Closer David Aardsma, the Mariners said today, is available in an emergency - but not really.
That lanced boil on his backside is one ugly wound (trust me, I saw it!). Imagine an open hole low and centered on your bum, then imagine pitching with it.
They didn't want to stitch it up for fear of infection, so they bandage it and clean it a couple of times a day," Aardsma said. "They don't want me to sweat while it's still open, so I don't know if they'd let me pitch tonight."
Without Aardsma, the Mariners are a bit short in the bullpen, where everyone is just a little overworked. Last night, Luke French went four innings, Miguel Batista only 2/3 of an inning and manager Don Wakamatsu had virtually everyone warm up at one point or another in what became an 11-6 victory.
"We need six innings from Jason Vargas, and I'd like seven," Wakamatsu said.
It's Vargas vs. Bruce Chen, with Jose Lopez trying to drive in a run for the eighth consecutive game.
Yikes! What a start
With Willie Bloomquist aboard on a fielders choice, Vargas centered a pitch to Billy Butler, who hit it 392 feet - well over the fence in left and off the Royals Hall of Fame beyond it.
Brayan Pena and Alberto Callaspo singled, then Mark Teahen doubled them both home on Vargas' 24th pitch of the inning.
Yuniesky Betancourt doubled Teahen home, as ex-Mariners continued to hurt the current crop.
After one: Royals 5, Mariners 0
Mr. Sweeney strikes back
Mike Sweeney hit his fourth home run of the season and the 100th of his career in Kauffman Stadium, a solo shot one out into the fourth inning.
Behind him, Adrian Beltre and Franklin Gutierrez singled, and Jack Wilson's sacrifice fly got Beltre home.
In the fourth: Royals 5, Mariners 2
Oops and oops II
Vargas had gotten through three shutout innings, then imploded for the second time tonight - with help.
Butler singled, Pena doubled and Callaspo singled for a run in quick order, then a ground ball roll through Russell Branyan's legs at first - an error that scored another run.
A ground ball got a third run home, and the Royals had pulled away.
After five: Royals 8, Mariners 2
There's your seven
Vargas gave the Mariners seven innings and saved his bullpen, but they weren't memorable innings for the lefty - and one has to wonder if his spot in the rotation is in jeopardy.
In seven innings, he allowed eight runs - seven earned.
Chris Jakubauskas pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and there likely won't be a bottom of the ninth tonight.
It's a final: Royals 8, Mariners 2