Since the NBA decided to have the Pacers-Heat wait until Wednesday to get started, the NBA was off last night. Gotta love that during the playoffs. I think scheduling like this is part of the reason people think that the playoffs in every professional sport, excluding the NFL, lasts too long. So these guys can play 82 games from late October until early April (basically over a five month window), but they get four days off between series for the Pacers and a week off for the Heat? I understand the NBA doesn't like playing back to backs during the playoffs, but this series should've tipped off last night.
Yesterday in the world of baseball, a common theme reared its ugly head: bullpens in the MLB are struggling. Jim Johnson of the Orioles blew his third consecutive save last night. I love the fact that he blew it against the Yankees, but c'mon Jim. Three straight blown saves is just unacceptable for a playoff contender. Wanna guess how many saves he blew last season during their magical run to the postseason? Three. I'll let that sink in. The Orioles were clearly overachievers in the minds of most people last season. One of the main reasons for that was the dominance of their bullpen. In what should be a tightly contested race for the majority of the season, the Orioles could very well look back and find that these three consecutive losses caused them to miss the playoffs.
The Mariners managed to lose a ballgame yesterday in which Brendan Ryan and Robert Andino combined for three hits. Justin Smoak hit a rare home run. I realize the Mariners are not a stellar baseball team at the moment, but you can't waste the one good offensive day you have every week. Ryan and Andino had combined for 29 hits on the season before yesterday in 170 at-bats (combined BA .171). They were 3 for 7 yesterday (.429 combined BA/.500 OBP including Ryan's BB). When you start Ryan and Andino as your middle infielders in any game, you just pretty much assume you're getting an 0 for 8 out of your 8 and 9 holes for the day. It's quite clear that you're not going to win very often with those two guys occupying 22% of your lineup. However, when you actually get production out of them, you must capitalize on it. Back to Smoak's home run. Smoak was a major prospect not so long ago. He was the centerpiece of a trade for Cliff Lee. He's hit 3 HR on the young season. The Mariners are 0-3 in those games. Again, when you get offensive production from unexpected places, you need to take advantage of those opportunities. I realize that it is not that simple. Just because you get production from three unlikely places does not mean that you are going to win the game. However, it seems that a ton of Mariners fans think that getting Ryan, Andino, and Smoak out of the lineup would help the team. They all produced yesterday, yet they still figured out a way to lose.
Finally, we get to my favorite story of the day: Alex Sanabia was clearly spitting on the ball yesterday.
Click Here for Video Evidence
Okay so spitballing has become a bit of a lightning rod early this season. Thank you Clay Buchholz. However, Sanabia is not a good pitcher. He had a good start last night. He spit on the ball last night. This doesn't seem to be that difficult of a case to me. However, he probably wasn't doing it all night because well for one to spit on the ball all night and only get caught once would require one to be a member of some secretive counterintelligence agency. Sanabia had a rare good start. He also clearly spit on the ball after giving up the lone run during last night's start. I say let it go. It's the Marlins. If anyone should be allowed to throw a spitter, it is a pitcher for the Marlins. They need all the help they can get when their offense scores that few runs. If Sanabia peels off two or three dominant starts in a row, then maybe something should be done. Let's just say I find it highly unlikely for him to do so. Playing for the Marlins has to wear on you mentally. He had a slight blonde moment and spit on the ball after giving up a home run. It's a wonder more Fish pitchers don't do crazy things when they lose their shutout and chances for a win.