Thursday, May 06, 2010
Due to my watching a much more important game (i.e., watching the Canucks fritter away their home-ice advantage in the playoffs), this will pretty much be a boxscore analysis. It hurts to miss watching a Cliff Lee start, and though I likes me some hockey too, I was still hoping the replay of the Mariner game on FSNNW would start right after the postgame show. Instead, it was WHL playoffs. Though noble, it wasn't what I wanted to see after I'd already watched Canuck futility. In Marinerland, however, today came the news that Milton Bradley's going to be away from the team for a few days, keeping a roster spot while getting professional help. Other notable times when a Mariner manager has played with a 24-man roster: Lou Piniella in 2002 with Luis Ugueto as the 25th player, if you could call him that.
-- the starting pitching will be discussed below. Cliff Lee eats innings for breakfast.
-- the bullpen got a good share of rest thanks to Lee's eight-inning outing (and thanks to the Rays swinging at Lee's first pitch something like 14 times, a stat passed along by Bill Krueger on the Mariner postgame show). Sean White came in for the ninth to bury the game for good. He got only one out, but he couldn't do so until facing his fifth hitter. His five hitters did, in order: walk, double (the 5-2 run), walk, walk (passed ball advances runners into scoring position on one of the balls), sacrifice fly (6-2 run). At this point, Don Wakamatsu pulled White and put in Kanekoa Texeira. A grounder for a fielder's choice got the second out and scored the 8-2 run before Texeira mercifully struck out Carlos Pena to end the inning.
-- the bullpen rest bulletin: White and Texeira worked in this game. Going into Thursday's game, Brandon League and Jesus Colome will have one day of rest, David Aardsma and Mark Lowe will have three days of rest, and Ian Snell will have eight days of rest.
-- let's see what pops out from the boxscore on the offensive side. Franklin Gutierrez hit the homer that put the Mariners in a 2-0 lead, and the homer was the Mariners' first in about a week and a half. With Bradley out, Casey Kotchman was moved back into the third slot for the first time in a few weeks, and Gutierrez hit fourth. Jose Lopez was bumped down to sixth. The Mariners' third baseman was 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, as was Josh Wilson. Josh Wilson came in for Jack Wilson to start the fourth inning. Jack Wilson experienced hamstring tightness at some point between bunting for a base hit, running to second on a groundout, and running out an Ichiro ground ball in the bottom of the third. Ken Griffey Jr. is listed as hitting a double, which the ESPN.com play-by-play says was a "ground-rule double to deep right," more than likely meaning he hit the ball hard, which is encouraging if true.
-- the Mariners got six hits in the game, and usually they wouldn't get three runs from that many hits. Big thanks to the Gutierrez home run to enable that.
-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat: Ichiro had a hit, though Figgins did not. Neither player scored a run. The Mariners remain 7-1 when both players score and 4-6 when both collect hits.
1) Franklin Gutierrez
The Mariners' centerfielder was slotted fourth and went 2-for-4 on the night, driving in the only Mariner runs. His two-run homer to rightfield came in the fourth inning, and the 2-0 lead last just a few minutes as the Rays tied the game in the next half-inning. He also singled to lead off the futile semi-rally in the ninth which got the Mariners their third and final run. His other two at-bats ended in outs which didn't occur with anyone on base and therefore cannot be described as unclutch. Gutierrez is a .343 hitter with a .397 on-base percentage and a .505 slugging percentage (up .030 from one night earlier, greatly helped by the home run). I can't help but think how good the Mariners' record might be if they just had one bat going about 80% as hot as Gutierrez.
2) Cliff Lee
He really only had two innings where things got away from him. In the fifth, he caught Pat Burrell looking to lead off, but that was followed by three straight hits. Dioner Navarro doubled, then scored on Gabe Kapler's single, pulling the Rays to within one run at 2-1. Jason Bartlett then doubled to score Kapler to tie the game at 2-2 before Lee buckled down and got the final two outs of the inning. Lee set down the next nine hitters including the first out of the eighth. Carl Crawford started the dagger rally with a single, then reached second on a Ben Zobrist bunt single (I'll guess it was a well-placed sacrifice that had no play). What followed were three run-scoring plays. Longoria singled to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead. Pena lined out to short, but then Josh Wilson's throwing error (I'll guess he threw wide trying to double off one of the runners) scored Zobrist to make it 4-2. Bossman Junior Upton then singled to make it 5-2 before Burrell flew out to finally end the inning. So, Lee allowed three of his 10 hits in the fifth and four of hits in the eighth. I don't think it's too early to wonder if Lee will be on this team past mid-July, let alone next season, and it's no fault of his.
3) Ryan Langerhans
In his first start since being called up from Tacoma a few days ago, Langerhans played left and walked twice on his 0-for-2 day. It must have been a bit devastating for him after the first week of the season, getting sent down since the Mariners' starting pitching was so awful they needed an extra arm in the bullpen. I was surprised he cleared waivers and surprised he took the assignment to Tacoma. He's got a starting job for the next week or so, it seems. We know he has extra-inning walk-off power. He's not going to drive in 100 runs or anything, but it is what it is.
Let's see if there are unclutch moments on the Lopez ledger for this game. In the fourth, Griffey somehow managed to get himself onto second base with one out, and Lopez could only muster a grounder that got Griffey to third. In the ninth, with Griffey on first and one out, Lopez flew out to center. Of course, with the Mariners down 8-2, it didn't really matter at that point. Anyway, Lopez needs to warm up, but it seems like I've been saying this for weeks. Is it going to happen or what? Everyone's waiting. Lopez is currently hitting .216 with an on-base percentage of .241, the worst out of all the regulars in the Mariner lineup. He's slugging .279, which is lower than even Jack Wilson and Rob Johnson.
Niemann. Rowland-Smith. Tonight.