The Bright Side
Yea, that sucked, but it wasn’t all that hard to see coming. As we’ve noted repeatedly, the Mariners roster is structured incorrectly, which leaves them essentially incapable of hitting pitchers like Scott Feldman. Sending the M’s line-up against RH sinker-slider guys is just going to result in failure. This isn’t going to get better until they make changes. The team will hit fine against lefties and hold their own against righties who pitch up in the zone (McCarthy tomorrow, for instance, they should do okay against), but they can’t hit this pitcher type. So, pretty much any time you see the M’s going against a Bartolo Colon/Sidney Ponson/Nick Blackburn/Shane Loux/Scott Feldman type, you can forget scoring a bunch of runs. Until this team tosses one or two of Yuni/Lopez/Johjima overboard and adds a couple of left-handed bats, this is what you’ll see.
But, at least we had Jason Vargas’ effort tonight. Expectations were understandably low, and while 400 foot outs are not a recipe for success, the M’s couldn’t have asked for any more from him than they got tonight. I loved the gameplan he took to the mound.
Look at all those change-ups. He threw 22 of them, and mostly did a good job of locating them. He knew the Rangers are a great fastball hitting team, and he has a below average fastball, so he didn’t even bother trying the whole “establish the fastball” crap. He went with his off-speed stuff, disrupted timing, mixed speeds and locations, and used the fastball as a complementary pitch. Against offenses with less power and more left-handed bats, he can throw the fastball a little more, but that wasn’t going to work tonight and he knew it. Just a smart, well pitched game by a guy who really had no business succeeding in that environment.