Thursday, June 18, 2009


I'll start by noting that Erik Bedard was placed retroactively on the disabled list and Mike Carp got the big call to the big leagues, and drew a pinch-hit walk late in the game. He was wearing number 59 (Felix wore that when he came up), and that will be updated on the Mariners By the Numbers post. Russell Branyan will miss the Thursday afternoon game because he's flying out to attend his grandfather's funeral. That notwithstanding, the Mariners pulled within one game of .500 with this win and have a shot to get back to .500 with a win on Thursday afternoon. It all hinged on Garrett Olson putting in a decent start, having the bullpen hold down the fort, and having the offense score just enough runs. Put it all together, and what do you have? Yet another one-run victory for the Mariners. It helped that Nick Hundley's pickoff throw to third hit Franklin Gutierrez and bounced away, allowing Gutierrez to score the go-ahead run. The Mariners and their fans will gladly take that.

The win put the Mariners at 32-33 after 65 games. Of the Bavasi-run teams, only 2007's 35-win team after 65 games was better than the current mark. Of the other Bavasi teams, 32 wins is one better than 2006, three better than 2005, five better than 2004, and nine better than 2008. Of the Gillick teams, 32 wins is four worse than 2000, eight worse than 2002, 12 worse than 2003, and 19 worse than 2001.

Mariner hitting went a combined 7-for-32 in the game, walking three times and striking out ten times (Chad Gaudin struck out eight?!!?). Ken Griffey Jr. and Jose Lopez accounted for the extra-base hits with a double and a homer, respectively. The middle infielders Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt had two hits apiece as the only multi-hit Mariners of the game. The team went 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners. Ichiro did not go hitless and this game is probably the start of a 57-game hitting streak. Ha.

Seattle's starting pitching will be covered below. The bullpen finished out the final three innings of the game and threw shutout baseball. Mark Lowe walked one and struck out two in the seventh inning, Sean White walked one and gave up a hit in the eighth inning, and David Aardsma gave up a hit and struck out two in the ninth inning. The combined bullpen faced 14 hitters to get nine outs, but that's what happens when you walk a couple guys and give up a couple of hits.

1) Jose Lopez
It's officially a power binge for the Mariners' second baseman. Since snapping his extra-base hitless streak at eight games with a double on May 24th, Lopez has gone 23-for-76 (.303) with six doubles, seven homers (slugging .658), and 21 RBIs over that span of 20 games. Such things have propelled his batting average from .223 to .248 (bump of .025), his on-base percentage from .264 to .278 (.014 bump), and his slugging percentage from .313 to .421 (.108 bump). I think we'll all agree as Mariner fans that we're glad there's another power-hitting threat on this team whose name isn't Russell Branyan. Lopez went 2-for-4 in this game with the one homer. The pitch he hit for a home run was absolutely a mistake pitch (it wasn't even close to the target) and he completely destroyed it. That ball was demolished. The home run broke a 1-1 tie and put the Mariners up 3-1. Lopez is hitting .309 for the month of June, and it appears he and Yuniesky Betancourt are having a no-walkoff, as Betancourt hasn't walked since May 29th, and Lopez hasn't walked since May 31st. Lopez has a June on-base percentage (.293) that is lower than his lower than his .309 batting average for the month.

2) Garrett Olson
The Mariners' spot starter retired the last seven hitters he faced after giving up the two-run homer to Chase Headley (who hit it more like Chase Utley). That home run, by the way, was mammoth. Mastodonic, even. To a lesser spot starter, that could wreck the outing and make Olson hit the wall. Frankly, Olson in most of his starts has displayed a proclivity to do pretty well at the beginning of the game and cruise along before hitting a wall and losing it, usually around the fifth or sixth. While he did retire the last seven hitters he faced, I can say that when I was sitting there watching the game, I thought Olson was done. Olson gave up three runs on two hits, walking one and striking out four. He threw 62 strikes out of 94 pitches, getting four groundouts and ten flyouts (yikes). He faced 21 hitters to get 18 outs. Thanks to Felix the night before and the off day the day before that, the Mariners had a well-rested full cadre of relievers in case Olson crapped the bed. With Morrow going in the final game of the series on a pitch count, we'll likely see Chris Jakubauskas again along with Miguel Batista and Roy Corcoran.

3) Ken Griffey Jr.
A friend noted that although Griffey is hitting all of .211 on the season with six homers and 19 RBIs, it seems a good portion of his hits seem to tie a game or drive in a go-ahead run. Of course, though he's still very legitimately cold, Griffey has gone 2-for-7 in his last two games, and that small sample size was more than enough for FSNW's Mariners Live show to edit together a highlight package and to have Angie Marzetta/Arlati/Mentink and Bill Krueger engage in a couple minutes of dialogue about Griffey's torrid doings at the plate. Things like mountains and molehills seem to come to mind. As I've noticed a few times this year, it seems that right when everybody's about ready to give up on Griffey, he gets a couple of key hits to remind you that he indeed does exist and can hit in some capacity, and then he fades into the crowd a bit until everyone's nearly ready to give up on him again. Griffey has drawn 32 walks on the season while Ichiro has 12 and Branyan has 34, but Branyan's played nearly the whole season while Griffey's played 50 games.

Adrian Beltre
It's hard to put him here since he had a couple of very solid defensive plays on which mere mortal third basemen might get eaten up. Beltre gets to those plays and did so in this game, but he is supposed to be a main cog in the Mariners' lineup, and he did go 0-for-4. This hitless game snapped an eight-game hitting streak in which he went 14-for-33 (.424) with five doubles, a home run (slugging .667), and five RBIs. From the start of his tear (May 21st), he had gone 36-for-97 (.371) with seven doubles, three home runs (slugging .536), and 15 RBIs. Obviously, you can add an 0-for-4 to all of those totals. If we can hang on to nothing else, we can hang on to the fact that Beltre hasn't gone hitless in consecutive games since the 0-for-23 slump. Obviously that fact is on the line in the day game today. Though he wasn't the goat in the game and got two hits, I should mention that I might have thought about Yuniesky Betancourt for his two-hit game, but he made an icky error. Considering Beltre, he looks a lot more comfortable with Betancourt next to him at shortstop rather than Ronny Cedeno.

Oh boy, Morrow on a pitch count today.

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