Friday, April 09, 2010
The only way that one turn through the Mariners' rotation could turn out worse would be if Felix Hernandez lost and the rest of the rotation lost as well. A losing streak of five games would be worse. That said, Felix could lose on a Saturday afternoon, and there you go, that'd be a five-game losing streak. What shouldn't be a mystery to anyone is that if your team doesn't hit and doesn't get good pitching, you're just about guaranteed to lose, and so the Mariners did in a 6-1 loss in Arlington at the hands of the Rangers. It's just amazing. Other than Felix, no aspect of this club is picking up the slack for any other aspect of the club. Everything is pretty much sucking all at once.
-- I seem to have to do it every year, but once again I will rail against the distant, waaay-overhead dead-center cam that they've apparently decided to use in Texas this season. It's awful. Nothing's changed. Why the hell would you change something that wasn't broken? What the hell was wrong with the old camera angle? When ESPN did the Dead Center camera thing to prelude the K-Zone thing, I hated it then, and I hate it even more now. If the Mariners decided to go with that camera angle at Safeco Field, I would just listen to the radio for the home games. I seriously would. I hate the camera angle that much.
-- Since this game signified the day before Felix Hernandez throws, it's the day the Mariners can afford the most suckiness by the starting pitcher. Still, the Mariners wouldn't have complained with a starting pitcher going deep into the game after what they'd seen the two prior days (three if you want to bust Ian Snell for not getting into the seventh). By simply going through five innings with respectable results, Jason Vargas had succeeded in his start where Ryan Rowland-Smith and Doug Fister had not. Turns out, however, that both Vargas and Don Wakamatsu were operating on borrowed time because the wheels started to fall off the wagon, though not necessarily with Vargas himself. Before the sixth, the only real blemish on Vargas' outing was the Nelson Cruz solo shot, but since that's what Cruz does against the Mariners, no one batted an eyelash. Vargas allowed a one-out walk to Josh Hamilton before Vlad Guerrero doubled to drive in Hamilton and Cruz singled to plate Vlad and make it 3-1. I can't fault Vargas for what happened with his last hitter. Chris Davis hit a hard ground ball that Casey Kotchman very successfully stopped, but he didn't know where it was, and Davis reached safely, spelling the end of Vargas' outing. The Mariners were only down 3-1 when Vargas was pulled.
-- Then Shawn Kelley came in and lit Vargas' ERA ablaze, allowing dual two-out singles to score both of Vargas' runners. If Kelley holds the game to a 3-1 score at that point, the Mariners still have a fighting chance. Once it was 5-1, though, the Mariners were done like dinner.
-- Seriously, do you realize the Mariners just went into one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the Majors, and they only eked out two runs? At least it was on a home run, I guess. Congrats to Casey Kotchman for that. Big congrats to him as well for bouncing into a double play for the second straight game. Thank goodness for the home run, or else he'd just have the double-play groundout and the mishandled ground ball on his ledger for this game. Oh, and I'm pretty sure he blew a hit-and-run on a 2-0 count when Ichiro was gunned down trying to steal second. Kotchman looked like he half-offered at the ball but couldn't get himself to swing at it. It was a 1-1 tie at that point.
-- When one of the announcing crew's go-to stats this season for the Mariners is the innings-without-consecutive-hits stat, you know the offense has been bad. Similarly, Ichiro and Chone Figgins have only recorded hits in the same game once in these first five games (the Snell start). Tonight, Ichiro went 2-for-4 while Figgins went hitless (but with two walks). This team is not in sync, they're not clicking on all cylinders, they're (insert lack-of-synergy cliche here). They're also 6-for-30 with runners in scoring position.
-- The Mariner offense tallied six more hits, giving them a grand total of 32 on the season. They are averaging 6.4 hits per game. The two runs in this game bump the total to 15 runs, good for three runs per game. Yes, that's three runs and 6.4 hits every game for the offense. Sounds like conditions only in which Felix could possibly win. Hey, guess what's happened after one turn through the rotation?
-- The average line of a Mariner starting pitcher thus far: 5 1/3 innings, 3 runs (2.8 earned), 5.6 hits, 2.6 walks, 3.2 strikeouts. The problem, of course, is that the average Mariner starting pitcher is throwing 96.4 pitches in those 5 1/3 innings. The starting pitcher also gets an average of 7.4 groundouts and 4.6 flyouts, though the groundball number is heavily skewed by Felix and his 16:0 ratio for groundballs on Opening Night.
He is 5-for-19 through five games with a double and three walks. As we know, five hits through five games means 162 hits through 162 games. Unfortunately, this would mean something less than 200 hits for Ichiro, which would break the streak. Of course, it's still only been five games. Another sign of awful anemic offense: Ichiro has crossed the plate only twice in five games, and likewise with Chone Figgins.
2) Franklin Gutierrez
He was 1-for-4, made a diving catch, and made a running catch. Not that a running catch for Gutierrez is news or anything. Gutierrez is 7-for-18 with two doubles and an RBI on the season. The .389 batting average leads all Mariner regulars. Actually, put it this way -- Gutierrez has seven of the Mariners' 32 hits this season.
3) Casey Kotchman
Though I spent a couple sentences bashing him above, Kotchman nonetheless hit the Mariners' third home run of the season to cap the Mariners' scoring in this game. He drove in the only other Mariner run as well, doing so via groundout.
I guess what makes this kinda hurt is I saw Carlos Silva had a not-too-bad outing for the Cubs tonight while Bradley has one hit through five games. Bradley's not the only Mariner popping fly balls straight into the air that have no chance of falling for hits, but it can sorta stop anytime now. It's gotten past old.
Hernandez. Harrison. Tomorrow.