Monday, June 14, 2010
when the most notable occurrence during the game was Albert Pujols getting earholed on a throw to the plate by Jose Lopez, you know it was a bad game. At long last, the Mariners, thanks to this nationally televised game, are now known far and wide as an embarrassingly bad team. The only way this could have been worse would be if that series in Arlington was nationally televised. Though the Cardinals with this win are only 35-29, I don't expect them to do anything other than sweep the Mariners in this three-game series. Thursday's off day can't come soon enough for the Mariners. They won't lose on Thursday. All in all, the Mariners have fallen to 24-40, 16 games under .500. That pace is two games worse than the 2004 team and only one better than the 2008 team. I got to see the game tonight, but over the past couple weeks I haven't been able to see many games, but I feel like I'm not really missing anything. Still, there always exists a chance that you may be rewarded even when watching a crappy team. The Mariners were pretty bad a few years ago when Ichiro made the Spider-Man catch. That was a pretty crap game, too, if I remember correctly. Still, those are the moments that keep you coming to the game of baseball, no matter how crappy the team is and even though it's against your better judgment.
-- Luke French wasn't a complete wreck. He did about what I expected, though I was hoping he wouldn't get pulled that quickly. Still, Don Wakamatsu figured it prudent to pull French in the fifth inning with his spot coming up in the batting order, despite having thrown only 60 pitches. It wouldn't have been so bad at first, since Chad Cordero was the first guy warming up in the bullpen. However, that unfortunately changed, and the first man out of the bullpen ended up being Ian Snell (more on Snell later). The Mariners spotted him a 2-0 lead before French threw a pitch, but he gave it all back and more in the bottom half of the inning. Matt Holliday drew a one-out walk and Albert Pujols singled before Ryan Ludwick unloaded, homering to put the Cardinals into a 3-2 lead, and they didn't look back. French allowed only a one-out double in the second, but was otherwise unscathed in the inning. In the third, French allowed a leadoff single to Holliday, who moved to third when Pujols was nailed trying to stretch a single into a double. Ludwick hit a deep-enough fly ball to score Holliday and make it 4-2 for Saint Louis. In the fourth, French allowed only a one-out walk, though it was to the pitcher Adam Wainwright. He threw one more pitch than he should have because Josh wilson muffed a routine grounder with two out. Still, that was it for French.
-- now, the bullpen. Snell's outing will be discussed way below. Chad Cordero threw the seventh inning. He walked Colby Rasmus on four pitches to start the inning, but got a lineout and a double-play ball to end the inning. Three hitters and three outs -- not bad for Cordero. Sean White came on for the eighth inning and did Sean White-like things. He allowed a leadoff single to Brendan Ryan, followed one out later by a Holliday single. Pujols then singled to make it 9-3 to cap the scoring for the game. Nothing like one run on three hits in 19 pitches. The game was far gone by that point, however, so White can only be piled upon so much.
-- the bullpen rest bulletin: Snell, Cordero, and White threw in this game. Going into Tuesday's game, David Aardsma will have a day of rest, Brandon League will have two days of rest, Shawn Kelley will have three days of rest, and Garrett Olson will have four days of rest.
-- as for the hitting, the Mariners had six hits and the gameballs below account for five of the six hits. The only other hit was a two-out double by Milton Bradley with the bases empty in the first. Were there any blown chances? Chone Figgins got himself an infield single with one out in the third, but that got nowhere. Figgins walked to lead off the sixth and went to second on an error, but Jose Lopez then grounded into a 5-3 double play that left Franklin Gutierrez on second, virtually ending the scoring threat. At that point, the Mariners were down 8-2 so it was only so much of a scoring threat to begin with.
-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. They had two hits apiece and scored one run apiece. The Mariners are now 10-4 when both players score and are now 11-20 when they both collect hits.
If Ichiro leads off the game with a home run, his work for the day might as well be done. If he's putting runs on the board by himself, that's a bonus, and you can't ask for much more. With a man on first base in the eighth and nobody out, Ichiro hit a double down the leftfield line that possibly could have been a triple if it wasn't touched by a fan. Anyway, Ichiro went 2-for-4 with the homer and double, driving in one and scoring once (i.e., himself). Ichiro is now 90-for-262 (.344) on the season, putting him on pace to finish the season with 228 hits. In one game, he bumped the batting average up from .341 to .344, but that's not the big news. It's not often that Ichiro doubles and homers in the same game. His slugging percentage went from .422 to .439 in one night. What does this all mean? Ichiro has the best slugging percentage on the team. Sure, he leads the team in batting average, but he always will. Now, however, he leads in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Now that Franklin Gutierrez is cooling down (might we finally think about moving him off the number-three spot?), it's Ichiro and pray for rain with this offense.
2) Chone Figgins
The Mariners' second baseman went 2-for-3 with a walk, extending his unsuckness of late. In his last ten games, Figgins has gone 12-for-35 (.343, all singles) and has scored four runs, driving in three runs. He has also walked five times and stolen two bases. Figgins is hitting .319 in June with an on-base percentage of .419. Maybe that's what it's going to be for the rest of the year for the Mariners -- the players that underachieved will finally play somewhere close to par, but by then it'll be way too little and way too late. It's very much like when the Mariners swept the final series of the 2008 season only to lose out on drafting Stephen Strasburg. Right now, I think it might be a minor miracle if the Mariners finish the season within 10 games of the .500 mark. The team is 24-40 right now, but can you believe they were 11-11 at one point? Nothing like losing 29 of 42 games. That's nearly two out of every three games. In other words, since starting the season 11-11, the Mariners have been winning at a sparkling .310 winning percentage. Yeah, I guess I didn't feel like talking about Figgins.
3) Michael Saunders
I had a bit of a choice here for the third gameball. The first two were locks since they accounted for four of the Mariners' six hits on the night and scored two of the Mariners' three runs. Saunders came off the bench to drill a single and score the Mariners' final run of the game in the eighth inning. If nothing else comes of this season, it's that Saunders is going to get a good deal more playing time than he would have had Ken Griffey Jr. decide to prolong his long, slow march to the end of his career. I guess now I only wish one of Saunders and Ryan Langerhans was righthanded. It helps that Bradley's a switch-hitter, I guess. This team could really use Mike Sweeney back on the roster (and Mark Lowe, but that's another story). Cam someone tell me what the hell Matt Tuiasosopo is doing on this roster? It'd be one thing if he could rake or be a late-inning defensive replacement, but he pretty much sucks at everything in limited action. Hell, there's just too much suck on this entire team right now.
Speaking of guys who for some reason are still on the roster, what the hell is Ian Snell still doing on the roster? Has anyone seen any improvement at all out of him? Wakamatsu after the game attributed some of Snell's suck in this game to the play where Lopez earholed Pujols on a throw to the plate that should have been an out, but that doesn't exonerate Snell from walking Pujols on four pitches to lead off the inning (okay, maybe that's forgivable) and allowing a double to Ludwick before the play in question. The Lopez/Pujols play ended with the Cardinals putting two more runs on the board and leading 6-2. Not content with this, Snell buried the game once and for all when Rasmus homered to make it 8-2. The game went from possibly half-entertaining to an absolute walkover in the span of a couple minutes. Congratulations, Ian Snell. Looks like the Mariners will only get a wash at best out of that trade with the Pirates that landed Ian Snell and Jack Wilson in Seattle.
Rowland-Smith. Suppan. Tuesday night.