Friday, June 11, 2010



I had a lawn to mow on Thursday afternoon, so I got to the house and did that, missing the game entirely. I mowed the whole time thinking it'd be quite the riot if I got back to the computer only to see the Mariners had been clobbered again. Hey, wouldn't you know it, they got blasted again. They gave up another dozen runs. While Ryan Rowland-Smith was bad, some defensive gaffes helped set the game ablaze, leading to a whopping eight unearned runs. Something's always wrong, as Toad the Wet Sprocket once told us all. When the Mariners were in the middle of their eight-game tailspin in early May, I thought there was no way Cliff Lee should be a Mariner beyond July 4th. A week or two later, I was definitely in the school of thought saying they should use a few extra weeks (and a few extra starts) as some leverage and move Lee by June 15th. Some team's gotta really want Lee, and they're going to have to pay more than two sandwich picks at the end of the first round to get him. If Jack Zduriencik only does one thing right for the rest of the year, it's to get a good haul from a Cliff Lee deal.

-- the starting pitching is addressed in the entries. The average per-start line for Rowland-Smith: 5 innings, 4.5 runs (3.8 earned), 6.6 hits, 2.2 walks, 2.1 strikeouts, 86 pitches (54 strikes), 5.5 groundouts, 5.6 flyouts.

-- the first man out of the bullpen was Brandon League, who came in with two aboard and two out in the sixth. He got a grounder from his first hitter, Kinsler, but Josh Wilson had it get past him. With two on and two out, Guerrero singled to plate Young and make it 8-3. Josh Hamilton did the infield single thing, plating Kinsler to make it it 9-3. Smoak rang himself a double to plate the previous two hitters and make it 11-3. Finally, David Murphy singled to score Smoak and cap the scoring at 12-3. Funny that no runs were scored by either team in the final three innings of the game.

-- the bullpen rest bulletin: League, Kelley, and Olson threw in this game. Going into Friday's game, Luke French and Sean White will have a day of rest, Chad Cordero will have two days of rest, and David Aardsma will have four days of rest.

-- oh, the offense. There was so much of it, after all. Tommy Hunter, whoever the frick that is, held the Mariners' lineup to a mere five hits. Michael Saunders and Chone Figgins had two hits apiece, and Mike Carp had the other hit. Carp also walked once, and Ryan Langerhans walked twice out of the second spot in the lineup. In the third, Saunders led off with a single and went to third on a Figgins single. Saunders scored on the same play when Borbon airmailed the throw to third trying to get Saunders and threw way too high. That put the Mariners on the board, down 3-1. One out later, Langerhans walked, then Franklin Gutierrez hit a deep fly ball that scored Figgins from third to bring the Mariners tantalizingly close at 3-2. That score held for a matter of minutes. In the fourth, Rob Johnson was hit with a pitch to start a two-out ruckus for the Mariners. Saunders singled to move Johnson to third, and Figgins then singled to score Johnson and bring the Mariners to within a grand slam of a tie game at 7-3.

-- were there blown chances for the Mariner offense? In the fifth, Langerhans drew a leadoff walk and only advanced when he stole second base with two out. In the sixth, Carp hit a leadoff single and was erased on a Johnson double-play ball. That was it. Texas pitching retired the final 11 Mariner hitters they faced, and somehow Darren Oliver, apparently an ageless wonder, threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the side.

-- Ichiro went 0-for-4 in the game, striking out three times. Even at his best, Ichiro wouldn't have been able to ignite this team to score nine more runs and tie this game. He is now 83-for-244 (.340) on the season and is on pace to finish with 224 hits. The pace has to get some speed.

-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro went hitless and didn't score in the game, while Figgins went 2-for-3, scored a run, and drove in another run for the Mariners in the game. Thus, the Mariners remain 10-3 when both players score and 10-18 when they both collect hits.

1) Michael Saunders
He went 2-for-4 in the game. He didn't make any egregious errors. He's from Victoria, British Columbia. He played leftfield. He wears number 55 on his back, but I wonder when he'll finally sit down and pick a hitters' number to go onto the back of his jersey. Saunders hit well when he first came back to the big club earlier this season. Since then, he's been running hot and cold with the bat. That said, he's had more hot that Milton Bradley

2) Shawn Kelley
After the two worst outings of his Major League career, Kelley threw a benign seventh inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Julio Borbon on the first pitch, but then got the next three hitters in order. Garrett Olson pitched a good eighth inning, not that the pressure was anything about which to write home. He gave up a two-out double to Smoak, but that was it. I absolutely have faith in Kelley turning himself around.

3) Garrett Olson
The Mariners' all-around lefty reliever pitched a good eighth inning, not that the pressure was anything about which to write home. He gave up a two-out double to Smoak, but that was it. I can't help but think how many of these games would have turned out if French and Olson were starting instead of Ian Snell and Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Ryan Rowland-Smith
It's not all him, but he can still be blamed. He got touched up right away in the first, giving up back-to-back singles to lead off before getting as 1-6-3 double-play ball. Unfortunately, that's when Vladimir Guerrero singled score the leadoff runner and make it 1-0 for Texas. Then Josh Hamilton vaporized a pitch, sending it 450 feet to score Guerrero and make it 3-0. In the third, Michael Young led off with a solo shot that made it 4-2 for Texas. The Aussie allowed another single and walk before recording the first out of the inning. Then came a key moment -- Justin Smoak grounded what should have been a double-play ball to Chone Figgins. Instead of the inning ending on a double play, Ian Kinsler scored from second on the play to make it 5-2 for Texas. A fielder's choice then scored Guerrero, and it was 6-2, Matt Treanor (also Mister Misty May) then singled to score David Murphy from second (Murphy stole his way to second) and make it 7-2. The Rangers never looked back. Finally came the sixth. Young singled with one out to chase the Aussie, and the inning unfolded after he left.

Vargas. Correia. Tonight.

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