In my quest to tricking my fellow good guys into letting me cover each Felix start, I get to recap the Mariners second win of the season.
For much of the game it looked as if it’d Seattle’s 5th straight loss. The Mariners scored a run in the top of the first and then the offense went cold. It didn’t go cold like it did in prior games though. The Mariners outhit Texas all day long but they just couldn’t get runners across the plate. Seattle had 12 hits on the day and a good share of those came before the 3-run ninth. Baseball is a weird sport and the Mariners have been bad this week but luck hasn’t been on their side. Their BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was way below average for the week and their were a few bad bounces in the field that hurt them. I’m not making excuses for them but there’s statistical reason to believe things will get much better.
Anyway, the Mariners might not have had much of a chance in this game if it weren’t for King Felix. He was fantastic today and if it weren’t for a Figgins throwing error, Felix might have only given up one run. My favorite thing about watching Felix is that I never know which pitch will be his best on a given day. Today I think it was his change-up. His change came in at 86-88 mph and fell off the table when it reached the batter. It was beautiful. Another thing that stood out to me about this start was the way Felix handled Guerrero. He used his two-seam fastball to tail in on the hands of Vladimir and then threw that change into the dirt. He produced two strikeouts and a groundball to third from this. Long live the King!
Despite this outing, the Mariners were still down by 2 heading into the 9th inning. They scored 3 on a flurry of singles and pesky baseball. Here’s exactly what happened: single, walk, sacrifice bunt, single (run scored), single (run scored), single (run scored), double play. It’s innings like this that explain why the Mariners, Angels, and A’s are described as “annoying teams”; there were no extra base hits in that inning, they just produced runs by playing simple baseball. The singles were hit hard but watching single after single gets annoying when you’re opposing fans and it prolongs the inevitable agony more so than a quick 3 run homer.
In the bottom of the 9th Aardsma looked very good in striking out the 1st and 3rd batter. But the second hitter, Elvis Andrus, hit a rocket to right center. Luckily, we have the best center fielder in the game. Guti covered a ton of ground and jumped up against the wall to take away a home run from Andrus. I could try to describe this more poetically but it wouldn’t do it justice; just go watch it if you haven’t seen it already (heck, go watch it if you have seen it already). If he doesn’t make that catch who knows what happens in this game. I’m glad that Franklin is on the Mariners and will be for quite a while.
Does this game take away my worries? No, it was an ugly week (although, not as ugly as many people say) and we were dangerously close to being 1-5. But, the way it stands now is that if we somehow get a win tomorrow we finish the road trip with a mediocre 3-4 record. Not good but okay. It’s not the end of the world if we lose either. But let’s not worry about tomorrow until tomorrow. Today was the type of game the Mariners will be playing all season and it was good to see them win.
My hero/goat and a few other notes after the jump.
Hero: Felix Hernandez/Franklin Gutierrez. I don’t know if I’m allowed to pick co-hero’s but these two are very deserving. Felix was his usual dominant self and kept the Mariners in the game. Franklin drove in two runs and robbed a game-tying home run. Guti has been the best player on the Mariners this week, by far.
Goat: Milton Bradley. I don’t like picking Milton as the goat but he struggled today. I really like his swing and think that he’s going to turn this around soon but he’s in a slump. Stay with him though, I think he’ll turn it around.
- Speaking of Milton, after the game it showed a quick clip of the players shaking hands. Bradley was yelling in excitement. This is just another reason why I’ve loved Milton this week even though he’s hit 1 for 21. He brings passion and flair and I like that. I know a ton of people don’t like him but those people bug me.
- Wak’s managing was interesting in the top of the 9th. Not pinch-hitting for Rob Johnson and Jack Wilson lowered our win expectancy by a little bit and then pinch-hitting Griffey for Chone Figgins lowered our win expectancy by quite a bit. But managing is about going with your gut just as much as crunching the numbers. It worked out today and it was very impressive. Wak played it exactly right and he should get a lot of credit in this win. It’s great to see Griffey come through in the clutch.
- Neftali Feliz should be the Rangers’ closer, not only because Francisco looks terrible but because Feliz looks great. Closer’s go through funks and Francisco is doing that right now but Feliz has better stuff than Frank.
- Rob Johnson is tied for the team lead in extra base hits….. Weird.
- Matt Harrison looked good once he got into rhythm. It’s weird to think that the least impressive starter that has faced the Mariners this year has been Ben Sheets (in my opinion).
- Let’s win this series! Thanks for reading, go Mariners!