Wednesday, July 07, 2010
[posted in full ~7:22p, i.e., middle of the first. Guilty as charged, but it's harder to do this from the Monutain Time Zone.]
Come on. Did anyone expect a Mariner win out of a game where the Mariners are throwing Ryan Rowland-Smith up against Zack Greinke? Come on. Sure, Greinke hasn't resembled 2010 Greinke this season, but you could say the same for Ryan Rowland-Smith. Then the first Mariner out of the bullpen is Sean White? That's not exactly a recipe for winning. When was the last time anyone felt comfortable with Sean White on the mound? Needless to say, White doesn't always get the benefit of Jose Guillen coming up lame trying to beat out a double play. Anyway, this was a night where the starting pitching showed up, but the offense (and the bullpen to a lesser extent) did not.
-- the starting pitching will be discussed in the gameballs
-- the first man out of the bullpen will be discussed at the far end of the post. David Pauley threw the ninth inning and got through it without incident.
-- now, the offense. In the third, Michael Saunders legged out an infield single, then went to second on a bad throw by Mike Aviles. Saunders went to third on a groundout, then scored on a Jack Wilson suicide squeeze bunt to put the Mariners ahead 1-0. In the eighth, Jack got aboard with an infield single, then got to second when Ichiro drilled a single into rightfield. Jack stole third and scored when Chone Figgins hit a deep-enough fly ball to cut the Royals' lead to 3-2. That was it. That was the offense.
-- now, the blown offensive chances. In the first six innings, only in the third inning did the Mariners have a runner reach base with less than two outs. In the seventh, Jose Lopez singled with one out and went to second on a walk one out later, but that's where he stayed. In the eighth, with one run in, the Mariners had Ichiro on first with two out when Russell Branyan hit a double down the rightfield line that was immediately picked up by some late-teenage or early-20s dude who was totally ejected as a result. I'll stop well short of saying that cost the Mariners a tie game, but it still sucks. In the ninth, Casey Kotchman singled the other way with one out before Saunders and pinch hitter Ryan Langerhans both whiffed.
-- Ichiro's eighth inning hit kept his hitting streak going, and said streak is now at eight games. He went 1-for-4 in the game, pushing him to 111-for-341 (.326) on the season. He is on pace to fnish the season with 217 hits.
-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro got a hit, but Figgins didn't. Neither player scored. The Mariners remain 11-6 when both players score and 16-25 when both collect hits.
1) Ryan Rowland-Smith
Given how he's progressed over his last few starts, I don't think anyone could have expected much more out of the Aussie. Ryan Rowland-Smith allowed a leadoff single to David DeJesus in the eighth and was yanked with the Mariners behind 2-1. With how it's gone this year for Rowland-Smith, having him pitch into the eighth is a huge victory unto itself, though of course that doesn't necessarily translate into a W in the boxscore (definitely not with this team). He's thrown into the sixth inning or later in each of his last four starts and given up a total of ten runs over that span, though five were in one game. Still, that makes the three other starts look good. His average starting line this season: 5 1/3 innings, 3.9 runs (3.4 earned), 6.2 hits, 2.3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 88 pitches (55 strikes), 6 groundouts, 7.3 flyouts.
2) Jack Wilson
Luckily his stolen base (third) in the eighth inning turned out well since he came home on the sacrifice fly. If he'd been thrown out on that play, he'd have been raked over the coals for trying to take third base despite the fact that he wasn't the tying run at all, and Ichiro at first base was the guy that mattered. Anyway, Jack's suicide squeeze in the third inning gave the Mariners the early 1-0 lead. He also legged out the infield single that put him on base in the eighth inning. He ended up scoring the Mariners' 3-2 run. Jack Wilson sits with a .254 batting average, which is better than I thought he would be. Maybe he won't be so bad at the plate after all. It'd be good to get some return on investment from Jack since the Mariners have been playing with house money when it comes to Josh Wilson, who finally cooled down as of late.
3) Michael Saunders
The Mariners' young leftfielder went 1-for-3 in the game and drew a walk. He scored one of the two Mariner runs. He struck out twice, but saw 22 pitches over the course of his plate appearances, second to only Chone Figgins (24) in this game. Saunders' numbers are a bit hilarious. He's hitting .216, which is bad. His on-base percentage is .285, which is still better than that of Jose Lopez. His slugging percentage is .432, which is worse than only Russell Branyan out of everyone that appeared in the batters box wearing a Mariner uniform in the game. I'm wondering what to reasonably expect out of Saunders for the rest of the season. I'm of course hoping for 20 more homers and for him to hit .300. Haha. Yeah, it's not going to happen.
Yeah, I'm tired of him. I have no confidence when this guy goes out there. I didn't mind bringing up Garrett Olson on the day in question, but White? I don't know. One of Jesus Colome and Kanekoa Texeira should be on this team right now, and it's probably Texeira. Why couldn't the Mariners have sent Sean White away to the Mets instead of Sean Green? I'd love to have his groundball friendliness in the bullpen. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not naive enough to believe that this year's bullpen was going to be anywhere good as it was last year, but I think getting Sean White off the 25-man roster is the easiest move for the Mariners to make right now.
Davies. Fister. Tonight.