Tuesday, June 01, 2010



I'll note that until I get a means to see the games where I currently am, these will totally be scourings of the boxscores and the play-by-plays. As for the game, the Mariners scored four times and got ten hits, but Doug Fister gave up three homers. I suppose there isn't really any shame into losing to a team with a record nearly the exact opposite of yours. This is why the Mariners had to take advantage of the piddly teams on their schedule, but the main problem with such an observation is that the Mariners themselves are piddly. I'm not sure if anyone remembers that whole three-game winning streak the Mariners had not too long ago. They had also won five of seven. Now, they've merely counteracted a three-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak. While .500 is better than what they're doing right now, it still sucks. If they play .500 ball the rest of the season, they'll end up 75-87, and that's no fun. At 19-31, this year's Mariners are one game worse than the 2008 pace and tied with the 2004 pace.

-- Doug Fister has been so good this season, his ERA is still a very good 2.45 (from 2.03) even after giving up five runs in this game. If someone told me Fister gave up three home runs in the game, I'd expect his groundout/flyout ratio to be a lot more wonky than usual. Fister had nine groundouts to eight flyouts in the game. In his ten starts this season, Fister has recorded double-digit groundouts six times. As for flyouts, Fister has recorded less than seven flyouts six times. Fister averaged 13.4 pitches per inning in this start, which is below his season average of 14.4, and he is the most efficient Mariner starting pitcher by this measure. I'm not sure how badly you can bash Fister for this game. All three of the homers came with two out, and two of the three were solo shots (the other was a two-run homer). Fister had just gotten a double-play ball in the fourth before Mike Cuddyer and Jason Kubel homered on consecutive pitches. The guy still went 7 2/3 innings (despite not breaking 100 pitches) and a deep start was something the bullpen really needed one night after Ian Snell made them work overtime.

-- with two out in the eighth, Don Wakamatsu pulled Fister for Ryan Rowland-Smith. The Aussie came on to face Joe Mauer and got him to fly out on a 2-0 pitch, ending the inning. Unfortunately, Rowland-Smith's luck ran out after just one hitter as he allowed a double and a single to start the eighth (Justin Morneau and Cuddyer) on just three pitches. Brandon League was summoned to put out the fire and keep the deficit at 5-3, which he did. He got three ground balls that led to outs, which is more like why he was brought to Seattle. Cuddyer, Kubel, and Delmon Young -- all three Twins who homered in the game -- were set down on two fielder's choices and a groundout.

-- the bullpen rest bulletin: Rowland-Smith and League threw in this game. Going into Tuesday's game, Jesus Colome, Kanekoa Texeira, Shawn Kelley, and David Aardsma will have a day of rest. In other words, the entire bullpen has thrown in the last two games.

-- what happened on offense that was good? In the third, Chone Figgins and Franklin Gutierrez hit back-to-back singles with one out. Milton Bradley's fielder's choice scored Figgins from third to put the Mariners on the board, down 3-1. In the fifth, Ichiro ignited the inning with an infield single, and he went to third on a Figgins single. Ichiro scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2, and Figgins went to second on the pitch and third on a Gutierrez flyout. Another groundout by Bradley got him another RBI, scoring Figgins to cut the Mariners' deficit to 5-3. In the ninth, Jose Lopez doubled to lead off, then Wilson singled to scored Lopez and make it 5-4.

-- what happened on offense that was bad? In the first, they managed only a Gutierrez double. In the second, Lopez and Wilson singled with one out and stayed there as Rob Johnson and Matt Tuiasosopo both went down swinging. In the fourth, a Wilson single wasn't enough to get the inning going. From the fifth to the eighth, 12 straight Mariners made outs (though two runs scored with the first two outs). In the ninth, after Josh Wilson had driven in Lopez, Rob Johnson was lifted in favor of Ken Griffey Jr., who erased Wilson from the basepaths with a ground ball and was lifted for Michael Saunders on the bases himself. Matt Tuiasosopo was then lifted for Casey Kotchman, who grounded into a double play to end the game. It's just the way, really.

-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro had a run and a hit in the game, and Figgins had two runs and two hits. The Mariners are now 9-3 when both players score and 8-16 when both players collect hits.

1) Josh Wilson
Batting from the seventh slot in the lineup, the Mariners' shortstop for the foreseeable future (I think if Jack Wilson comes back, they won't have him play every day for at least a couple weeks) went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the game. The reason I brought up Jack Wilson as well: Josh Wilson is hitting .300 right now with pretty regular playing time. I don't think it's a stretch to say Jack Wilson will never hit as well as a Mariner as Josh wilson has been hitting ever since he got called up earlier this season. Josh singled with Lopez on first and one out in the second inning. He then singled with an out and the bases empty in the fourth. He struck out as the second out of a 1-2-3 sixth inning, but with Lopez on second with nobody out in the ninth, Josh Wilson singled to drive in Lopez and bring the Mariners within one run at 5-4. Josh has an on-base percentage of .364 and a slugging percentage of .413. In sum, Josh Wilson has stepped up, Ichiro is himself, and Franklin Gutierrez is a better average hitter than last year, while pretty much every other Mariner hitter sucks.

2) Jose Lopez
The Mariners' third baseman went 2-for-4 with a double. His single came with one out in the second in an inning that should have gone somewhere. His double led off the ninth inning and he eventually scored the run that brought the Mariners within a run at 5-4.

3) Chone Figgins
The Mariners' second baseman went 2-for-4 in the game and scored two of the Mariners' four runs. He singled with one out in the third and ended up scoring the first Mariner run. He also singled with one out to move Ichiro to third in what ended up being a two-run inning that brought the Mariners to within two runs at 5-3. Figgins has a four-game hitting streak during which he's gone 6-for-15 with four runs and three walks. He might finally be above .200 for good. He was hitting .194 before this streak and is now at .211 with an on-base percentage of .324 (from .308) and a slugging percentage of .272 (from .255). I've said .260 is a realistic finishing mark for Figgins this season, and if he does that, it'll be fun because it means he'll be hitting pretty well the rest of the way. As bad as it's been this year, I really hope this guy does better in the remaining years of his contract. Know what? Figgins' molasseslike slow start reminds me of Adrian Beltre's first year in a Mariner uniform and how awfully slow he started.

Matt Tuiasosopo
Seriously, just reading the play-by-play of the ninth inning is depressing, and it speaks volumes as to how awful the bench is. The Mariners were down 5-4 with a man on first and nobody out. Rob Johnson's awful, so you don't want him to hit, but then Ken Griffey Jr. is also awful, so it's probably a wash. Maybe Johnson could actually get around on a Jon Rauch fastball? Anyway, after Griffey did his fielder's choice thing, Michael Saunders ran for Griffey, which wasn't the curious substitution off the bench. Tuiasosopo is terrible, so Casey Kotchman was brought in for him. How bad is it that Kotchman is considered an improvement off the bench from Tuiasosopo? Is it curious that Wakamatsu brought in two lefties to replace two righties against a righthanded pitcher? Anyway, Kotchman pulled the plug on the Mariners' rally, grounding into a double play. What to say about Tuiasosopo? The guy rarely has shown me this season that he even has a clue at the plate. That's concerning considering all the positives I heard about him in the minors had to do with his hitting because his defense was awful. What is he good at right now?

Blackburn. Vargas. Tonight.

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