Sunday, July 04, 2010
[actual post ~2:52p]
Hey, it's another game where the Mariners played more like they'd been playing for the bulk of the season. This time, it was Jason Vargas who fell victim to the big inning, leading to talk about the Mariners possibly shutting down Doug Fister and Vargas through the All-Star break. Ultimately, that would only be one start apiece, so it wouldn't be too much of a curtailing of their workload. I didn't see the game at all, so in a way, I made a somewhat right choice by going to Salt Lake City just for the fun of it. So while I parked the car at the capitol building and walked all over downtown for many hours and was nearly exhausted when I walked back to the car, the Mariners were busy doing nothing offensively. So if I had stayed home, I'd have lamented the fact that I didn't go and drive five-plus hours twice to go to Salt Lake City and see some sights. This ain't the Pat Gillick era, to say the least.
-- the starting pitching will be discussed toward the end of the post
-- the first man out of the bullpen will be one of the gameball entries. David Pauley was the final of three Mariner pitchers in the game, throwing the eighth inning. He gave up only a Brandon Inge leadoff double before setting down the next three Tiger hitters. I'm not even sure what to think about Chad Corder, David Pauley, and Brian Sweeney because they've barely gotten any appearances. Of course, that has a lot to do with the starting pitching stepping up, so that's a good problem to have.
-- what offense? Well, there was one run. Casey Kotchman doubled with one out, then moved over to third on a Josh Bard single. Michael Saunders did the infield single thing, and Kotchman scored on the play to cut the Tigers' lead to 6-1, capping the scoring.
-- as for blown chances, Milton Bradley walked with one out in the fourth, then Jose Lopez singled. Franklin Gutierrez then tapped back to the mound and Kotchman whiffed to end the inning (the game was still scoreless at that point). Lopez singled with one out in the sixth, and that's where he remained as Bradley whiffed and Lopez grounded out.
-- Ichiro went 1-for-4 in the game, pushing him to 108-for-327 (.330) on the season. He is on pace to finish the season with a mere 219 hits. I want 240 out of him, but I need at least 225. We want this guy to get to 3000 hits as quickly as possible, you know.
-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. The two had a hit apiece in the game, but neither scored a run. The Mariners remain 10-5 when both players score, but are now 15-24 when both players get a hit.
1) Casey Kotchman
Apparently he very recently had some sort of long conversation with Don Wakamatsu whereupon he requested more playing time. So far, so good. He singled with two out and the bases empty in the second, whiffed with two on to end the fourth (actually a pretty pivotal at-bat since the Tigers scored two the next half-inning), doubled with one out and the bases empty in the seventh, and tapped back to the pitcher with a man on first to end the eighth. Not the most strategically placed hits, sure, but beggars couldn't be choosers in this game when it came to Mariner hits. The Mariners totalled seven hits, and Kotchman came away with two of them. Of course, this 2-for-4 day sent Kotchman's batting average soaring to .194. It would probably take a pretty incredible tear for Kotchman to finish .250. Not only would he have to go on a tear, he'd also have to get the playing time. Looks like he'll get the days where maybe they rest Russell Branyan's back by giving him the designated hitter slot.
2) Brian Sweeney
I said a week or so ago that if Ryan Rowland-Smith ended up sucking for a prolonged amount of time, Brian Sweeney would warrant himself a chance at the Aussie's spot in the rotation if he kept up with good appearances in long relief. In this outing, he gave up two hits, but he threw 2 2/3 shutout innings, but a good deal of those came after making sure two of Vargas' runners scored to make the latter's ERA inflate. Sweeney came into the game with the bases loaded and one out with the Tigers leading 4-0. He gave up a Carlos Guillen single to score Magglio Ordonez and make it 5-0 before he got groundouts from the final two hitters. The first of those groundouts, however, scored a run that made it 6-0. Sweeney then retired six of his final seven hitters over the next two innings, giving up only a two-out single to Ryan Raburn in the sixth. Turns out it won't be Rowland-Smith's suck that gets Sweeney a start -- it'll probably be if Wakamatsu and Rick Adair decide to shut down Doug Fister and Vargas through the All-Star break.
3) Michael Saunders
He's tall, he's from Victoria, BC, and he drove in the only Mariners' run of the game. Normally a fielding error on a 1-for-3 day would likely scvrub a guy from the gameball secton, if you ask me. Unfortunately, the bar was setting pretty low for the Seattle offense in the the game. Thus, 1-for-3 with a walk is more than adequate for a game of this much offensive suck. Saunders is now a .209 hitter, which means he guy himself a pretty good hole between a week after his initial hot spellafter the call-up, until right about now.
It's a given that the Mariners have to have the starting pitching holding their end of the bargain to win. Here, Vargas cruised early on, and then got into trouble in the fourth and fifth, ending up being tagged with all six Detroit runs, though two were given up by Brian Sweeney. There is talk about resting Vargas and Fister through to the All-Star break, and if that ends up holding, this would be Vargas' final start until after the All-Star break. That said, on a team with an awful offense, vargas has still managed to go 6-4 over the first half of the season.
Bonderman. Lee. Today.