This is a very simple recap: It’s all about Doug Fister and the bottom of the 3rd inning. Let’s cover both.
Doug Fister: The Fist pitched exceptionally well. Granted it was against Baltimore and everyone is quick to remind folks like me of that fact. I would respond that it doesn’t matter, a win is a win, he pitched against a major league lineup. I know the O’s suck right now, but Nick Markakis is good, Wigginton has been in the bigs for a while, Weiters is a rising star, Luke Scott is no slouch. Fister kept pounding the strike zone forcing Baltimore to swing and forcing the Mariners defense to make plays. This is why I love Fister, I think he knows what he is: He’s not overpowering, he doesn’t have superior stuff, but he knows how to pitch and use all the millionaires behind him. I love how he works fast, keeping the pace up. As a fan that is fun to watch. Julio Lugo (I can’t stand the guy, always has annoyed me…) continually tried to slow Fister down by stepping out, adjusting himself, wiggling around, it was absolutely annoying. No matter, The Fist was having none of it. Lugo was 0-3.
We all know Fister had a no-no going into the 7th, that was fun. Overall, a solid performance from Fister. I feel he has earned his way into staying in the rotation when Cliff Lee comes back. I see no reason not to keep him there, he is doing what he is being asked to do. Let’s not outsmart ourselves here and get all baseball geeky stats and move him to the pen for some reason. The Fist belongs in the rotation until he doesn’t deserve it any longer. It’s really simple!
Bottom of the 3rd: The inning started mundane enough, Rob Johnson flying out to center. It ended mundane enough, Rob Johnson striking out on three pitches. But what happened in the middle was pure baseball goodness, a little bit of everything for every baseball fan.
After the Robo-Rob fly out, Jack Wilson stretched a single into a double by hustling 100% out of the box, forcing a bad throw from left, and sliding safely into second with a double. Ichiro and Figgins then forced walks to load the bases. The Baltimore pitcher, Brad Bergesen, was clearly bothered by Ichiro and Figgins. He was agitated on the mound, was afraid to hit the strike zone, and Ichiro and Figgins were happy to watch him burn. I love the plate discipline both showed, knowing full well Bergesen was stressed. Gutierrez then showed yet again why he is a emerging superstar at the plate. He knew what he had to do, and under control, ripped am RBI single to left. Lopez then grounded to Wigginton who promptly booted a sure fire DP ball. Junior then singled for another RBI. Then came the power. Milton Bradley absolutely ripped a double to deep left center. It was beautiful swing and hit. When Bradley is right, he is extremely dangerous at the plate. Casey Kotchman then followed up with a mammoth home run to right.
The inning had it all: Hustle, plate discipline, a little luck, awesome oppo-field power, and Casey’s bomb. And it was quick too. It was 7-0 within 15 minutes. Game over, Mariners win.
If the M’s can keep the plate discipline going, they will score runs. Innings like the 3rd don’t come around often, so I was pleased to be able to witness it, baseball, in many respects, in it’s purest form.
Hero: Easy, Doug Fister. He came out and did work, and got it done.
Goat: Rob Johnson. He was terrible at the plate. 0-4, 2K’s, 2LOB. On a night when everyone was hitting, it’s tough to excuse this line…