I missed the first half of today’s game, but I think I’ve got a pretty good feel for what went down. Up until the rain delay, everything was peachy. The Mariners had scored 6 runs off of Jarrod Washburn, 5 of them coming on 4 home runs, we had a somewhat comfortable 6-2 lead, and Ryan Rowland-Smith was pitching fairly well. Or at least, he had been pitching fairly well up until loading the bases with just one out in the 6th.
Then, the rain delay came and went, and Chris Jakubauskas replaced RRS on the mound. From that point on, the Mariners were outscored 5-0, were outhit 6-0, and went on to lose the game in soul-crushing fashion. Games like today’s are a perfect examples of why all stadiums need to be like Safeco Field. No, I don’t mean long fences and the aroma of garlic fries – I mean retractable roofs. Not once in Mariners history, has a home game been delayed or postponed due to rain. I actually can’t say that for sure, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, we’ve only played at Safeco and the Kingdome. Major League Baseball, for once, take a lesson from the great city of Seattle, and start forcing teams to design new stadiums with a retractable roof.
Of course, there’s no way to know how the last 3 innings of the game would have gone if not for the rain delay, but I’m basing it on what I can see: Things were going great beforehand, and things went terrible after wards. I suppose that in the grand scheme of things, this is a pretty pointless subject to rant about, but rain delays are something that has always pissed me off.
Losses like these are infuriating, mainly because they’re rare and particularly mood killing, but at this stage in the Mariners season, it really doesn’t matter anymore. We haven’t really been in contention since mid-July, so although these will always make you steam for awhile, it’s nothing to get too upset about. And it’s not like this game wasn’t satisfying in any aspect – the Mariners hit 4 home runs off of Jarrod Washburn, not to mention one by Kenji Johjima off of the dolphin. That one was particularly hilarious. I know it’s petty, but witnessing Jarrod Washburn’s regression first hand is extremely satisfying, given the amount of people I’ve tried to convince that he isn’t a very good pitcher.
A couple observations about that 9th inning. David Aardsma pitched pretty much the same way he’s pitched all year – he threw almost nothing but fastballs, and tried to blow everybody away. Now I really can’t knock that strategy, as it’s worked for him almost every time this year. But it didn’t work tonight, and Miguel Cabrera punished him. There were only two well hit balls in that inning, but combined with the leadoff walk, they proved deadly.
Whenever Rob Johnson botches a play at the plate, I find a way to criticize him, so I can’t just let Kenji slide. That throw by Franklin Gutierrez was about as accurate a throw as your going to see, and Kenji couldn’t handle it. Now, I’m not saying it was an easy play, but in that situation, with the game on the line, you have to find a way to catch the ball. It was a fairly tough hop, but if he handles that throw, Guillen is probably out, and the game is over.
Aside from that, the defense was fantastic tonight. Franklin Gutierrez made 2 outstanding plays to run down fly balls, one of them to keep the game tied in the 8th inning, and Josh Wilson made an amazing over the shoulder catch on a shallow looper to left, also to keep the game tied, and end the 8th inning. Without the wonderful defense, this team would be a lot more similar to the 2008 Mariners than I care to think about.
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