Tank of the day: Mariners

Here's the funny thing about "tanking": Sometimes even replacement-level pitchers can do a good job. For instance, the New York Mets sent Daisuke Matsuzaka and his 5.75 ERA to the mound on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians. That's not his 2013 ERA; that was his ERA since 2009. In three starts with the Mets in 2013 he was 0-3 with a 10.75 ERA. This looked like a sure thing for the Indians and our pick as tank of the day. So of course the Mets win 2-1 with a run in the ninth, Dice-K pitching into the sixth before leaving after getting struck by a ball.

Sunday's winner: Tough call, but let's give it to the Seattle Mariners for some questionable bullpen usage in the eighth inning. Leading 1-0 against the Rays, right-hander Yoervis Medina came on with Evan Longoria leading off, followed by four lefties. I get using Medina against Longoria as he's sort of established himself as Seattle's eighth-inning guy. Joe Maddon had stacked his lineup with left-handed batters, but had already used Delmon Young and Wil Myers off the bench in the seventh. With Luke Scott, James Loney, Matt Joyce and Kelly Johnson due up, didn't it make sense to bring in Oliver Perez at that point? Sean Rodriguez, Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar were on the bench, but I'd rather have Perez facing those guys than Medina against the lefties. Anyway, Scott walked (Jennings pinch-ran), Loney doubled in a run and Perez was finally brought in, and Rodriguez singled in two runs as the Rays avoided the sweep.

(Honorable mention to the Giants for resting both Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval, although they beat the Diamondbacks anyway.)

Current standings in the race to 10:

Team W L Pct. GB

1. Astros 47 96 .329 ---

2. Marlins 53 88 .376 7

3. White Sox 57 85 .401 10.5

4. Cubs 60 82 .423 13.5

5. Twins 61 80 .433 15

6. Brewers 62 80 .437 15.5

7. Giants 64 79 .448 17

8. Mets 64 77 .454 18

8. Mariners 65 78 .455 18

10. Padres 65 77 .458 18.5

10. Rockies 66 78 .458 18.5

12. Phillies 66 77 .462 19

13. Blue Jays 67 76 .469 20

14. Angels 67 75 .472 20.5

The Padres, Phillies and Blue Jays all hurt their chances to finish in the top-10 worst records by sweeping their series. The Twins jumped into the top five with their sweep at the hands of Toronto and the Rockies are suddenly right there with their sweep defeat in San Diego. Good job, Roy Oswalt! Key series starting Monday: Rockies at Giants.