Sunday, April 18, 2010



After a topsy-turvy week or so (including a death in the family and a bout with the flu), Ian Snell made his first home start. Unfortunately for the 30419 in attendance, the Tigers had all the runs they needed pretty early in the game. Right now, I'd have to say if you go through the Mariners' rotation and try to pick one pitcher whose game has the biggest chance of ending up in a Mariner loss, it's any Ian Snell start. As such, even though I knew it was Max Scherzer throwing for Detroit as opposed to Justin Verlander, it was Ian Snell throwing for the Mariners. Anyway, the result was pretty much what I expected, and the Mariners dropped back below .500. The timely hitting wasn't quite as prevalent for the Mariners as it was in the four previous games.

-- I guess I'll first write about Ian Snell. On purpose, I don't listen to or watch any postgame analysis or anything like that. I do that in effort to keep my take somewhat original. Taking that into account, Snell finished with 85 pitches after five innings. There are probably quite a few reasons why he was pulled even though he probably could have at least came out for the sixth inning. One reason: Snell had given up four walks. Another reason: Snell registered three groundouts to eight flyouts, and a fly ball gone wrong was the Magglio Ordonez three-run homer that got Detroit all the runs they needed. Another reason: I'm guessing Snell wasn't doing a lot of physical exercise or conditioning when he left the team to be with his family, so maybe they figured he couldn't last quite as long, and the flu wouldn't have helped. Another reason: Snell put the leadoff hitter aboard in each of the first four innings, and Ordonez burned him for it in the third inning. In case no one has been able to tell, when Cliff Lee comes back, I want Snell to be the first guy bumped from the rotation because he impresses me the least. When Erik Bedard comes back, I'd probably lean toward Jason Vargas getting the bump even though I like him more than Doug Fister. That'll come down to Bedard being a lefty and Vargas also being a lefty. Plus, Fister eats up more innings than Vargas.

-- the average per-start line for a Mariner starter: 5 2/3 innings, 2.8 runs (2.5 earned), 5.2 hits, 2.3 walks, 3.7 strikeouts, 95 pitches (60 strikes), 6.8 groundouts, and 5.7 flyouts. The average per-start line for Mariner starters sans Felix Hernandez: 5 2/3 innings, 2.8 runs (2.6 earned), 5.3 hits, 2.1 walks, 3 strikeouts, 92 pitches (58 strikes), 5.5 groundouts, 6.7 flyouts.

-- in the writeup for Saturday's game, I said it was a lead-pipe cinch that Jesus Colome was going to throw in this game. While that did come true, I kinda thought Colome would be the first guy out of the bullpen. Instead, that honor went to Kanekoa Texeira. In his first Mariner home appearance, he allowed only a one-out walk. Sean White threw the seventh inning, allowing a leadoff infield single to Johnny Damon as his only hit. Damon went to second when Wilson tried to make a throw he probably shouldn't have made to first base. One groundout later, Damon was on third, and White intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera before Carlos Guillen hit into the nice double play to end the inning. Jesus Colome had a turbulent eighth inning, walking Brandon Inge on four pitches to lead off, then allowing a double to Avila to put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Colome got Scott Sizemore to ground out, then got Ramon Santiago (awesome former Mariner...ha) to ground to third, where Lopez threw home and Adam Moore tagged out Inge. Colome couldn't quite get out of the jam, though, giving up a jamshot of a single to Austin Jackson to score Avila for the important insurance run to make it 4-2. Colome allowed another walk to Damon for good measure (though not if you believe the almighty EQC Tracer) before Ordonez whiffed to end the inning. Colome threw 33 pitches of madness, only 16 of which were strikes. Shawn Kelley threw a scoreless ninth, allowing a leadoff Cabrera double and a two-out walk to Inge, but also getting a double play to end the inning.

-- the bullpen rest bulletin: Texeira, White, Colome, and Kelley all worked in this game. Going into Monday's game, the three remaining bullpen arms -- Brandon League, Mark Lowe, and David Aardsma -- will all have had one day of rest from having pitched in Saturday's game.

-- Mariner pitchers issued a combined nine walks (one intentional) in this game. The Tiger offense amassed nine hits in the game.

