Tuesday, April 06, 2010
I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to crank out game posts this year. Obviously after just one night, there's only so far I can go with, say, an Ichiro hit pace calculation. I think I'll first throw out some bullet-point immediate thoughts on the Mariners’ 1-0 win on Opening Night 2010 in Oakland...
-- Milton Bradley broke a bat in frustration after a strikeout, so he's in midseason form.
-- Since there isn't a lot of power on this team at all, I don't think there are going to be a lot of days when the Mariners will be able to outscore any problems they have on the mound. The pitching staff has little room for error, and that's something to ponder considering they probably need to be about .500 when Cliff Lee is healthy and pitching again.
-- The Rajai Davis trap? That wasn't even really close. I don't know how the second-base umpire missed that.
-- If you watch every Mariner game for the rest of the season, you might only see it one more, but it happened in this game: in the first inning, Ben Sheets faked to third base and threw to first, and it actually worked as Milton Bradley was caught stealing second on the first move. The third-to-first move hardly ever works, and it usually brings the boo birds (obviously if a visiting pitcher does it), but it works just often enough that pitchers keep it in their arsenal.
-- Jack Wilson may be the best defensive shortstop in baseball according to The Fielding Bible, but that didn't help him when he had a double-play ball go off his glove. Odd thing is that the next play was a double-play ball, and Jose Lopez (with whom I'm a lot less comfortable when it comes to defense) started it from third base. Shortly after, Wilson cleanly fielded the grounder that ended the eighth.
-- In the both the first and third innings, Chone Figgins walked and stole second, which drew throws from Kurt Suzuki that went into centerfield, enabling Figgins to take third each time. Figgins scored in the first for the Mariners' 1-0 run, and again in the third for the 3-0 run.
-- If Felix Hernandez walks two hitters in a start, I will immediately say he wasn't sharp. He issued his second walk of the game to the leadoff hitter in the fourth (Daric Barton). He got a double-play ball in that inning and still had faced only one hitter over the minimum through four innings. A two-out walk to Mark Ellis was the third of the night for Felix, but after five innings, he had still only faced two hitters over the minimum. Oakland's first ball out of the infield was Cliff Pennington's laced single to rightfield. Then Felix walked another hitter later in the inning and ended up giving up a run. In the seventh, Felix walked the final two hitters he faced. A pitch count of 101 over 6 2/3 innings isn't bad at all, but I'm used to seeing Felix throw a lot more than 58 strikes with 101 pitches. Six walks to four strikeouts is an ugly ratio for him. Usually it takes him three or four starts to walk six hitters.
-- Should I put the blame on Sean White or should I blame Don Wakamatsu for putting in Sean White? With two on and two out in the seventh, I would have preferred anyone who wasn't David Aardsma or Sean White. I would have liked Kanekoa Texeira or Shawn Kelley in this situation rather than Sean White coming off the injury from last year. End result is a tie game and Felix getting screwed out of a win (as much as a pitcher who walked six guys can get screwed out of a win). Proponents of the "relief ace" surely would have deployed said ace in White's exact situation.
-- Did Casey Kotchman have some kind of night or what? He drove in four of the Mariners' five runs and was hitting the ball pretty hard.
-- The linescore looks disappointing since the Mariners only tallied six hits. A deeper look into the boxscore reveals they walked eight times (one intentional). More walks than hits. This might be a lot for one night, but I think we know this team will take a walk. Milton Bradley was 0-for-3, but walked twice and saw a total of 30 pitches in his night at the plate.
-- Rob Johnson smoked a home run, but that's gravy to me. If he hits .250, can block a ball once in a while, and is behind the plate for every Felix start, I'm fine with it. Johnson scored twice (one obviously being the homer) and walked twice on the night.
...and Ichiro's only on pace for 162 hits. A pity, really, that he isn't on pace for a tenth straight season of 200 or more hits.
I'll be flipping between the Canucks broadcast tonight in concurrence with the second game of this Mariner series, though when the Stanley Cup playoffs come around, I'll be watching the Canucks live and the Mariners on replay if there's a conflict. If Ian Snell gets lit up in the game (the chance is definitely greater than zero), I'll probably just watch the hockey game even though it has no bearing on Vancouver's seeding.
Gameballs (retroactive, 4.8.2010)
1) Rob Johnson
2) Casey Kotchman
3) David Aardsma
Snell. Braden. Tonight. Ouch.