It’s cliche`, but it’s cliche` because its true; baseball is a game of inches. It will be written up as a blunder in the paper tommorrow, but Willie Bloomquist did what 98 % of all major league players would have done in that situation. This was not a mistake of inexperience, but simply a ridiculously hard judgment call on what to do. The right play would have been to just run back to second base, but that simply isn’t something that any player has enough experience with to do anything but guess. I’m far from a Willie Bloomquist supporter, but he’s going to get a lot of undo flak from that 9th inning play. I really doubt Randy Winn would have made a different choice.
A few other things I noticed:
Gil Meche’s arm stroke from the stretch concerns me. He gets better push with his legs from the wind-up, but it appears he’s compensating for this by torquing his arm from the stretch for extra velocity. This was my first real good look at Meche this year, and judging arm movemnts from TV isn’t a science, so hopefully I’m just being paranoid. The fact that he was shaking his arm between pitches in the 4th and 5th innings wasn’t reassuring, though.
Carlos Lee is a ridiculously strong human being. Damaso Marte’s 91 MPH fastball looks about 96 with the tail he gets on it. Joe Crede has turned into a hack, and is not the same hitter I saw in AAA Charlotte last year. And I’m more convinced than ever that the White Sox would finish in last place in the AL West.
Giovanni Carrara is once again used in the 9th inning of a game where we trail by one run. This simply shouldn’t happen. Melvin has to learn to use his bullpen more effectively. This is his biggest weakness right now, and it will cost the Mariners ballgames.
I was going to make a crack about how it took until May 10 for Greg Colbrunn to get his first pinch-hit appearance of the year, but its hard to stump for more plate appearances for a guy with a .452 OPS.
Heading down to the game right about now. Colon v. Meche — should be a good one. This will be the first time I’ve seen Meche in person this year, but more than that, it marks just the second game all year I’ve been to when Freddy Garcia hasn’t pitched. I don’t know about you, but it seems every season there’s one starter I see a disproportionate number of times. A few years ago it was Jeff Fassero, two years ago Jamie Moyer and last year James Baldwin. That last one was particularly painful, not to mention all those agonizingly slow Zombie Walks (tm 2002 Derek Zumsteg) back to the dugout after each inning.
I heard a rumor there’s an ad for this very website in the May issue of the Grand Salami magazine. OK, that’s a lie, I have a copy right here. In any event, if you’re just now finding our little corner of the web because of this ad, we welcome you aboard the good ship U.S.S. Mariner. Ahoy, and all that.
Minor League Highlights for Friday, May 9
Colorado Springs 13, Tacoma 8. The mile-high air claimed another victim as RHP Brian Sweeney gave up 11 earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 4.83 on the year. Sweeney gave up 12 hits, walked 3, and struck out 2. RHP Allan Simpson closed the game by recording all four of his outs via the strikeout. He now has 23 strikeouts in just 16 2/3 innings. Super utility man Craig Kuzmic went 2-4 with his 4th homer while starting at second base and LF Adrian Myers did the same, knocking his first home run of the year. Tacoma will gladly return home today to take on Oklahoma at Cheney Stadium, with LHP Craig Anderson getting the start for the Rainiers.
Midland 18, San Antonio 12. After 3 innings, the Missions held an 11-1 lead and looked like they would roll to their 19th consecutive victory. However, the Rockhounds put up an astonishing 14 runs in the last 3 innings as relievers Justin Lamber, Randy Williams, Jared Hoerman, and Craig House put 20 men on base from the 7th-9th innings. LHP Bobby Madrtisch started the game, but could only manage 4 1/3 innings due to continuing issues with his command. He walked 5 and struck out two in that time, allowing 3 unearned runs. Offensively, it was a singles-fest, as the two teams combined for 30 runs without the benefit of a home run. Of the 32 hits in the game, only 5 were extra base hits. DH John Lindsey, 3B Justin Leone, and CF Michael Curry had 3 hits apiece and RF Chris Snelling went 2-5 to lead the offense.
Lake Elsinore 4, Inland Empire 3. OF Shin-Soo Choo came within a triple of the cycle, but he didnâ€™t get much help from his teammates as the 66â€™ers fell to 15-17 on the season. Ismael Castro got the start at shortstop and added 2 hits, raising his average to .245 and giving hope that he may be coming out of his slump. LHP Jared Thomas got the start and continued to struggle with his command, walking 4 and striking out 3 in 6 innings. He did hold the Storm to 1 run during his time, however. RHP Brian Strelitz took the loss by giving up the lead in the 8th inning on 2 hits and a walk. The 66â€™ers play a doubleheader today, shorthanded by the loss of Cha Baek to the DL (again). Heâ€™s expected to be out 2-3 weeks. LHP Glenn Bott and RHP Manny Ulloa will come out of the pen to start todayâ€™s twin bill.
Wisconsin 11, Battle Creek 2. The T-Rats gave the Mâ€™s system one win on the day with a drubbing of the Yankees low-A affiliate. 3B Matt Hagen was the offensive star, going 3-4 with his 4th home run and 7th double of the year. C Rene Rivera also added his 4th homer and 2B Tim Merritt went 2-5 and stole 2 bases. LHP Bobby Livingston moved to 4-1 on the year with 6 1/3 solid innings, giving up 2 runs, walking 2, and striking out 3. His ERA now stands at 2.52. RHPâ€™s David Viane and Renee Cortez provided solid relief, shutting the door on an easy Wisconsin win. SS Michael Garciaparra is now hitting .171/.243/.219 after another 0-3, and his time in Wisconsin is nearing an end.