-- the Mariner defense turned in a couple of key plays. With runners on first and second with nobody out in the fourth inning, Casey Kotchman nicely played a bunt and went to third for the force on nepotism beneficiary Alex Avila. That play helped keep the score at 3-1. In the seventh, with runners on the corners and one out, Chone Figgins covered a wicked hop and started a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

-- how many outs are we comfortable with the Mariner offense making on the basepaths? Figgins was out trying to steal second base, ending the first inning. There were already two out, so I guess you could say he was trying to make something out of next to nothing. If nothing else, Lopez got a fresh count to work with for the next inning. On the play that staked the Mariners out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, Eric Byrnes really should not have tried to score on the play, but he did, and his only hope to score was to try to bowl over the catcher to jar the ball loose. Pretty much fail. Granted, Adam Moore and Jack Wilson were the next two hitters, so no more runs were probably going to score anyway. In the sixth, Ichiro led off with a single and took off on contact when Figgins hit a line drive to rightfield. Unfortunately, the speed and trajectory of the line drive were just perfect for Ordonez to make the catch and throw back to first to double off Ichiro. I can't help but think if the Mariners just avoid having one of the three aforementioned situations end with outs, maybe it changes the complexion of the game a little bit.

-- other than those weird baserunning happenings I just addressed, the Mariners really only had one tailor-made blown chance offensively, and that came in the eighth. The Mariners were down 4-2 and had the inning set up perfectly for the meat of the order to do what it's supposed to do. Jack Wilson was better than worthless, legging out an infield single to lead off. Ichiro drew a walk, then Figgins bunted the runners over 90 feet, though I'm not sure that's the thing to do when down two runs. I could maybe understand it if they were playing for one run to try and tie or take the lead, but this was not that time. Anyway, Franklin Gutierrez took a 1-2 pitch for strike three in probably his most unclutch moment of the season, not that there have been many. Jose Lopez came up, now with two out, and flew out. It's a new situation for Gutierrez, but that situation was nothing new for Lopez, who this team is depending on for some home runs and some RBIs. Lopez has a double as his only extra-base hit of the season so far, and he's driven in a grand total of three runs.

-- Ichiro had a 1-for-3 day with a walk, putting him at 16-for-52 (.308) on the season. With 16 hits in 13 games, Ichiro is on pace to finish the season with 199 hits. Well, that's just not going to hack it. It's hilarious that a .306 average won't hack it, but hey, this team's paying Ichiro that kind of money for a reason.

-- time for the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro got the only hit between him and Figgins, and neither player scored. Ichiro and Figgins have scored in the same game five times and gotten hits in the same game four times after 13 games (note: I had erroneously stated three times for this in the Saturday writeup). Not surprisingly, the Mariners are a perfect 5-0 when both Ichiro and Figgins score (i.e, the team has obviously scored at least two runs in those games), but they're a mere 2-2 when both players get hits.

-- should I bring it back? Oh, what the hay...

Team W L pct GB
2001 10-3 .769 --
2002 10-3 .769 --
2000 8-5 .615 2
2009 8-5 .615 2
2003 7-6 .538 3
2010 6-7 .462 4
2006 6-7 .462 4
2005 6-7 .462 4
2008 6-7 .462 4
2007 5-8 .385 5
2004 5-8 .385 5

1) Casey Kotchman
He was 2-for-3, drove in both of the Mariners’ runs, homered, and made the nice defensive play on the bunt, a play that helped keep the game within reach. He now hits a respectable .263 and is the second Mariner on the season with multiple home runs (Bradley is the other).

2) Eric Byrnes
Despite his problems with the sun in leftfield, he went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk and honestly, I don’t know how long it’ll be before he puts up a boxscore line as good as this one. He played left in this game while Milton Bradley rested a calf ailment and came in only for pinch-hit duty.

3) Ichiro
He was 1-for-3 with a walk, though he did get caught on the Figgins line drive to rightfield. This wasn’t the easiest game to pick three gameballs for, let me tell you that much. Ichiro is now a .308 hitter with a .368 on-base percentage.

Jose Lopez
He was 0-for-4 and has a number three in the LOB column in the boxscore. I keep waiting for this guy to start racking up some extra-base hits, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting… A friend pointed out to me that he really hated Lopez being at third base instead of second because it’s ruining his trade value. I’m beginning to buy into that. If they moved Lopez to second and he started hitting again, I’d swap Figgins and Lopez in a heartbeat.

Bergesen. Fister. Tomorrow.

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