’t as impressed as I was hoping to be.

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