Seattle Mariners: Back with New Faces, Fewer Aces

Jeff EngelsContributor IJuly 16, 2010

SEATTLE - JULY 11:  Justin Smoak #17 of the Seattle Mariners bats against the New York Yankees at Safeco Field on July 11, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Mariners picked up right where they left-off before the All-Star break, losing 8-3 to the Angels tonight. Doug Fister, who got the start tonight against ex-Mariner Joel Pineiro, went 5.2 innings and gave up six runs on 12 hits, moving his once-stellar ERA to 3.50.

It may be time for folks to stop talking about Fister as if he is still recovering from his stint on the DL and realize this is perhaps the real Doug Fister. I know this may be a bit harsh, but the reality is that sometimes pitchers are in a zone for a period of time during a season then they revert to their normal selves.

Of course, if the offense on this team could provide more than three runs for any of the starters, we wouldn’t be discussing this matter. In reality, unless Fister has pinpoint accuracy like he did earlier in the year, his stuff is mediocre and the good clubs like the Angels are going to score runs like they did tonight.

My highlight of the evening was when I jumped in the car and heard the voice of Ron Fairly , who apparently was filling in for Dave Niehaus who is on vacation. It took me a number of years to adapt to Fairly and never thought I would miss him, but tonight it was refreshing to hear the old veteran give the play-by-play.

Fairly has the experience of a former player and kept the listeners informed of the basics like the score, inning, outs, and little recaps of earlier developments in the game. I thought for a minute that Dave Sims had been released but soon realized that he, like a lot of the players, is part of the “Belief System” and gets to hold his job no matter what.

Justin Smoak went down on strikes three times tonight and finished 0-4. I know he is young and part of the bright future along with Michael Saunders and Rob Johnson, but he needs to have a decent game soon before he drops below the Mendoza line. The local media seem to believe that if you are young and are hitting .202 it will always get better at some point later on. Perhaps the truth is that certain players like Smoak have been labeled “can’t miss prospects” for so long that we all must just go along with it until it happens, no matter what the numbers say.

Don’t get me wrong, veterans such as Milton “Choir boy” Bradley would be sent down as well on a contending team, but we are in the official re-building phase now. Of course that is unless you are a relief pitcher, as the Mariners proved today by grabbing veteran Jamey Wright out of the AAA scrap-heap in Sacramento. Chris Seddon was also brought-up from AAA Tacoma, and Sean White and Chad “Flat Hat” Cordero were shown the door.

In another astounding development, Phillips Castillo, the 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic, received $2.2 million to sign with the Mariners. Now this kid supposedly is a phenom, but $2.2 million for a 16-year-old? This game is rapidly becoming globalized much like the rest of the world economy, which is fine, but somehow you have to wonder how we the fans fit into the picture.

We have an apathetic owner in Japan, lots of prospects, and players from Central and South America, and a lot of people out of work due to outsourcing of jobs. Will fans be coming out to Safeco field on Tuesday night games if we are 20 back? Only time will tell.

Oh well times are changing, and I guess I will have to get hip to the scene or get left in the wake. Speaking of getting hip, I hope you noticed my new “social networking” features such as the little blue Twitter bird and the Facebook box so you can follow me around. You can also receive RSS feeds or email alerts that I posted by clicking the appropriate boxes.

I am perhaps most enamored with my little Blue Tweety bird and hope to continue to update and modify this site with the help of my new tech. helper so I can keep up with the sabermetrics -crowd bloggers. Hope you are enjoying the sun, we will talk tomorrow I’m sure.

Tagged: Jamey Wright , Phillips Castillo , Ron Fairly , sabermetrics-crowd