Sunday afternoon, some left hand sidearm b'wana was throwing bullets for the Angels. Lloyd, properly, set the Mariners up to punish said lefty by deploying Franklin Gutierrez and Nelson Cruz to counter.
In some inning or other -- if you tell me you care, you can have the keys to the taco stand -- Guti and Cruz launched a pair of consecutive heat-seeking missiles, sandwiched around a $25M walk. Felix was ahead in the game 1-0, AND runners at the corners, 1 out. Croissant and marmalade. mmmmmmm Felix and a lead. No way to botch this one.
But something was going to happen, something wonderful: Kyle Seager smoked a left-vs-left sac fly to right field ... and Robinson Cano, forgetting approximately 20 years' worth and 9,000 sac flies worth of Yankee Baseball, played the fly ball halfway up the line. You know, just in case ...
... um ...
Usually Dr. D would tell you kiddies to take out a #2 pencil. Fill in the blank as to why Robinson Cano would play a 1-out SF by taking a "secondary lead" halfway up the 3B line. However, as blanks go, Dr. D is drawing a lot of them lately. He does know that if Lloyd McClendon doesn't get his players focused, somebody is going to get brained by a random infield toss into the dugout. We doubt that Rick Griffin possesses Dr. Grumpy's field surgical skills.
Random thought: has a person like Edgar Martinez ever been deployed as hitting coach, 10 days before he took over as manager? Just hypothetically, would you secure Joe DiMaggio's consent to be hitting coach by saying something like, "Knowing what we know now, we're considering a 3-mile-deep powerflush of the guy ahead of you in line? It isn't like he's ever won anyway." It wouldn't have to be THAT specific verbiage. Just something to that EFFECT.
:: shrug ::
Would give you a Buffalo nickel to name some guy who was brought in as bench coach, hitting coach, or Dubble Bubble restocker shortly before being installed as manager. Didn't George Steinbrenner and Charles O. Finley used to do stuff like that?
There's not much Dr. D knows for sure. But he does know that this feeblemind farrrrrr exceeded Austin Jackson's throw the other day. He knows that the Notorious Robinson Cano Non-Tagup directly threw away the game, set and match. And he knows that blunders like this are closely associated with pessimistic mindsets, cakeouts, folds, quits, and other such Yankeeisms. In chess terms Vladimir Kramnik would up his pre-match SSRI dosage. In baseball terms the cliche is "They look like they're expecting to lose out there." In "the knockout game" Cano would have whuffed the sucker punch and KO'ed himself. The 3B coach would have mouthed the same profanity on TV.
After Montgomery's gem the other day, Dustin Ackley came on the radio and said that after Montgomery escaped the bases-loaded first "the feeling in the dugout changed." Exact words. Yeah, we get it. The feeling was that maybe you could win today? Because you got a good bounce early, it was Game On? Wait here. I'm going to go towel off the inspiration.
It probably seems that Dr. D is irritated with Austin Jackson airmails and Robinson Cano "secondary leads" off 3B. Nothing could be further from the truth. What Dr. D is truly irritated with, is Russell Wilson's bright smile that he'll wind up where the Almighty wants him. Because, from a spiritual perspective, the last injustice the Almighty could suffer next would be that Russell's portion be held to $80 million bucks rather than $110 million.
One word, bro'. Thankfulness. It's more than just a Twitter hashtag. This life lesson applies to myself first: there has been a human being or two who got less, and deserved more.
Random pollyanna sports truths:
1. This is the same Mariner offense as last year, except that Seth Smith vs Michael Saunders, and Nelson Cruz instead of a .099 DH. Their "Refuse To Produce" motto is pretty much just bad attitude and bad luck. Hey, and we got 9-to-make-5 here. If we're out of brioche, why can't we just serve the croissant?
2. Taijuan is improving visibly; first he got the idea on high, hard Strike Ones, and now the changeup and "snake tongue" changeup cutter are coalescing. Twin 89 MPH changeups, one for either black. Change curve in the hole. You can sense the storm clouds looming on the horizon. Paxton's got a finger and Taijuan is exploiting the time to advance his career.
3. If Arsenal lands Arturo Vidal we're going with bright red on the SSI banner.
4. Seven enjoyable SP's? The last specific team we remember like that was the 1970's Dodgers. Well, can tell you this: Mike Montgomery's next two starts are going to be interesting.
4a. It's one thing to value Mike Zunino's defense. But the Mariners are making him out to be Jim Torborg add a sci-fi implant. Theoretically, CERA doesn't even exist, you know. Sense of proportion, guys.
5. What would Pat do? Pat Gillick woulda had his entire lineup full of 32-year-old Seth Smiths. He wouldn't have been rolling five rookie-hitter dice out of the same cup. As a Nobel scientist once said, I dunno if that's possible. I just know it's true.
We kid. A little bit. You could win with Evan Longoria and talented prospects. Just maybe not if Longoria was taking secondary leads off third base.
Let them eat cake,