Thursday, May 20, 2010



I was having a phone conversation going during most of the game and therefore was paying slightly less attention to the game than usual. In very basic terms, Doug Fister went eight innings and lost. Milton Bradley returned from the restricted list and Sean White was sent down to Tacoma. That move has the Mariners going with an 11-man pitching staff (six-man bullpen) for the first time since Ryan Langerhans was let go early on in the season. Yeah, this was another one-run loss, and no, it's not early anymore. This was the 40th game of the season for the Mariners, essentially the quarter-pole. Unless they make moves, this is your team. There is enough sample size. They pitch great, they can't hit, the defense isn't as good as we thought, the catcher's can't hit or catch, and the bullpen isn't anywhere near as good as last year (they were really good last year...unsustainably good).

-- the average per-game Mariner starting pitching line: 6 1/3 innings, 3.2 runs (2.8 earned), 6.6 hits, 2.7 walks, 5.8 strikeouts, 8.6 groundouts, 3.6 flyouts. Those stats could be massaged even more if I took out Ian Snell's numbers and Ryan Rowland-Smith's numbers, but then that'd just be too selective. The starting pitching in this game will be discussed below.

-- David Aardsma appeared in a game for the first time since May 14th. As you may expect, the closer isn't getting a lot of innings when the team is losing. Aardsma gave up only a leadoff double before setting down the next three hitters.

-- the bullpen rest bulletin: only Aardsma threw in this game. Going into tonight's game, Kanekoa Texeira, Shawn Kelley, and Brandon League will have a day of rest. Ryan Rowland-Smith and Jesus Colome will have two days of rest.

-- Chone Figgins' bunt to the pitcher with one out in the third moved Ichiro to second base. Ichiro at that point was the first Mariner runner to reach second base. The second runner to get to second was Josh Bard thanks to his leadoff double in the fifth. Bard then reached third on the seventh before scoring the first Mariner run. The point is that there weren't a lot of Mariner runners in scoring position until the seventh. Not that great a method to winning games.

-- Ichiro went 1-for-5 and drove in a run. He is now 58-for-166 (.349), this night sinking his batting average like a rock. Meanwhile, Chone Figgins went 1-for-4 and raised his batting average. Actually, even a 1-for-5 night would raise Figgins' batting average right now. Anyway, Ichiro is on pace for a 235-hit season.

-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro and Figgins had a hit apiece, though neither scored. As a result, the Mariners remain 7-2 when both players score and are now 6-12 when both players collect hits.

1) Doug Fister
Doug Fister did well again. Three runs on five hits over eight innings. He walked one and struck out five. He got 11 groundouts and seven flyouts. He retired the first six hitters he faced before getting touched up in the third. He gave up a leadoff double to Jose Bautista followed by a John Buck single. That looked dicey with nobody out, but the only run of the inning was driven in by a sacrifice fly. Fister was a bit less lucky in the fourth. A leadoff double was followed by consecutive one-out singles to make it 2-0 for Toronto, then Bautista walked to load the bases. Fister then hit Buck with a pitch to force in the 3-0 run. Fister barred the door at that point, getting the next two hitters out to end the inning. Fister then retired the final 12 hitters he faced. He gave this team more than a fighting chance to win.

2) Josh Wilson
He got two hits, scored one of the Mariners' two runs, and walked once. He's a .233 hitter in his few weeks with the big club, but .233 is a lot better than quite a few of his fellow hitters who have been in the lineup for the whole season. He singled to lead off the third inning, but was erased on Ichiro's fielder's choice grounder. After Josh Bard doubled to lead off the fifth, Josh Wilson walked to put two runners aboard with nobody out. The Mariners failed to score in that inning. In the seventh, Josh Wilsonp had a runner on first and one out and singled to move the runner (Bard) to third. The Mariners eventually plated two runs in the inning when Ichiro and Chone Figgins hit consecutive singles (whaaaa?!!?!).

3) Milton Bradley
The Mariner leftfielder got off the restricted list and went 2-for-4. He singled with the bases empty and two out in the fourth and got aboard with an infield single with one out in the eighth. Additionally, none of the outs he made ended up killing any rallies. There wasn't really any lack of clutch. I do have to confess, I put Bradley here despite the double near the warning track (I think it was the Bautista double, Toronto's first hit of the game) that looked like it landed really close to Bradley's feet to the point where you could debate whether or not it was catchable. Anyway, he got aboard twice, which is more than I expected for his first game back.

Mike Sweeney
He went 0-for-5. Come on. If they wanted that, they could have just put Ken Griffey Jr. out there. In the first, Sweeney grounded to the pitcher to end the inning, though he only had a runner on first with two out. He led off the fourth by popping out on the first pitch. He then led off the sixth by striking out. His unclutch moments, however, saved themselves for his final two at-bats. With two runs in, Sweeney ended the seventh with a popout to the second baseman. He had runners on second and third with two out (though Franklin Gutierrez had second and third with one out and struck out, and that's less clutch). Finally, with runners on first and second with two out, Sweeney ended the game with a flyout to pretty deep leftcenter. It's unfortunate enough to have Sweeney leading off two innings, but he also ended three innings. Weird night.

Romero. Vargas. Today.

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