Wednesday, April 08, 2009
The Mariners scored early and often, building a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning. After four innings, Erik Bedard had been about as good as you'd expect out of him, maybe even better. Even his pitch count was very economical after four innings. Then the Twins' half of the fifth inning reared its ugly head, and Bedard started getting hit around a bit. After it was all done, Bedard ran his pitch count up to 85 and didn't come out for the sixth. Coming off injury, however, I guess holding back on him a bit wouldn't be a bad thing. Still, part of me thinks that if five good innings is the best you can get out of your #2 starter, it's time to not make that guy a #2 starter and it's time to get a new #2 starter. Easier said than done, of course, but to me the dropoff between Felix and Bedard seems pretty drastic. The dropoff between Bedard and the rest of the rotation, though, is nightmarish. Positives for Bedard include his ability to get his breaking stuff over for strikes as well as recording zero walks. The bad news would probably be that he faced 22 batters and six of them got hits, two of which were of the extra-base variety.
As for the collective hitting, the Mariners were 11-for-35 with three walks and four strikeouts, so not too bad a game there. Too bad there was only one extra-base hit. The 8-9-1-2 hitters in the lineup (Balentien-Betancourt-Chavez-Gutierrez) went 9-for-18 with three RBIs and scored all five of the Mariners' runs. Of course, this means the rest of the lineup (3-7 hitters) had a 2-for-13 night along with three walks. One of the hits was a two-run single by Beltre.
1) Roy Corcoran
Corcoran came out for the sixth inning with a one-run lead. He then mowed through all six hitters he faced. Two innings, two strikeouts, one flyout, and three groundouts. I feel pretty good about having him in the Mariner bullpen. Along with David Aardsma, I felt pretty good about the Mariner bullpen as a whole. That was before the 9th inning came, of course. More on that later.
2) Endy Chavez
Ichiro's gone for at least one more week. In the leadoff spot in this game, Chavez was 3-for-5, driving in two runs and scoring twice himself. No real defensive miscues, not that there should be, since it's Endy Chavez. The numbers look good, yes, even though Chavez seems to specialize in the seeing-eye single. Still, I like the swings (fairly level) that Chavez is putting on the ball, especially for a leadoff hitter (for the time being).
3) Franklin Gutierrez
The Mariners' new centerfielder went 2-for-5 with a double and drove in a run. It's only been two games, but I like what I'm seeing out of this guy. Maybe it's just psychological, maybe I just want to tell myself he's covering a lot of ground in centerfield, but there already have been a couple times where a Minnesota hitter looks like he's just hit a gapper, and I see the same camera angle that usually tells me it's going to be a double, then Gutierrez is already there, making the catch. He doesn't seem like he's running full speed or anything when he's catching the ball, either. It's only been two games, but so far he might be making it all look ridiculously easy out there.
I know the organization (mostly under Bavasi) has been playing yo-yo with Morrow being a reliever or being a starter, back and forth, etc. I have a real problem with Morrow forcing the organization's hand and saying he should be in the bullpen. I think they should have just said, "tough s%*@, we need you in the rotation. It's better for the team," and made it so. To the game itself, Morrow needed only one more out to notch a win for the Mariners before it all went south. I was displeased when Wakamatsu came to pull him -- if Morrow's the one that wanted to close so damn bad, why not let him lie in the bed that he made? I say sink or swim with him. When I saw Batista come in from the bullpen, it was pretty much a death wish. Instead of just giving away the game (i.e., bringing in Batista), why don't you just live and die by Morrow? It's what Morrow wants, so take off the training wheels and take off the water wings, and let the guy sink or swim. He told you he wanted to close, now let him show you something. Maybe half my goat goes to Wakamatsu, I don't know.
Silva's throwing tonight? God help us all.