********* did I pick the wrong month to be sidelined with bad health huh? I went from some of the worst allergy attacks of my life to a respiratory infection that left me bedridden and popping all kids of cillin and finally a heat wave that made it impossible to stay indoors and write.
JEFF GROSS/GETTY IMAGES
Well that I can (sort of) breathe and the temps have dropped below ninety looks like I can try to get back in the game.
If you were one of the 4 others watching the AAA all-star game this Wednesday you would have seen all kinds of Mariner and better yet Tacoma representation. Super prospect Adam Jones started the game in center and got a double and run scored and “our rotation su*ks and yet somehow this guy is still in the minors” award winner Justin Lehr was the starting pitcher for the PCL. Yeah I know he got roughed up by the beefcakes from the IL but that doesn’t tarnish his numbers (7-1, 3.78) especially in the hitter friendly PCL. It’s even more troublesome that while he continues to produce less effective but younger guys like Jake Woods (3-6, 7.80 AAA) and Ryan “Homer” Feirabend (2-3, 4.25) continue to log major league innings this season and see the obviously not ready Feirabend go near the team leader for homeruns allowed and Weavering two games badly (4 or more earned runs in the first two innings). If the M’s want to keep winning games down the stretch shouldn’t the players that give the team the best chance to win be on the field? I’d think so, give Lehr a shot and let him prove me wrong and I’ll kindly shut up about it.
Speaking of all-stars did you think you were getting through this post Ichiro-free? Sorry guys can’t help but swing from the guy’s nuts just a little bit for his historic performance at the Mid-Summer Classic. 3 for 3 with the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star game history and the first All-Star game MVP in 15 years (Junior back in ’92) coupled with the 5 year 100 million dollar deal that is supposed to be announced sometime today. Normally I would be up in arms if my team were to offer a 5 ear deal for that much scribble to a 31 year old outfielder but the man has earned it. 7 straight all-star appearances, 2001 Rookie of the Year and an MVP award with no signs of reduced production. At this rate he will likely be the third Mariner to get hall of fame recognition with Griffey and Edgar (Randy Johnson will probably go in as a D-Back and who knows what cap A-Rod will wear).
Speaking of Junior; I was able to attend the second of the three games of the much ballyhooed Reds series that was punctuated with much love for the former Mariner centerfielder. It was an interesting experience, after getting into an argument with an angry grandpa that thought we were stealing his seats, to the mouthbreather behind me that had to boo as loud as he possibly could to drinking Heineken from a camel-bak (thanks Zoe!) but the best part was watching Wash level the Cincinnati lineup under a beautiful summer sun. Oh yeah and we won (a day after Homer Fierabend led the way to an embarrassing 16-1 loss against baseball’s worst team, woot!).
So after his “DL stint” Jeff Weaver has been petty effective against NL cellar dwellers and the punchless A’s so I am going to address it before I start getting the “Josh why don’t you let up on him, look how good he’s doing” stuff from Trident Nation. The way I see it, homeboy lost six so he owes me..no owes all of us at least 6. When he pitches his way back to .500 I’ll call off the hounds.
Finally I want to address the abrupt and shocking departure of Mike Hargrove and the subsequent promotion of bench coach John McLaren. I was as stunned as the rest of the Nation when I heard that Grover was stepping down during an 8 game win streak and a revitalized push for the pennant. On the plus side Hargrove was regarded as one of the worst tactical managers on the game by a number of sports journalists I’ve read, and from what I’ve heard Johnny Mac has a much better rapport with the players. Some even say that Ichiro came to his new deal because Hargrove left; now that is just hearsay so I wouldn’t make much of it. On the down side McLaren has never managed at the big league level before and there is no way to measure if there will be psychological repercussions on the players, especially the younger guys, from a mid season change like this. Either way it should be a fun second half.
Standings: AL West: 2 games behind the Angels. Wild Card: 1 games behind the Indians