Thursday, April 15, 2010
It took ten games, but the Seattle Mariners finally have their first winning streak of the season. The theatre was a little bit different this time. In the second inning, Jason Vargas left the first pitch a bit too high to Jake Fox, and Fox absolutely demolished the pitch, sending it past the wall in front of the batter's eye in centerfield. For four innings, the Mariner offense didn't score any runs, and they were frustrating in some completely harmless innings and also frustrating when baserunning mistakes occurred. Nonetheless, this was a great team win.
-- the Mariners' hits in Tuesday's game were mostly clumped around three or four of the Mariners' hitters. In this game, everyone in the starting lineup with the exception of Eric Byrnes and Matt Tuiasosopo recorded a hit. Ichiro and Figgins both got hits and both scored in the same game, making this the third time this season where the pair recorded hits and also the third time they both scored runs in the same game. Ichiro, Franklin Gutierrez, Jose Lopez, and Adam Moore (with his first two hits of the year) recorded two hits apiece. Milton Bradley was the designated hitter of the night, going 1-for-4 with a couple of strikeouts, but the one hit was the bat-shattering game-tying single in the fifth that game the Mariners some life.
-- Ichiro's 2-for-5 night bumped him up to 10-for-41 (.244) on the season. While it makes him warmer than he was before the game, it still only puts him on pace for a 162-hit season. Now if we only knew when he'd hit his stride and become Vintage Ichiro... Still, we did see the type of infield single in this game that only Ichiro can get, just a ball on which he barely laid the bat and it was placed in just the right spot where none of the catcher, pitcher, or third basemen could get to it and put enough on the throw to throw out Ichiro.
-- the offense went 11-for-33 as a team, which is pretty good. They drew six walks but struck out 11 times. The strikeouts were distributed around the lineup much like the hits were. Only Moore didn't strike out. I'll add that Chone Figgins and Eric Byrnes both walked twice. All those walks take the sting out of a combined 1-for-7 between them. Figgins scored two of the Mariners' four runs.
-- the great thing about the Mariners coming back to win is that it almost enables us to erase awful baserunning mistakes by Lopez and Bradley, both of whom had two hits. Lopez led off the second with a double, then took off for third on a ground ball to the mound. He was easily hung up between second and third and eventually tagged. Later that inning with runners on first and second and two out, Moore singled into centerfield. Bradley rounded third and appeared to freeze. The ball came back into second base, and the Oakland infielders easily were able to chase down Bradley. It was an inning of hairpulling/facepalm, that's for sure.
-- the bullpen rest situation: everyone will get Thursday off. On Friday, Brandon League and David Aardsma will have had a day of rest, Shawn Kelley and Sean White will have had three days of rest, Jesus Colome and Kanekoa Texeira will have had four days of rest, and Mark Lowe will have had five days of rest.
1) Jason Vargas
The great thing about the last two wins is that the Mariners got wins out of their fourth and fifth starters. Other than the Jake Fox smashball, the only other threat Vargas had to weather involved a Kurt Suzuki leadoff single in the fourth. Suzuki didn't reach second until the second out was recorded. I was hoping we'd see Vargas come out for the seventh and get a nice warm ovation after getting pulled (he'd thrown 89 pitches through six). However, Don Wakamatsu wanted to get some bullpen guys some work, and the Mariners had the day off tomorrow. Actually, the way the boxscore tells the story, it looks like Don Wakamatsu wanted to see if Brandon League could throw two innings more than he wanted to work the most rested guy in the bullpen, which was Mark Lowe.
2) Franklin Gutierrez
The guy keeps hitting. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and sits at .385 with three RBIs after 10 games. He still doesn't seem too pressured for being the number-three hitter in this lineup, but Wakamatsu has probably moved beyond the scope of using traditional number-three hitters in his lineup. The third slot is probably not where Wakamatsu would put his most powerful hitter, in part because the Mariners barely have any power at all. I really wonder, though, if Gutierrez would get bumped down in the against-lefties lineup if he hit .250 for a month or something.
3) Adam Moore
The Mariners' catcher-of-the-future-once-they-realize-Rob-Johnson-isn't-that-great finally got his first two hits of the season, and now he's hitting at a torrid .125 clip. Moore also gunned down Daric Barton at second base on a strike-'em-out/throw-'em-out double play. Hopefully Moore can start raking and racking up the extra-base hits. Haha. As it stands, the Mariners merely have one of the more uninspiring catching tandems in baseball.
It's too easy. He never got on base. One could argue the best way for him to get aboard right now is to bunt himself aboard, and he tried that in this game. The result? The ball bounced back up and hit him, and that's an automatic out. I hope the Mariners can get .240 out of this guy in the number nine slot of the lineup, but I'm not so sure. It used to be bad when Dan Wilson would torpedo the bottom of the lineup, and now it seems we just have another guy named Wilson who torpedoes the bottom of the lineup, and we have that in addition to whoever's catching. Sigh...
Bonderman. Hernandez. Tomorrow.