Winner winner chicken dinner! No but really, I just had chicken for dinner…
That was a fun game, especially from the 5th inning on. Stellar pitching met timely hitting again, and the result was a much needed W, a series win, and renewed excitement heading into Felix night on Friday. It would have been rough to be 2-8 or 3-7 today, and after Monday’s let down, I fully expected to be in one of those scenarios. Especially considering our 4 and 5 starters would be taking the mound Tuesday and Wednesday. But one thing I love about baseball is how quickly things can turn around with games almost every day, and the M’s certainly pulled a 180 the last couple nights. Fister and Vargas put great starts together, and the offense finally showed up, albeit in short bursts, to avoid losing this series. Heading into the weekend, you get the feeling the early hole this team dug could very well be history come next week.
The story of the game was probably Vargas’ outing. People in the blogosphere are starting to talk about this guy possibly having a breakout year. If his new cutter is as good as it was last night, this may be true. It can be the perfect pitch to run in on righties. Vargas went 6 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 runs, and didn’t walk a batter. That’s consecutive nights where our 4 and 5 starters didn’t walk a batter, in a combined 14 innings. You can argue the hits and runs given up ought to be taken with a grain of salt against a poor hitting team like Oakland, but you can’t refute the 0 walks. I especially liked Wak pulling Vargas after 6 innings, even though he had only thrown 89 pitches. The reason I say this is because we have seen Vargas in cruise control for 4, 5, or 6 innings, only to blow up as he begins to tire. By not sending him out for the 7th, Wak ensured his confidence will remain high, and the blow up inning was avoided.
Hero: Jose Lopez. I thought awhile about this but ultimately I’m going with Lopey. Lopez was 2-4 last night with a double, a walk, and the go ahead RBI single. He looked the part of a clean-up hitter, though I’m not sure he is the long term solution in that role. Lopez also made 2 nice plays in the field.
Honorable mention: Adam Moore and Jason Vargas. Moore was 2-4, he had a great throw out on a steal attempt, and he called a great game for Vargas. Some would argue Vargas was the hero, and 6 innings of 2 run ball is good, but not heroic.
Goat: Jack Wilson. Jack was the only starter to not reach base last night. It may just be a slow start, but it’s looking more like Jack won’t have much to offer at the plate this year. Gotta love his glove though.
Onto the quick notes after the jump, which I was jotting down throughout the game.
This was a great win for the Mariners heading into an off day. It is so important to stay in this division race until we are healthy, and thanks to some masterful pitching by Fister and Vargas, the team has bounced back nicely. If they continue to pitch like this those two are certainly going to make it a tough decision for who stays in the rotation when Lee and Bedard return. But that’s a debate for another post!