Sunday, June 13, 2010
Well, this one was a game for seven and a half innings, but the end result is simple. The difference between the Mariners winning and losing was the difference between Cliff Lee being unstoppable and Cliff Lee being really good. On a team actually worth something, Lee should win in either scenario. In this game, he gave up three runs over seven innings, and that's just not good enough for a Mariner team with a dreadful offense. Like I said, it actually was a game into the eighth inning, but then Lee was pulled and the bullpen appeared. Not good.
-- the starting pitching will be discussed below
-- the first man out of the bullpen will be discussed below. Brandon League entered the game in the eighth inning with one out and runners on first and second with the Mariners down 4-1. League must nto have thrown the most swung-at-and-missed pitch of 2009, because Oscar Salazar then took him yard to make it 7-1, capping the scoring. League got the final two hitters out, but the game was effectively finished.
-- the bullpen rest bulletin: White and League threw in this game. Going into Sunday's game, Shawn Kelley and David Aardsma will have a day of rest, Garrett Olson will have two days of rest, Ian Snell will have three days of rest, and Chad Cordero will have four days of rest.
-- the Mariners managed to put a run on the board. In the second inning, Rob Johnson doubled with one out and Ichiro singled on an 0-2 pitch to drive Johnson home. That cut the Padres' lead to 2-1.
-- were there blown chances for the Mariner offense? Well, Ichiro singled, Chone Figgins walked, and Franklin Gutierrez walked to load the bases with nobody fricking out in the first inning. Jose Lopez grounded into a 5-2-3 double play, with Ichiro getting forced out at home and Lopez being out at first. Wade LeBlanc was told to give Milton Bradley the open base, and after Bradley was intentionally walked to re-load the bases, Josh Wilson flew out on the first pitch to end the inning. That's the kind of season it's been, folks. In the third, Lopez singled with one out (could have used that in the first) and was erased on a Bradley fielder's choice. Wilson singled to move Bradley to second, but Mike Carp flew out to end the inning. Nine straight Mariner hitters were retired before Carp doubled with two out in the sixth. Johnson was put aboard, but that was pure strategy since Lee was due to bat, and he whiffed to end the inning. In the eighth, Bradley walked with one out and he went to second on a Wilson single. Carp singled to load the bases, but then Michael Saunders whiffed. The bench sucks so bad that Casey Kotchman came in to hit for Lee, and he grounded to short to end the inning. In the ninth, Ichiro doubled to lead off, but the next three hitters made outs, though the team had just been put behind by six runs anyway.
-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Neither scored a run, but Ichiro had three hits and Figgins had one. The Mariners remain 10-3 when both players score, but are now 10-19 when they both collect hits.
The Mariners' leadoff hitter and rightfielder snapped out of a 2-for-20 slump with a single to lead off the game, and that keyed what should have been a first-inning rally for the Mariners, but it was not meant to be. Anyway, Ichiro went 3-for-5 in the game with a double and the Mariners' only RBI. He is now 87-for-254 (.343) on the season, putting him on pace for a 227-hit season. Ichiro singled on the game's first pitch, hit the RBI single with two out and a man on second in the second inning, grounded out with the bases empty to end the fourth inning, grounded out to lead off the seventh, and doubled to lead off the ninth inning. It's always a great day when Ichiro gets aboard three times and scores zero times. Just a wonderful team, this one is. If you're wondering, a 227-hit season would push Ichiro to a total of 2267 hits in ten seasons in the Major Leagues. Obviously, that would mean he'd be averaging 226.7 hits per season. If his pace gets a little better, he could be chasing down his 2500th hit in late 2011. The same pace would put him at 3000 hits in 2014, in which case he would be a lead-pipe cinch as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. If his health holds up, even with a slight adjustment for aging, I'm thinking he could get his 3000th hit before the end of the 2015 season. Of course, he'd turn 42 years of age a couple weeks after the end of the 2015 season.
2) Cliff Lee
It'd be ridiculous to think Lee should be throwing eight innings and giving up two runs or less every time he takes the mound. Unfortunately, that appears to be the level at which Lee needs to be in order to consistently win games for this team since they're so pathetic. As mentioned earlier, Lee went seven innings and gave up three runs on seven hits, walking a grand total of zero and striking out three. His average per-start line this season: 7 2/3 innings, 2.8 runs (2.4 earned), 6.7 hits, 0.4 walks, 6.7 strikeouts, 108 pitches (78 strikes), 7.2 groundouts, 7.2 flyouts. He averages 14.2 pitches per inning. His least efficient start of the year came in the 15-8 home win against the Padres, where he averaged 18.2 pitches per inning. His most efficient start came in the complete-game start in his previous start, where he averaged 11.9 pitches per inning. As we know, the Lee trade countdown is on. June 15th is within mere days, but I don't think he'll be traded by then. If you ask me, though, he can't be a Mariner by July 4th unless you're really convinced you can get a bidding war to ramp up the price. I don't really need or want talent that's already on the big-league level because I don't give a crap about this year.
3) Mike Carp
I have my doubts as to whether this guy will ever hack it as a starter at the Major League level, but he managed to go 2-for-4 with a double in the game. In limited action this season at the big-league level, he's hit .267, which is better than quite a lot of other Mariners this season. He's yet to do very much with any of his cups of coffee in the Majors. I guess I've just considered him completely unimpressive. The last time I used or thought that phrase, I was talking about Cha Seung Baek. Of course, Carp is not a pitcher. Jeremy Reed impressed me more as a player than Carp has to this point. Honestly, I kind of miss Reed even though he wouldn't have a spot on this team unless it was coming off the bench. How much worse would he be coming off the bench than Casey Kotchman? I wonder if the Mariners could trade Carp to the Hiroshima Carp for whoever Hiroshima's best player is?
I guess the one thing that irks me about the roster move -- Jesus Colome and Kanekoa Texeira were designated for assignment not long ago while Garrett Olson and White were recalled -- was that it seemed like too safe a move or too much of a move to familiarity. So Texeira was let go, and now we see Sean White having outings like this one. The Mariners trailed 3-1 in the eighth with the game still seemingly within reach to where maybe they could luck themselves into two runs to tie the game. White came into the eighth inning and didn't finish it. He gave up a leadoff double, and that runner (Will Venable) went to third on a bunt. Chase Headley then doubled Venable home to make it 4-3. After Adrian Gonzalez was walked to put the double play in order. He was then pulled from the game before Brandon League rightfully lit his ERA ablaze by giving up a homer to Oscar Salazar. That made it 7-1 to cap the scoring for the game.
Hernandez. Richard. Today.