Game Recap — 4/14/2010

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.

  • Through Jason Vargas’ first 2 starts, he’s got 11 strikeouts and just 1 walk. Furthermore, Oakland swung at 12 Vargas change-ups last night, and whiffed on 8. These are encouraging stats.
  • 2nd smallest Safeco Field crowd of all-time for last night’s game. Only 15,978 fans showed up. I realize it was a cold, weekday night in April, but I was still surprised to hear this.
  • How’s this for a fun April stat. So far the only pitchers to have an outing with 8+ innings and 0 earned runs: Adam Wainwright, Roy Halladay, Doug Fister.
  • It’s pretty obvious the M’s are still learning how to be aggressive on the basebaths. There’s a fine line between being aggressive and just plain stupid, and this team has made some stupid mistakes the past few games. I’m sure we will get better at this. Right, Milton?
  • Guti has probably solidified his spot in the 3 hole. Not only has his bat been the hottest on the team, but he just has the make-up of a 3 hole stud. Man I love that guy.
  • Swapping “Brandons” may end up being a great trade after all. Morrow may not be in the majors much longer after his second bad outing. On the flip side, League has ridiculous stuff and is a closer in the making. He is really starting to grow on me.

    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!

    -Dan

  • 4 Comments

    Filed under M's Game Recaps, Mariners

    4 responses to “Game Recap — 4/14/2010

    1. Joe Loughery

      I have liked Vargas for a while. I am not a robust baseball geek, so I don’t have stats to back me up, but I just like the way he pitches, his delivery on the mound. I just like what I see. I hope he hangs around in the rotation.

      Guti is a flat out stud as well. That trade just keeps on giving!

      What do you think happens when Lee comes back? I have been hearing Fister to the bullpen because he throws strikes, leave Snell in the rotation along with Vargas. I understand why Fister is a bullpen-type talent guy, but I am getting really tired of Snell. If Fister continues to improve or at least moves in the right direction, why is middle relief the best place for him? So he can come in the 3rd inning after Snell fails to throw strikes? I don’t know, just my thoughts…

    2. I’d say that a lot rides on the starts of these guys this next week. If Fister pitches like he did the last start then how can you take him out of the rotation? I’m not a Fister fan but when he has control he can be a solid starter.
      I’m higher on Snell than any of the other good guys but I’m starting to lose hope and I think that Vargas looks a lot better this spring and the start of this year than last year. Speaking as one of those robust baseball geeks, Vargas has the best strikeout pitch in the staff right now (besides Felix). His changeup is a well above average pitch and I wish he’d throw it even more. His cutter was a nice addition last night.
      As it stands right now I’d say move Snell to the bullpen when Lee gets back and then Fister once Bedard gets back but things can change quickly here.
      As for League, his fastball was amazing last night. He was throwing it at 95 mph with 8 inches of horizontal break!! That’s ridiculous. He needs to throw his splitter more though, that’s his best pitch even with his nasty fastball. He’ll be the closer for the Mariners at some point in the next 3 years I think.

    3. Joe Loughery

      The reason I brought this up was because Dave Cameron was on with Mike Salk today and they both agreed Fister should go to the pen when Lee comes back because he has better control than Snell and he throws more strikes, therefore he is better bullpen material (long relief). Then Cameron made the point that we don’t want a guy in the bullpen in long relief like Snell because he, quote: “throws like 45 balls in a row”. They both laughed and moved on. I was thinking then why the heck do we have Snell in the first place!?!?! It was weird. I know Fister was bad in his first start, and Snell was ok in his start at Oakland (Brutally bad against Texas…), but I guess I don’t get the vast difference between Snell and Fister. I am not geeky enough I guess…

    4. Matthew

      I think the difference between Snell and Fister right now is all in perception. Snell is seen as a guy with good to great stuff who could put it together anytime, while Fister has mediocre stuff but throws strikes, which means he’ll get hit eventually. That’s all probably true to some degree, but I personally don’t see Snell’s stuff too much anymore. He has at least a couple more starts to show it, but I’m not holding my breath.

      On top of that, Fister’s stuff in his last start was pretty good. He’ll never have great velocity, but sitting 88 and hitting 90 in the 8th inning isn’t terrible. He didn’t throw his other pitches a lot, but they looked good. His excellent command lets him get away with lesser stuff, but because he doesn’t always have the command, you get arguments like the one Cameron made.

      We’ll see how things shake out the rest of the month, but I’m not sure that Fister wouldn’t be the best pitcher of the four if you left him in the rotation and let him find a groove. At that point, who cares what you do with Snell. You would want Fister in the rotation. I’m glad we get to see a few more starts for everyone though. All four have bright spots but just as many questions.

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