Friday, July 02, 2010
[fuller post published ~6:04p]
The Mariners already had the series won, so in a way, anything positive from this game would have been an absolute bonus. The Mariners never led in this game. They did score some late runs, but gave them all (or both of them all) back on a home run by Alex Rodriguez off of David Aardsma. You win some, you lose some. Of course, the Mariners have lost more than won this season, so we'll just take the series win and go from there. Any time you can win a series in the Bronx, it's a good thing. Is there no better baseball fan to shut up than a Yankee fan? That's one great thing about this series -- the Yankee fans didn't have much to celebrate in the first two games.
-- the starting pitching will be discussed in the gameball entries
-- now, the bullpen. Brian Sweeney had four days of rest coming into this game. In his last appearance, he threw four innings and got the win in Doug Fister's first start coming off the disabled list. This time, he wasn't called upon to eat up a bunch of innings. He tried to keep the Mariners within two runs at 2-0, and he ended up throwing a 1-2-3 seventh inning. The eighth inning, however, will be discussed at the far end of this post.
-- as for the offense, all the run scoring came in the eighth inning. It all started with a four-pitch leadoff walk by Josh Bard. One out later, Ichiro singled Bard over to second. Chone Figgins popped out. Russell Branyan took a pitch that went off of and away from catcher Jorge Posada and to the backstop, moving the runners to third and second. On the next pitch, Branyan tagged a single to rightfield, scoring Bard and Ichiro and tying the game at 2-2. The inning ended when Branyan tried stretching the single into a double and was thrown out.
-- as for blown chances, the second inning saw Milton Bradley lead off with a ground-rule double. He went to third on a groundout, but he wound up staying there. In the fifth, Ryan Langerhans signled with one out, but didn't move on the basepaths. In the seventh, Jose Lopez drew a one-out walk and was erased on a fielder's choice to end the inning.
-- Ichiro went 1-for-4, pushing him to 106-for-319 (.332) on the season. He is on pace to finish the season with 220 hits, but I want to see 240 hits out of the guy.
-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro scored a run and got a hit, and Figgins did neither of those things. The Mariners remain 10-5 when both players score and 15-22 when both players collect hits.
1) Russell Branyan
So far, so good in Branyan's second tenure with the Mariners. This time, he drove in the only Mariner runs of the game, tying it and giving the Mariners a little hope until carnage unfolded in the bottof halm of the inning. Not exactly powerful, sure, but it was at least productive.
2) Milton Bradley
The Mariners' resident enigma was the only Mariner with multiple hits on the day. He doubled and singled. This makes it a five-game hitting streak for Bradley in which he's gone 7-for-20 (.350) with two doubles, two home runs, and two RBIs. Bradley is now hitting .218 with an on-base percentage of .301 and a slugging mark of .381.
3) Ryan Rowland-Smith
The Aussie still wasn't that efficient, but this time he got through six innings and only gave up two runs. It was a not-awful start for Rowland-Smith. Maybe in a few weeks he can start going a consistent seven innings every time out like he did about a year ago at this time. One of the runs he gave up came on a Robinson Cano home run, coming on a hanging breaking ball. The other run scored in the first inning. Derek Jeter led off with an infield single, went to third on a double by Nick Swisher, then Jeter scored on a Mark Teixeira groundout. Since being re-inserted into the rotation, Rowland-Smith has had four not-awful starts out of five starts. Baby steps.
Well, it's not a blown save, so I guess that's a positive that can be taken out of this game for Aardsma. I have to say, though...if Aardsma has games turning badly on him three times or more in the next month, it's time to put Brandon League into that spot and see what happens.
Fister. Scherzer. Tonight.