Yesterday, my wife and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Ocean Shores. The weather was nice, the timing was right: so why not? The drive was good, and the weather at Ocean Shores was, well, Ocean Shores weather. After a while of enjoying the sun on the beach, we decided to venture into the town for lunch. We ate at Home Port, and it was surprisingly good. It was heralded as having the best clam chowder in Washington. I think the jury is still out on that.
After lunch, we headed back towards the beach. Overhead, however, a dark gathering of clouds followed us towards our destination. That was kind of a bummer. Out of nowhere, clouds. To rain on our parade. Ahead, we saw a line of cars leaving the beach. Everyone had packed up and decided to call it a day. The clouds are coming! they probably said. We decided to head towards the beach anyways.
Within minutes, the clouds were gone. It was as if, by some miracle, the beach Gods had our favor. The sand was warm again, the weather was pleasant. The beach, devoid of as many people as there were before. Out of nowhere, our impromptu trip decided to trick us. But we looked past it’s deception. We stood fast, and were rewarded with the warmth of the sun.
The Mariners offense is a cloud. A cloud that comes and goes as it pleases.
Jason Vargas looked remarkably like Jason Vargas today. His stuff was looking Vargas-y, and his location overall wasn’t bad. It’s just that, akin to the skill-set of the “crafty lefty”, location is everything. He has to live and die on the black, because if he doesn’t, he gets shelled. That’s what happened today. Two homeruns accounted for seven of his nine earned-runs. If he isn’t hitting his spots exactly, he’s going to get hit, and hit hard. Hopefully he gets off of his high horse. As Kirby Arnold mentioned, on the post game show, Vargas was quoted, saying:
“I didn’t feel like I pitched bad today.”
Interesting statement, Jason! Shall we investigate further?
Tonight, Vargas generated four swinging strikes. Four swinging strikes! That’s pretty good. I mean, these guys are professional baseball players. They do this for a living. They wouldn’t swing the bat unless they absolutely knew they were going to make contact! Four swinging strikes! Oh, wait. That is out of forty-five pitches swung at. That’s a 8.8% swinging strike rate today. Or, presented another way, that’s a 91.2% contact rate when the White Sox swung at a Vargas offering.
For the sake of comparison, during a start against the Nationals, Michael Pineda generated twenty-one swinging strikes. That was against fifty-eight attempts. Do the math, and that’s a 36% swinging strike rate. Good golly. We know that Pineda can live more in the strike zone than other pitchers because of his stuff. That, and the fact that he is basically releasing the ball by the bill of the batter’s helmet. Vargas needs to understand his repertoire. He needs to understand his skill-set. The closer he is to doing that, the closer he’ll be to becoming an asset on the starting rotation. What happened to the Jason Vargas before the All-Star break? I hope Jason Vargas realizes he is not a six-foot-seven Dominican.
What a call-up for Dayan Viciedo. He played in thirty-eight games last year with the White Sox, putting up a .308/.321/.519 slash line. Today, he went 2-for-3 with a three-run homerun. It must’ve been a great feeling for him. I remember when Dustin Ackley got his first hit. Once he got that out of the way, he got comfortable. Just look at Viciedo! In a year, that’s what Ackley will look like. I mean, fifty-pounds heavier, not his approach.
Ichiro caught a ball while sliding! Can you believe it? He somewhat put his body on the line, and almost ran into the right-field umpire once he held onto the ball. Trayvon Robinson almost collided with Brendan Ryan, but Ryan stayed with the ball, playing hot potato with it, and made the out. Josh Bard drove in all three of the Mariners runs tonight. What a weekend to be a Mariners fan.
- Tyler Flowers mashed an inside cutter to left field. With the bases loaded, he knew Vargas was going to throw a fastball to get ahead in the count. It’s moments like these that make me wonder – what happened to your changeup, buddy? That was supposed to be your best pitch! Don’t let these situations get the best of you, jeez. What are you, a minor leaguer?
- Franklin Gutierrez got hit in the back by a Gavin Floyd curveball. There wasn’t anything particularly interesting about it. It came after the grand-slam, but it’s not like the White Sox had anything to retaliate about. Gameday just makes it look like he was head-hunting:
- Josh Bard scored all three of the Mariners runs. Ugh.
Tomorrow, the Angels come into town. I guess our role is to play spoiler, but what if we look at it another way? Maybe we can help a brother out? How much is it worth to you, Texas? Should we sweep the Angels? Or let them win? Wink wink, nudge nudge. Money talks, boys.
Adam H. Wong