Wednesday, April 07, 2010



I won't try and pretend I wasn't half-watching this game and half-watching the Canuck telecast on the other channel, but I'll still crank something out here relating to the Mariners' 2-1 loss in 10 innings at Oakland. It's a bit of taking what I saw off the telecast and mixing it with some boxscore surprise.

-- It took until the second game of the season for a "Beltre has that" moment. Jose Lopez charged and cleanly fielded a ball to the left side in the bottom of the fourth, but the throw to first didn't beat Mark Ellis. I'd have to think hard to decide whether going from Mike Cameron to Randy Winn in centerfield was a bigger dropoff than going from Adrian Beltre to Lopez at third.

-- For all those years we watched Jamie Moyer befuddle hitters with slow stuff and changeups, the Mariners and their fans got it right back in their faces in the form of Dallas Braden, who had the changeup going all night. He struck out 10 Mariners in seven innings on 91 pitches, and he only walked one. Mariner hitting as a whole only saw 126 pitches, 41 less than the night before. Braden threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 25 hitters he faced, and I'm guessing the Mariners started swinging early in counts once it became apparent that he'd be throwing a bunch of strikes.

-- I've got a bit of a problem with how Don Wakamatsu put together this starting rotation. Felix Hernandez throws first, obviously. It just seems to me that the next guy should be the next best innings-eater. Thus, until Cliff Lee gets himself healthy, I think Ryan Rowland-Smith should be throwing the day after Felix. Why? To me, when Felix comes around in the rotation, that's the day the bullpen gets a bunch of rest. You need the bullpen the most for the fourth and fifth starters. In other words, I'd rather have Ian Snell throwing the day before Felix because he may not have a start this good for another month. My rotation right now would be Felix, Rowland-Smith, Fister, Vargas, and Snell. Hey, it has no back-to-back lefties, so it can't be all that hare-brained, right?

-- Coming out of spring training, Snell was the starting pitcher about whom I felt the least secure. I didn't know he could throw a 94mph fastball, so I learned that in this game. The only truly sketchy innings he had in his six-inning start were the first and the fourth. He hit Kevin Kouzmanoff with a runner on and two out in the first, then created a bases-loaded jam shortly after giving up the solo homer to Kurt Suzuki. He threw 100 pitches in his six innings. I'd take this start every time out from Snell, but I know this is pretty above average compared to what I think he's going to do for the rest of the season, which drifts more around five-plus innings with about three walks and four or five runs per start. Again, I think this is the guy you throw fifth to cash the bullpen so they can rest the next day when Felix throws.

-- Seriously, the Mariners might as well have been hitting a knuckleballer tonight. They had five hits for the game, four of them off Braden. The Mariners have combined for a mere 11 hits in their first two games. Of course, they walked eight times on Opening Night and only twice in this game, so that's a big difference.

-- Franklin Gutierrez went 2-for-3 with a walk and a double in his first appearance as the Mariners' number-three hitter in the lineup. I really liked his play last year and can't help but think he'll regress just a tiny bit, but I'm rooting for him to hit .300 and slug 20 homers. I was hoping he'd reach 20 last year, but he couldn't get past 18.

-- The sixth through ninth hitters in the Mariner lineup (Casey Kotchman/Eric Byrnes/Adam Moore/Jack Wilson) combined for a night of 0-for-16 madness with five strikeouts. Oddly, Byrnes saw 21 pitches in his plate appearances to go 0-for-4, whereas Moore saw only eight pitches to get his 0-for-4.

-- Am I really going to have to deal with a whole season of in-game cut-ins back to the FSN studio to Angie Mentink and/or Bill Krueger? It seems a little too intrusive and a little too contrived.

-- Also noticed that on HD feed (at least on Opening Night), FSN had a permanent tracer in the extreme lower right-hand corner of the screen. I'll not that I have multiple friends that think the tracer is full of crap and should be retired effective immediately.

-- In his Major League debut, Kanekoa Texeira gave us the cardiac testing we didn't necessarily need. He got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth, then allowed three singles in the ninth to end the game. He got five outs and gave up five hits.

Gameballs (retroactive, 4.8.2010)
1) Franklin Gutierrez

2) Ian Snell

3) Mark Lowe

Jack Wilson

Yeah, I don't really have any structure for these yet. Tonight, the epic battle between Rowland-Smith and Duchscherer.

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