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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Unsteady Eddie and the Lost-At-Sea Mariners

Man, it must be tough to be a Mariners fan these days. Their closer, "Everyday Eddie" Guardado, once one of the most dependable relievers in baseball, looks like he's not only done, but overdone. "Manager" Mike Hargrove keeps jerking Jeremy Reed, their second-best outfielder and probable fourth-best hitter, in and out of the line-up; plus Hargrove's unfathomable little man-crush on Willie Bloomquist keeps dragging on (I bet he doesn't even wish he could quit him), but the guy is just not a major league baseball player. Adrian Beltre is hitting — well, no, he's pretty much doing the exact opposite of hitting, and, until he stops diving out of the strike zone after unhittable pitches while letting hittable pitches go across the middle of the plate for called strikes, nothing's going to change for him no matter how many bases he steals. On top of all that, Jarrod Washburn's been their best starting pitcher -- you know that just has to end ugly; he was one of the luckiest pitchers in the game last season.

At least they have a few bright spots in Young King Felix, who is very close to becoming one of baseball's top five pitchers, and relievers Rafael Soriano and J.J. Putz — who saw Putz' start to the season coming? It looks real, though, judging by his strikeout and walk numbers. Despite slow starts, Richie Sexson and Ichiro are real hitters and can both be counted on to end the season with reasonable facsimiles of their average numbers over 162 games. Kenji Johjima helps, too.

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