Monday, September 12, 2005

Mariners 4; Angels 1

It's only the sixth inning, but this one is over. Joel Piniero has an ERA over 6 against the rest of the league, but against the Angels, they make him look like the second coming of Cy Young. And I don't mean to imply that he turns it on against them. I mean exactly what I said. This offense absolutely sucks against Piniero. At one point he threw Darin Erstad five pitches out of the strike zone and struck him out. He's thrown 49 freaking pitches through five innings. They had an entire inning that lasted as long as Barry Bonds' first at bat. Seriously. He's faced 7 teams more than once. His lowest ERA against any of those teams besides the Angels is 3.77 against the A's. Everyone else that has faced him two or more times has killed him. But the Angels treat him like they're facing his fading promise, as opposed to his true ability.

Whatever strides this offense took over the weekend, they've politely stepped right back to where they were before heading to Chicago. It doesn't help that Scioscia wants to believe so badly that he continues to punt a lineup spot by playing Steve Finley, not to mention weakening the defense at the same time.

Santana has not been sharp lately, and tonight was no exception. I'll admit, I thought his solid July and August were going to be good enough to send Escobar to the pen, but I've changed my mind. He was behind to almost every hitter. He had no control over his fastball. He's keeping his poise, but he just isn't getting guys out, and with this offense, they can't afford to have a starter give up four or five runs a game. If they don't move Escobar back into the rotation, I think they're in huge trouble. If they just throw him out there and pray, they're going to lose the division. It doesn't help when their 'gold glove' second baseman can't make a simple throw to the plate on a double steal.

Let's put this one in the books as an overmatched pitcher against a tired offense, and let's be thankful that we don't have to face Piniero again. On the bright side, maybe Finley will be returned to the bench for good. It's nice to forget about this team's problems every once in a while, but they have a great way of reminding us just how flawed they are.

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