I’m not sure if there were more runs in the Mariners victory tonight, or references by prominent local media members about how similar the score was to a football game. The Mariners won 21-8 in a game against the Rangers that Tony Romo threw out the first pitch. Apparently the Rangers don’t know the history between the Mariners and that douchebag. By the way, for those keeping score at home that score is likely either three touchdowns against a touchdown and two-point conversion, or three touchdowns against two field goals and a safety.
If I went through all of the players on the Mariners roster that had great games I’d pretty much be mentioning everyone. Well, except for Munenori Kawasaki and Mike Carp, who pinch hit for Mariners late in the game and didn’t get hits. Pffft. You guys suck.
Kyle Seager had four hits. Jesus Montero had three hits. Justin Fucking Smoak had three hits and two homeruns. Michael Saunders had three hits. A lot of Mariners hitters hit well. This was coming off another night when the Mariners hit well. One might say “the Mariners bats are heating up.” Another (me) might say, “let’s see what they do when the weather is cooler.” But I mean, 21 runs. What kind of dick would I have to be to spend a lot of time discrediting that.
Blake Beavan actually pitched much better than the five runs he allowed would indicate. Mariners outfielders were pretty bad today, with Alex Liddi playing a line drive to left like a third baseman would (turning his back, twice) and Chone Figgins missed a ball in the second inning that was totally bizarre. Adrian Beltre hit a ball that looked like it was gone. Adrian Beltre thought it was gone. Chone Figgins thought it was gone. Then all the sudden Figgins was busting in on the ball. The way it was played and where it landed resembled what happens when a ball hits the cat walk at Tropicana Field, or when a ball used to hit the speakers suspended from the ceiling at the Kingdome. It wouldn’t be Figgins only gaff in right field, but the next time it would be his fault. This time was just weird. I thought the ball hit a bird.
Justin Smoak came into today’s game with an ISO of .130. It’s not that infrequent that at the end of may we see a guy raise his batting average by quite a bit after a good night. But Justin Smoak raised his ISO by 35 points tonight. Justin Smoak is your team leader in homeruns with nine, and for all of you silly people that want to track every player’s “pace,” he’s on pace for about 28 homeruns. Justin Smoak has played really well lately, and may be the Mariners best hitter the last two weeks. The Ballpark at Arlington generally does a lot to make players’ bats heat up, but everyone has played in the same parks as Smoak has, and he’s been really good of late. I presently don’t have distances on Smoak’s homeruns, but the way the Mariners were scoring tonight it could be that official score keepers and those in charge of checking homerun distances are trying to catch up. Justin Smoak has a .165 ISO. Coming into tonight the league average for first baseman was .173. If Justin Smoak can become a league-average first baseman this year that will be a huge step.
There was a point in the game, when Chone Figgins had thoroughly butchered a play in right field, and the broadcast showed Ichiro in the dugout that I was pretty sure that some people who have a much bigger following than me would start confusion coincidence with correlation. Ichiro wasn’t in the game, and the Mariners scored a lot of runs. I’m not Ichiro’s biggest fan by any means but the notion that the Mariners are better off with Chone Figgins in the lineup and Ichiro not in the lineup is downright stupid.
But that wasn’t the only, and certainly not the best rosterbation that occurred:
I actually think there is some value here. John Jaso is a really good baseball player. Casper Wells is alright. Alex Liddi is less alright, Miguel Olivo is terrible, and Chone Figgins is terrible-er. Do they account for nine runs tonight? Probably not. Hell, they may go 0-15 combined and make this into a close game with their incompetency… today. And that’s a big maybe. But over the course of time we can be pretty confident that a Mariners team configured as such would score more runs, and likely allow less runs than a team configured the way tonight’s lineup was.
I’ve listened to a ton of sports talk radio lately, and it doesn’t seem to me that Eric Wedge gets destroyed as much on the radio as he does on the blogosphere. I think that may be a result of a very low baseball intelligence among our local prominent media. That’s not to say they are bad, there is some great coverage for college basketball and football, as well as the Seahawks. They just don’t know baseball very well. So when I hear Eric Wedge receiving “A or B” grades on shows in this area with nothing short of arbitrary criteria, it really displays a divide between local media and SABR nerds. For the record, this isn’t me calling anyone out. I have a lot of respect for almost all members of the local media, and pretty much everyone that does a live-local radio show about sports.
Yesterday I pointed something out about Kyle Seager:
Seager has done a lot to change that the past couple nights, but chances are Seagermania is over. He’s a good player, and a nice piece to have on any team. I think his future is probably in a utility role or a platoon at an infield spot—he’s done a lot of damage against lefties this year and his minor league numbers suggest he’ll regress considerably—but being the lefty in a platoon or a left-handed utility guy could mean 500 plate appearances per season. He could be what Chone Figgins was before Chone Figgins was a pariah.
There were about a billion really interesting and crazysuperfun baseball stats that got thrown out today. These kinds of games have a “first time this has happened since” or “the most they’ve had since” or “the team’s record in this category is” waiting around every turn. I found this particularly interesting though, after the Mariners chased both Derek Holland (sans ugly mustache) and Yoshinori Tateyama from the game after two innings of work (Tateyama pitched in the third) and 95 pitches, only to be relieved by former Mariner Mark Lowe:
The Mariners won. Their offense has been good for the last 11 innings. I’ve said before that it is my job to keep a level head when the Mariners are in the low part of a roller coaster season. It’s also my job to keep things in perspective when things are going well. But fuck all that, today was a really fun game to watch. I mean the Mariners trended on Twitter. In the history of Twitter I doubt the Mariners have trended a half-dozen times. The Mariners will be really good one day, and by one day I mean like a series of several days that stretch over several years, perhaps a couple years down the road. But they were really good today, too.
And for those of you chomping at the bit for this to happen…