Before heading back to school in the autumn, I decided to take a short vacation. Everyone needs to take time to recharge, so this just happened to be perfect timing. On this shortened sabbatical, I did many things. One of those things was driving to Portland to see Cake live again. I’ve seen them a couple times, one of the more memorable times was News Years Eve. We were right up front, the music was great, the performance superb – everything about the night was wonderful. They did their job. They performed well, and they entertained. This is their job.
I came back to Seattle to watch the Mariners offense give zero support to their starting pitcher. The pitcher who they, as a franchise, decided to commit millions of dollars to. The pitcher who they, as a franchise, created a promotion for the fans to wear his likeness on their chest. The pitcher who this always seems to happen to.
It’s not like the Mariners are doing it on purpose. They are trying, I swear! But, when does a game turn into a job? Isn’t this what they are getting paid to do? Through the cyclical nature of capitalism, we fuel their venture. Excluding the convoluted nature of revenue sharing; if you’ve paid for a ticket for a Mariners game, you’ve sort of paid Felix indirectly. The same goes if you are watching Root Sports from the comfort of your homes.
You should considered yourself privileged if you enjoy your job. In a society where approbation reigns, and the currency of the dollar weighs more than the currency of moral responsibility, it is a rare commodity. Cake’s job is to play music and entertain. Felix’s job is to pitch well, every fifth day.
The Mariners need to learn that, in order to win games, the offense needs to do their job.
The King’s court was in session today as Felix Hernandez brought his good stuff. Because of a couple mistakes, he got handed the loss – but he would’ve lost anyways, being that the offense scored zero runs for him. There is no scenario in that Felix would’ve won today. It wouldn’t have mattered if he gave up three or thirty runs. His effort was wasted. Unless the goal would’ve been the team with runs closest to zero, then the Mariners would’ve been in the game. See, we just have to change the game’s rules to win!
Right out of the gate, I could tell that Felix’s stuff was going to be good today. His sinker was moving like crazy, and he seemed to be commanding the ball well. Out of the 106 pitches he threw, 72 of them were strikes, giving us a 67.9% strike rate. Out of the 58 pitches the Rangers swung at, 12 of them missed, giving us a 20.6% swinging strike rate. Texas came out swinging today, and it was this pitch that changed the momentum of the game:
It wasn’t a bad pitch, but the Rangers are a good slugging team. They are third in the league in team ISO behind the Yankees and Redsox with .176. They are third in the league in team wOBA behind, yep, the Redsox and Yankees, with .346. The Rangers are a good club, and we shouldn’t be surprised when they hit good pitches. Felix wasn’t outmatched today, he was just matched. That’s why our offense is a priority moving forward in the franchise. Pitching win playsoffs, we know this. Felix can outmatch hitters, we know this, too. But when Felix is equally matched against an offense who can handle his stuff, we need an offense to pick him up. Just an offense, I’ll take any offense over the one that’s currently on the field. Hopefully next year. Look, they’re evolving! we’ll say.
Dustin Ackley had a poor series, going 1-for-12. Many of those hits were screaming line drives that unluckily found their way into the fielders gloves. He laced a ball into center field that David Murphy just barely made a play on. I’m not concerned for Ackley. I often find myself ignoring him. Out of all the limited plate appearances I’ve seen him in, he always looks confident, and he always works the count in his favor, be it ahead or behind in the count. He always knows what to do at the dish, and on the basepads, too. I’m not worried about him at all. Of all that things that Ackley has in his toolbox, apparently luck is not one of them.
If you want another positive thing to try and glean from this game, Shawn Kelley and Steve Delabar went for a combined two innings of scoreless relief. Neither of them have given up a run yet. Kelley, at times, has looked a bit shaky, but Delabar has been nothing but impressive. I look forward to seeing them in the future, against a bigger sample size. Nothing has pointed me towards them being a detriment to the bullpen of the future. Unless Delabar gets called in. Oh, substitute teachers. Your schedules are always so bizarre.
One bad, very bad thing that the Mariners have been doing lately is striking out. They’ve been striking out a lot. It’s been cataloged all over the blogosphere. The Mariners strikeout has been unprecedented, and will be historic if it keeps up like this. Matt Harrison struck out nine Mariners. Nine! His career K/9 is 5.4. This is all a part of the learning process with the youngsters, but I mean come on! It’s getting silly now. And not the silly ha ha kind of silly. The end of the season is approaching, and the Mariners need to recharge. It’s starting to look like they think next year can’t come any quicker.
Did I mention that the Ranger’s bullpen is good?
- After Adrian Beltre belted that homerun off of Felix in the fourth inning, him and Felix exchanged what I assumed to be playful words. Something like, “Oh Sh!t I belted that!” and “One pitch? That was one pitch?” I know they were playful words on the part of Beltre because Felix didn’t plunk him in his next at-bat, and apparently they are good friends off the field. For some reason, I don’t think it would be okay if Felix did that every time Beltre struck out against him.
Felix: Couldn’t handle that?
Felix: Oh Sh!t you suck!
-Yeah, I don’t think the MLBPA would appreciate that very much.
- In the eighth inning, Josh Hamilton robbed Mike Carp of a solo homerun. On the way back to the dugout, Carp looked distraught. I mean, of course he wanted that ball to leave the yard, he wanted to get his team going. On the way back to the dugout, he forced a smirk, because deep down he knew that his career is just beginning, and career of Chone Figgins is ending.
- The Mariners have never beaten Neftali Feliz. They are 0-and-45 when he comes into the game. The Mariners have walked off against Mariano Rivera a handful of times. This is the Texas Rangers closer, who resides in the American League West Division, and therefore is our rival by affiliation. Ugh.
The Mariners hit the road tomorrow. An odd saying, because if the Mariners literally hit the road, they would have at least 81 broken hands.
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