A GRIP ON SPORTS
Monday's are supposed to be quiet little days. And, on the Internet, today is. But outside, the way the wind is blowing, it is anything but. Read on.
• Writers have been using the wind and wind gusts as a metaphor for change since the first chisel was taken to stone. Remember the scene in Mary Poppins when the old maids are blown away and Mary comes floating down? You don't? That's right. I don't write a movie column aimed toward women of the Baby Boom-era. But you have to give me a pass. Kim, my wife, has a Mary Poppins coffee cup so, as you might guess, we've watched the movie a few times in 30-plus years of marriage. Anyhow, back to my premise. Wind as a metaphor for change. I wonder if it was windy in Seattle over the weekend? It must have been. After all, the M's hit two home runs and won a game – and a series – with the Angels. That's change. And progress. But before everyone begins to crawl back on to the M's bandwagon, realize who pitched for the Mariners the last two games: Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. I wrote this yesterday: "No matter how much the M's offense is struggling, the team always has a chance when Felix Hernandez is on the mound – and a decent crowd too." That line works just as well if you replace Felix Hernandez with Hisashi Iwakuma, except for the part about the crowd. Mariner fans haven't yet realized how well Iwakuma is pitching and how he can dominate an opponent. When they do, they'll start turning out more often, I'm sure. Because if you want to see the M's win, you need to pick a game either he or Hernandez is throwing. Joe Saunders and the fifth guy? Forget about it. (Now having written that, watch Saunders throw a three-hitter tonight and shut down the Orioles.) Brandon Maurer has a shot – as do the M's when he's pitching. But a rotation that consists of two great pitchers just doesn't cut it anymore in this day and age of five starters. (Hernandez and Iwakuma and pray for a typhoona? Does that work?) We've written a lot about the M's still-in-progress offensive development, but unless they get better starting pitching throughout the rotation, they are not going to be challenging the Rangers, A's and, more than likely, even the Angels for the division title. You can chisel that in stone.
• Washington State: Christian Caple is still able to find enough sports news to put together a morning blog post, so there's that. ... And we found a Marquess Wilson piece out of Chicago, so there's that. ... There were winners and losers in the NFL draft from the college perspective as well.
• EWU: Nothing on the Eagles but we do have a report on Portland State's spring football we can pass along for Big Sky fans.
• Mariners: Jason Vargas wasn't giving the M's much of anything in his first start against his old team until Jason Bay (pictured) tied the score at 1 with a seventh-inning home run. Then Michael Morse untied it in the eighth with another solo blast. Viola, a 2-1 win and a disappointing eight-inning complete game (the worst type) for Vargas and a series win for the M's. Iwakuma did impressive work for six innings, giving up three hits, striking out eight, walking none and would have left tied if not for a Robert Andino error that led to an unearned run. Now the man with a 1.67 earned run average will get some rest for his ailing finger on his pitching hand, though why would you want something to heal when you've pitched like he has with the blister problem? I know, to allow him to go more than six innings. Still, if he struggles with a healthy finger I might see what I can do to get the blister back. ... Casper Wells is looking for work again. And on the same day Bay hits a big home run.
• Sounders: The standings look bleak for the Sounders until you look in the games played column. The team has a lot of games to make up.
• Sonics: Today is a big day for Seattle as the NBA's Relocation Committee is expected to make a recommendation on the sale to the Seattle group. Under the most recent use of the calendar by the NBA, that means the meeting will be postponed and take place the fifth Tuesday of May.
• Put some rocks in your pockets today. Or just play the downwind holes at your favorite golf course and brag about how far you hit it. That seems to be the best options for today. Until later ...