Monday, July 12, 2010



[actual post Wed 14 Jul ~11:05p]

It was Lose Fly Balls in the Sun Day for the Mariners, which made for quite the Sunday afternoon. Oddly, the Yankees didn't seem to have any problems finding the fly balls in the sun, but part of the reason for that is CC Sabathia kept the amount of fly balls down. The Mariners hit into 14 groundouts and 11 flyouts, whereas the Yankees hit into eight groundouts but 15 flyouts. Sure, they're all outs, but Ryan Rowland-Smith always has flyball tendencies, usually leading to home runs, though he was lucky this time. Still, that led to a couple of sun balls that dropped for hits. That was more than enough adversity for the Aussie to fall apart at the seams. Over the last few years, there have been quiet a few games where if you saw the score afterward, you probably wouldn't feel like watching the game if it was rerunning on FSNNW. Of course, if you saw the full boxscore to this game, you probably wouldn't even want to watch the highlights. The Yankees were done scoring after the fifth inning, but they were up 8-0. The Mariners aren't coming back from that.

-- the starting pitching will be discussed toward the very end of the post

-- as for the bullpen, Brian Sweeney was the first man out of the pen. Robinson Cano doubled to rightfield (I don't seem to remember Ichiro losing a ball in the sun, so this was more than likely a clean double), and two hitters later, Marcus Thames went very yard to the tune of 409 feet, capping the Yankees' scoring at 8-0. From there, the Mariners trotted out a pitcher per inning the rest of the way and threw three scoreless innings. Sean White, Brandon League, and David Aardsma finished out the game. White and League gave up a hit apiece (League also walked one) while Aardsma threw a completely meaningless 1-2-3 ninth.

-- the bullpen rest bulletin: they'll all be rested sufficiently, which includes David Pauley, who had the spot start in Friday's game.

-- as for the offense...two runs on seven hits. Casey Kotchman had three of those hits, leaving four hits for the rest of the lineup. Of course, after the Felix win, it would have been foolhardy to somehow expect the Mariners to (a) win in a game where Ryan Rowland-Smith started, and (b) beat CC Sabathia en route to that win.

-- Ichiro went 1-for-4, pushing him to 118-for-362 (.326), putting him on pace to finish the season with 217 hits. Ichiro goes into the All-Star break on a 13-game hitting streak during which he's gone 16-for-59 (.271) with exactly zero extra-base hits. He was hitting .338 before going hitless in the game before this current hitting streak, and that hitless game left him at .333. Only Ichiro could go on a 13-game hitting streak and drop in batting average from .333 to .326.

-- now, the Ichiro/Figgins stat. Ichiro had a hit for the only run or hit between the two players. The Mariners remain 12-6 when both players score and 17-27 when both collect hits.

1) Casey Kotchman
Since the whole asking-for-playing-time thing, he's actually been tolerable at the plate and even kind of good. He went 3-for-4 in this game with a double and a home run. The homer accounted for one of the Mariners' two runs in the game. Since July 3rd, Kotchman has gone 12-for-29 with two doubles, four homers, and seven RBIs. I sure never thought I'd see a stretch like this from him for the rest of the season. Of course, part of that was that I never thought he'd step into any more truly consistent playing time. Of course, now with the addition of Justin Smoak, there's a logjam for pretty much everybody that could possibly play first base, designated hitter, or leftfield since Russell Branyan was brought into the fold, and the Mariners now have Justin Smoak, who should be getting oodles of playing time. Maybe the Mariners can get some A-ball prospect for Kotchman or something.

2) Michael Saunders
The Mariners' young leftfielder went 1-for-3 in the game and scored one of the two Mariner runs. While he hasn't been much of a hitter for average, he did manage to double three times and homer five times in the month of June. Though he only hit .215 in June, those extra-base hits I mentioned put his slugging percentage at .492 for June. In July (11 games), Saunders has only one extra-base hit, that being a double. Of course, he only has seven July hits to begin with, so maybe the lack of extra-base hits isn't so surprising given that. It's fun to watch him at the plate when he's really getting a hold of a ball, but that seems to come and go. He's young, though.

3) Justin Smoak
All welcome the Mariners' first baseman of the future. He switch hits and has some pop in his bat. In this game, he had a solid single. Hopefully there's more of those coming from Smoak in a Mariner phone. Actually, we're hoping for a ton more extra-base hits out of the guy, too, but we've got a lot of time to wait for Smoak to come along. Why nto make every season a 40-homer 120-RBI season? That'd be all kinds of run. If he's Smoak, who is the Bandit? That's a question for which we don't know the answer.

Ryan Rowland-Smith
The balls in the sun weren't really his fault, but he didn't help himself when it came to covering up after the sunny runners got aboard. He gave up six runs (four earned) on six hits in four innings. The bullpen had to throw five innings, so it's good the Mariners didn't have to play the next day. The Mariners have a record of 3-13 when Rowland-Smith is the starting pitcher. The Aussie is 1-9 by himself. I was hoping he'd turned the corner, but it hasn't quite happened yet. Hopefully his second half is way better than his first.

Fister. Pineiro. Thursday.

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