It wasn’t as glamorous as Friday’s 11-3 win, but in many ways last night’s 4-2 win was equally impressive. After all, the M’s were facing Verlander, and our starter, RRS, was facing a tough task against an all right-handed hitting Tigers line-up. Seemed like a recipe for a loss. But Hyphen was up to the task, and except for a hanging curveball to Ordonez and a double to Rayburn in the 7th, that was all the damage.
As for the offense, well they banged 7 hits off Verlander. Seattle made him work especially hard in the 1st and I thought we might work him out of the game early, but Verlander hit his stride and got throught 7 strong innings. Guti went 2-4 again, with 2 RBI. Ichiro came up a homer away from the cycle, and if he was given a decent pitch to hit in his last AB, we might be celebrating his cycle today. We’ll settle for 3-3 and a walk I suppose.
Onto some notes and our hero/goat…
Bad call made by the 3rd base umpire in the 1st inning. It appeared Figgins had flyed out in foul territory to Carlos Guillen, which would have been enough to sacrifice Ichiro in, but instead, the ump said Guillen dropped it. On second glance, it was clear that Carlos made the catch, then dropped it on the transfer. Figgins struck out and that play would have been magnified if not for Guti coming up with an RBI base hit the next at bat.
Andrew pointed this out, and it is very true. The Tigers left field platoon of Johnny Damon and Carlos Guillen might be the worst defensive platoon ever.
The play of the game was the double play that ended the top of the 8th. After walking Inge on a full count slider, (which should have been called strike 3 I might add) runners were on 1st and 2nd, with 1 out. The next batter hit a slow chopper to Lopez who charged, made a nice play to relay to 2nd, and Figgins made the throw falling down to 1st. Kotchman scooped it for the second out, and the threat was over. It was a terrific play and probably the turning point in the game.
Hypen was sporting a new 2 seam change-up, which cuts at the end rather than drop like his typical 4 seam change-up. Keep an eye on this going forward, because it could be a nice addition to RRS’ arsenal.
Lee Tinsley positioned Bradley very close to foul territory in the 9th inning, when Ramon Santiago was up. Tinsley must have known what he was doing, because Santiago ripped a line drive down the left field line, and 99% of the time that ball is a double. But Bradley caught it with ease thanks to Tinsley’s positioning and advanced scouting.
Aardsma looked great tonight. I don’t understand why his fastball, which tops out at 95, is so tough to hit, especially when the batter knows it’s coming. But he places it very well, and it must have some movement that makes it difficult. Still, he worries me, though by now I should probably have more faith in him.
Hero: Ichiro. It would be easy to give it to Guti for another solid night, but Ichiro flirted with the cycle and that is pretty special. RRS had a good outing as well, despite the no decision.
Goat: Ken Griffey Jr. I love you Jr, but 0-4 with 2 K’s won’t cut it. Griffey only saw 14 pitches in those AB’s also.
Today we go for the sweep! Snell is on the mound and if he wants to stay in this rotation, he had better pitch well, unlike his last start.