Not much you can say about this game, a 4-1 Mariners’ loss.That might not be as poor as they’ve played all year, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of any game that surpasses it for sloppiness. And it’s certainly the worst game at a time when they can’t afford many clunkers.
If the Angels hold on to their 6-0 lead over Texas (it’s the sixth inning as I type this), the Mariners will fall to five games back. That puts them in a very precarious position, on the verge of falling far enough behind that the whole buy-sell question comes into sharper focus.
That said, it’s hardly time for panic in the streets, or even panic in the blogs. They have their “Big Three” going the next three nights (Felix, Washburn, Bedard) and the Indians have, well, David Huff, Tomo Ohka (who has been terrible) and Aaron Laffey. The M’s still have a chance to win three of four, and if they do that, they’ll be OK.
Why didn’t Washburn pitch tonight, which would have been his fifth day? I didn’t get a chance to ask that specific question, but I believe they just wanted to give Washburn a few extra days of rest after a first half in which he pitched 112 innings. Felix was pushed back because they didn’t know how much he was going to work in the All-Star Game. I have no big issue with that. Olson was going to pitch in this series eventually.
What becomes now of Garrett Olson? I’d say there’s a chance he doesn’t make his next start, which would be Tuesday in Detroit. Ryan Rowland-Smith is scheduled to pitch tomorrow in Tacoma. He’s pitched much better of late. They could either scratch him, or limit him to five innings or so, which would probably leave him available to pitch Tuesday on three day’s rest. We’ll see. But Wakamatsu’s comments on Olson’s performance were telling:
“I think we’ve talked all year long about the importance of the starting pitcher establishing a tempo. I didn’t think Olson came out and had much of a feel. I thought he pitched a little defensively and his tempo was poor.
“We talk about sometimes guys want to be too perfect. We talked about it after the first inning. I said, ‘You don’t have to be too perfect out there.’ It’s not for lack of care or anything else. It’s probably caring too much.”
Wakamatsu definitely was irritated after the game, and for good reason. But he said,
“I’m not going to sit here and chastise the whole team. You try to find out who comes back after the break, who’s locked in. Other guys maybe have to get an adjustment. You have to get back in the swing of things. You’re used to, from day one of spring training, having very few days off in a row. You have to get it locked in. The whole team. We have to do it as a team to be able to come back and lock it in, and we’ll do it tomorrow.
“We have Felix going tomorrow. The big thing for me is we have lot of baseball left.”
But they don’t have much time left before the big decisions have to be made. Today’s sloppy effort just makes their task that much tougher.