Best Sweep Ever
The last four days, the M’s got swept. Again. That concluded an 0-11 road trip against the AL West where the team dropped 8 games in the standings. The first game of the road trip, they were playing to even their record. Now, they’re just as close to .400 as they are to .500, and the last two weeks have been nothing short of disastrous.
That, everyone knows. But the last four days have seen more than just the Mariners getting their butts handed to them on a nightly basis. The last four days brought more good news than we’ve seen in a month. For instance:
Chris Snelling’s career as a minor leaguer effectively came to an end, and he got 10 plate appearances in four days, going 3 for 7 with 3 walks. The Mariners desperately need Snelling’s skillset in the line-up, and the fact that he went from troubled Triple-A soul to getting semi-regular playing time for the Mariners was a huge positive.
The M’s took a proactive approach to keeping one of their prized young arms healthy – instead of telling Mark Lowe to buck up and learn how to pitch through pain, they shut down a kid who has been a revelation since coming up from the minors and has no injury that anyone can diagnose. He’s not hurt, per se, but the team decided to take the cautious approach and do a little preventative maintenance. For an organization that spent the last 10 years shredding arms, that’s a big step.
Jamie Moyer was scheduled to make 7 more starts this season for the Mariners, none of which would have any impact on the future of this club. The season’s story has essentially been written, and he would have simply been pitching for pride and personal statistics. Instead of having Moyer just ride out the waves, the team turned him into a 23-year-old with a low-90’s fastball and a potential outpitch slider. In picking up guys like Baldwin and Travis Chick in the Guardado trade, the Mariners continue to stockpile kids who have enough raw talent to be something if things break right. Andrew Baldwin is better today than Mark Lowe was a year ago, or then J.J. Putz was when he was as a 23-year-old in A-ball. It’s easy to write off kids like Baldwin as longshots who are likely to fail, but they do come through sometimes, and the payoff can be very valuable.
Ichiro played center field. Really. The starting outfield that we were calling for three months ago became a realization today, with the best defensive outfielder on the roster manning the most important of the three outfield spots in order to open up a spot in the line-up for Chris Snelling. If Ichiro and the Mariners are willing to make this center field thing stick, it opens up a lot of doors. As much as we like the future that Adam Jones could have, this team is better both today and in 2007 with Ichiro in center field and Snelling flanking him in a corner. Ichiro, as a right fielder, is an all-star and one of the better players in the game. As a center fielder, he’s a legitimate MVP candidate in most seasons.
The annual Mike Hargrove late season collapse is on. No one thought he was going to be managing this team in 2007 several months ago, but after watching his team fall in on itself in the final two months of the season yet again, the only way Mike Hargrove returns to the club next season is if he personally catches Osama Bin Laden. And even then, it’d still be up in the air. The losing sucks, but it brings with it the guarantee of a new manager, and that’s a cheery thought.
And finally, Doyle has arrived. Two thumbs up to the guys at KSTW who got that on the air.
So, yes, the M’s just spent another weekend with LLLL added to the tally. But, in the end, there was a ton of good news that came out the last four days. I’d argue that I’ve never been more pleased with an 0-4 weekend before. This was the best sweep ever.