Saturday, May 08, 2010



I didn't watch this game, and once I had found out Felix Hernandez had his second straight bad outing, I didn't exactly do everything I could to watch the replay. I watched the Vancouver Canucks try to tie a second-round playoff series at 2-2, but I was disappointed there as well. It was another all-lose night of sports, replicating the one from two nights earlier which also involved both teams. Yes, it's 18 scoreless innings and counting for the Mariners' offense. At least when this team's bad, they really go for the gusto and shoot for the record books. They might as well be historically bad if they're bad. The Mariners were being no-hit by Jered Weaver through 6 2/3 innings until Ken Griffey Jr. hit a single to right that captivated Mariner fans across the Northwest. Or not. By that point, I'm usually thinking evil and hoping the no-hitter comes to fruition because rock bottom for this offense can't come soon enough. The Mariners also got a double in the eighth off the bat of Michael Saunders, doubling and ending the Mariners' hit output for the night. In the department of roster moves of which I was unclear a couple days ago, Mark Lowe was put on the disabled list and Shawn Kelley came up in his place. Also, Milton Bradley's placement on the disabled list resulted in the recall of Michael Saunders from Tacoma.

-- the starting pitching will be discussed below. It's a bit disheartening knowing that the game was basically over with two out in the top of the first inning. This team won't score five runs. I hope 37602 fans were happy with their Griffey '95 Slide bobbleheads, because the fate of this game was sealed less than 20 minutes into the game.

-- most of the bullpen will be discussed below. Brandon League threw a scoreless seventh inning, walking one. He issued a one-out walk to Kendry Morales, but fielded a groundout from Torii Hunter, got Hideki Matsui swinging, and got a groundout to third from Juan Rivera. In other words, no balls got to the outfield off of League. That's good, and I have to reach to get good things out of the boxscore and play-by-play for this game.

-- As mentioned, Ken Griffey Jr. broke up Jered Weaver's no hitter with two out in the seventh inning. A 1-for-4 night raised Griffey's batting average to .216, his on-base average to .266, and his slugging percentage to .243. I'm really starting to wonder how on earth he nearly hit 20 homers last year.

-- Since I didn't goat any of the hitters on offense, I still have to address how bad they were. The first four hitters in the Mariner lineup combined to go 0-for-14 with two walks and four strikeouts. Of course, the positive to all of this is that the Mariners didn't stink with runners in scoring position in part because there were rarely runners in scoring position. It's just a wonderful thing when your problems with runners in scoring position can be precluded by the fact that you can't get baserunners aboard at all. It's just grand. For the record, Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez, Josh Wilson, and Saunders drew walks. Figgins even stole a base. Runners were aboard on second and third with one out in the eighth, but Ichiro whiffed and Figgins popped to short to make sure the Mariners stayed off the scoreboard in the run column. Zero's a nice round number, after all.

-- Ichiro was 0-for-4, making him 37-for-120 (.308) on the season. This puts him on pace for a 207-hit season. This team needs many things to be a winning team and a contending team for the division title, and having Ichiro hit significantly higher than .308 is one of them.

-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. No Mariners scored runs, and Ichiro and Figgins had neither of the two Mariner hits in the game. Thus, the Mariners remain 7-1 when both players score and 4-7 when they both get hits.

1) Michael Saunders
I was displeased when hearing Saunders came up when Bradley was put on the restricted list. I understand the need for needing another outfielder, but Saunders wasn't exactly tearing the cover off the ball in Tacoma, but worse yet, he's left-handed...and so is Ryan Langerhans. If nothing else, I guess this means more pinch-hitting opportunities for Mike Sweeney, so I guess it's not all bad. In this game, however, Saunders doubled (an extra-base hit? For the Mariners?!!?!) and walked, making him the only Mariner that reached base (without making an out) twice. Being from Victoria, he probably played through the game and hoped the Canucks had pulled off Game 4 at home, then got into the clubhouse after the game and was thoroughly disappointed.

2) Kanekoa Texeira
It may show in the boxscore as two completely meaningless shutout innings in a runaway game for the opposition, but for Texeira it was one of his best outings of the season. Texeira went six up and six down, having only Brandon Wood reaching the outfield with a flyout to center for the second out of the eighth inning. The flyout was sandwiched between a groundout and a strikeout. Texeira got three groundouts in the ninth. The Luis Ugueto Experience soured me for a while on Rule 5 draft picks, but I don't mind this Texeira so far, and I think I'll be able to withstand having this guy in the bullpen for the full season.

3) Jesus Colome
The bar's not too high for gameballs in this game, so Colome gets the third one despite walking two hitters in 2 2/3 innings. Of course, I wouldn't be complaining too much if he gave up two hits instead and walked none. That's kind of how I have to look at this, however, because he threw 2 2/3 innings of no-hit, shutout baseball, striking out three along the way. I still do think it's hilarious that Don Wakamatsu tends to only throw Colome and Texeira when they're losing or down by a lot, whereas your David Aardsmas and Mark Lowes of the world only pitch when the Mariners are winning or tied. I'm not sure it's bad enough to where you could just show me a list of pitchers who pitched in the game and I'd be able to guess who won, but it's getting there.

Felix Hernandez
Okay, I know the offense didn't do anything in this game, and I know they've been held scoreless in 18 innings. As we know, however, if the starting pitching is bad, there's nothing the offense can do even on their best day. Much like the Canucks just minutes earlier had given up a goal 18 seconds into what was basically a must-win home playoff game, Felix Hernandez got torched in the first inning. Three runs were on the board before he recorded an out. A walk, single, walk, and a double made it a 3-0 game after four hitters. He got the next three hitters out, but the second out was a sacrifice fly that made it 4-0. Hernandez looked to have barred the door, retiring the next six Angels. He then had an 0-2 count on Hidekl Matsui to start the fourth, but walked him. Juan Rivera did his usual Mariner killing, homering to make it 6-0. Howie Kendrick homered two pitches later to make it 7-0. Felix then got a strikeout from Brandon Wood, but then gave up a homer to Ryan Budde to cap the scoring for the entire game. Realistically, though, the game was over in the top of the first inning since the probability of this team scoring five runs is incredibly low. The offense is crap, but it'd be completely naive right now to expect the offense to ever bail out a starting pitcher having a substandard outing.

Saunders. Fister. Tonight.

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