Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday was almost like a day off. Saturday was a return to business as usual. The Mariners scored only once in the game and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They had runners on the corners and one out in the ninth and moved neither of the runners. They lost by one run. Welcome back, Mariners. I knew you hadn't gone away.
-- Ian Snell had enough rest for a regular start as he was the first man out of the bullpen in Ryan Rowland-Smith's last start. This wasn't Snell's best start of the season (his first start of the season probably was), but given what we would expect from a fifth starter, Snell did brilliantly. He gave up only one run on five hits in five innings, walking only one hitter. The only run came on a Matt Stairs rainmaker of a home run that went off the VisitLasVegas.com sign on the facade of the terrace level in rightfield. Stairs also had an 11-pitch at-bat in the second inning that ended in a strikeout. The home run made it 1-0 and the San Diego Padres never relinquished the lead. Snell allowed a double and a walk with one out in the third, but needed only three pitches to get the final two outs of the inning. That was really the only jam in which Snell found himself. Don Wakamatsu pulled the plug on Snell after five innings and only 83 pitches. It's weird considering Wakamatsu left Cliff Lee in too long on Friday night, and he pulled Snell too soon the next night.
-- Kanekoa Texeira was the first man out of the bullpen, coming into the game to start the sixth inning. Unfortunately, Chase Headley led off with a jamshot that ended up just inside the leftfield line for a double. He went to third on a groundout and scored when a dirtball appeared to go off the back of Josh Bard's glove and into foul ground on the third-base side. This scored Headley to make it 2-0, and the Padres had all the runs they would need to win. Texeira ended up walking Yorvit Torrealba. He then got a tailor-made double-play ball hit to Jose Lopez at third. Lopez fielded it cleanly and threw nicely to second, where Chone Figgins had the ball go off his glove. Luckily, Texeira recorded two outs with the final two pitches of the inning, getting a not-so-good safety squeeze bunt back to him (Bard had a throw go back to him at the plate, and he thought the runner was coming in, but in fact he could have had the runner hung up between third and home) and a groundout to second. Amazingly, the Mariners weren't burned for anything after the wild pitch.
-- the rest of the bullpen will be discussed below.
-- the bullpen rest bulletin: Texeira, Kelley, and League threw in this game. Going into Sunday afternoon's game, Jesus Colome will have a day of rest, David Aardsma will have three days of rest, and Ryan Rowland-Smith will have five days of rest.
-- blown Mariner scoring opportunities. The Mariners had runners on first and third with one out in the first, but failed to score. Josh Wilson doubled to lead off the third and couldn't even advance to third base. Finally, in the ninth, they had runners on the corners with one out again and failed to score, needing only one run to tie the game.
-- Ichiro went 2-for-4 and scored a run in the game, making him 62-for-178 (.348) on the season. The Mariners' leadoff hitter is now on pace to finish the season with 234 hits.
-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro had a 2-for-4 night, as did Figgins. Ichiro scored the only Mariner run of the game. As such, the Mariners are 8-2 when both players score and 7-13 when both players collect hits.
1) Mike Sweeney
If the Mariners just faced the Padres for the rest of the season, Sweeney might be fine with it. He went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI in this game. In the first two games of the series, Sweeney has gone 6-for-9 with two home runs and seven RBIs. Sweeney is now a .290 hitter with a .348 on-base percentage and a .565 slugging percentage. Don wakamatsu nonetheless will give Sweeney a day off on Sunday to rest his balky back. Thus, we'll have to hope Ken Griffey Jr. goes 4-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs. Does anyone even see that as a remote possibility? Sweeney drove in the only Seattle run of the game on a single that was laced pretty well into leftcenter. It was a two-out single that scored Ichiro.
2) Shawn Kelley
Kelley threw two shutout innings of relief in the seventh and eighth innings. He came in for the seventh. He allowed a one-out double to David Eckstein and had to intentionally walk Adrian Gonzalez before getting the next two hitters out to end the inning. Kelley then threw a 1-2-3 eighth. In other words, Shawn Kelley would have to descend deep into the abyss of suck and get sent down to Tacoma before he approached the suck level of Sean White this season.
3) Brandon League
I originally had Ichiro in this spot, but then realized he was picked off and caught stealing. League is getting back onto the non-suck wagon. His 1-2-3 ninth inning kept the Mariners within one run heading into the bottom of the ninth. He got a groundouts from Tony Gwynn's son, Will Venable, and David Eckstein. It remains to be seen whether League will again be used in the spots where Mark Lowe was usually used, but that requires the Mariners to be close or ahead late in the ballgames, and that really hasn't happened too often lately.
This isn't just for the 0-for-4 day with two strikeouts. The final strikeout was the dagger as Bradley in the ninth was ahead 3-1 in his at-bat, only to fail in his attempts to catch up to two fastballs. He was the hitter up with one out in the ninth and runners on the corners. Casey Kotchman hitting behind him had one less out to play with, but Bradley could have just hit a sufficiently deep fly ball to score the runner from third and tie the game.
Latos. Hernandez. Tonight.