For the past couple of weeks Mikey has been handling a huge chunk of the game recaps, which is good for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve been facing some writer’s block in general and he’s doing a great job making me look bad in my absence, but also because the Mariners have been doing what they have been doing all season, which is playing inconsistently, and I’ve gotten tired of saying “I told you so.” This season was slated as another year geared toward development. Patience is virtue, but it’s a virtue because it’s really hard to execute.
Some of the Mariners players have been really good lately, others have been really bad. I’m not going to keep re-writing that in a different way, so at some point something will have to give.
One guy that has been very impressive though, is Erasmo Ramirez. I’ve been about as bullish a non-believer as exists on Ramirez, but he’s done nothing but prove me wrong. He’s generating 9.5 percent swinging strikes, but in his last two starts (including his early departure the other day) he’s missed 23 bats in 145 pitches. He’s throwing upwards of 95 miles per hour and has a devastating changeup which has generated 44.4 percent swinging strikes in the 36 times he’s thrown it in his past two starts.
Vargas was pretty good today too, and also had a really good changeup. In the top of the sixth inning he threw Will Middlebrooks—who has been absolutely raking since being called up—four straight changeups, striking him out. Middlebrooks took the first one for a strike, swung through the second, took the third for a ball, and swung through the fourth. He’d get really pissed off at himself after that and cause my girlfriend to call him a little baby, but apart from the homerun Dustin Pedroia hit off Vargas in the eighth inning, that’s the collective feeling I believe that most Red Sox players had today.
Vargas has had two really good starts since his demolition in Arizona, but neither have led to wins for him, and the Mariners lost today 2-1. Part of that has to do with the Mariners apparent inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Some of that can be directly attributed to their struggles hitting in general, and especially the offense-dampening effects of Safeco Field. Some people tend to believe that “clutch” is a tangible skill instead. My dad is one of those guys, and this weekend was his birthday so he spent two evenings drinking beer and watching baseball with me. Today wasn’t one of those days, but last night we spent enormous amounts of time shooting sarcastic epithets at each other in hopes of breaking the other’s spirit. We were equally unfazed by eachother, and continued our battle via text message through extra innings last night. As I write this I’m formulating my next jab to his ribs.
What isn’t news, though, is that Brandon League has really sucked balls lately. He gave up two hits and a run today in one-third of an inning. He gave up a run in an inning of work yesterday. He’s the reason why the Mariners have had to play two straight extra inning games. He’s one of the reasons they lost today. Brandon League has basically no value to the Mariners. I think they should trade him for an equally depressed asset, but I’ll keep that post in the hopper until I figure out exactly how I’d like to approach it.