One of the remaining attractions as the Seattle Mariners run the season into the ground is the chance to see genuine Northwest heroes perform well. Unfortunately, they play for other teams.
Sunday, July 20, was Grady Sizemore day. The Mill Creek, Wash., product and resident was an all-star once more for Cleveland last week, continuing his stellar play at Safeco with a dunker double in the fifth inning, scoring the run that put his club up 5-1, more than insurmountable if you play Seattle. Cleveland won, taking the three-game series.
Monday, July 21, would bring Puyallup prodigy Jon Lester, who, at 7-3 with an earned-run average of 3.21, could be the M's best left-hander were he not playing for the Red Sox. Seattle's premiere lefty would be Erik Bedard if he ever showed up and pitched. Bedard, aka Bill Bavasi's Last Wish, remains on the disabled list after having restricted himself during recent appearances to pitch-count regimens reminiscent of a March 4 game in Peoria, Ariz. If he ever comes back, perhaps it would be advisable to use Bedard in short (very short) relief instead of as a starter.
In any case, whatever Bedard has must be contagious, because Carlos Silva came down with it Sunday. Silva (Bavasi's Penultimate Wish), after working the eternity of four innings, left having given up four runs on as many hits, his ERA inflated to 5.62. The last ball he held wound up in the left-field squint zone. Initial diagnosis of affliction: lower back strain. God, I dunno about you, but I get that reaching for the channel-changer to switch over to women's golf.
Off the sick list is one-time closer J.J. Putz. He threw the seventh Sunday, retiring the Indigenous Persons (or "Indians," as many prefer) in order, his first work (if you don't count bobble-head commercials) since June 11.
So it's been kind of a sick club. (Literally, not the way it's used in today's argot: "The Celtics are absolutely sick this year," eg.) That the M's still draw (37,000 and change Saturday, July 19, 32-something Sunday) may owe to the weather, may also have to do with morbid curiosity, as in: How will these guys lose today? Sunday it was because Cliff Lee, the league's best pitcher, worked (Bedard might note the verb) a masterful complete game. Clearly, audition time is at hand.
Wide-eyed minor-leaguer Bryan LaHair was brought up late during the week to try to help everybody in Mariner World forget about Richie Sexson at first base. Unfortunately, fans wouldn't get to see much of LaHair because the M's would face a succession of southpaws. LaHair hits lefties about like Richie hits lefties and righties.
Seattle fans finally got to see their own regional native do well Sunday when the Pride of Port Orchard, Willie Bloomquist, legged a single in the eighth. It didn't mitigate the eventual 6-2 Cleveland victory but, hey, at least no more M's pitchers had to leave with "injuries."