Game Ten Recap

Dave · April 14, 2010 at 9:57 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Yay, 4-6.

Jason Vargas is no longer wearing a hat, because it has officially been thrown into the leave-me-in-the-rotation-even-after-Lee-returns ring. Like Fister last night, he pounded the strike zone with mediocre stuff, but changed speeds and hit spots well enough to keep the A’s off balance. Unlike Fister, he actually missed bats, racking up another six strikeouts, giving him 11 in 11 1/3 innings pitched in his first two starts. He won’t keep that up, but his change-up is a plus pitch and he moves his fastball around well, so he has the ability to get a swinging strike when he needs one. I know Fister pitched well last night, but I’d rather have Vargas in the rotation after Cliff Lee returns, for various reasons that we’ll discuss in a future post.

The offense is showing signs of life, which was both inevitable and still nice to see. Figgins is swinging the bat well and still drawing walks, so once Ichiro comes around, there will be plenty of RBI opportunities for the 3-4-5 hitters. Gutierrez continues to make a strong case for one of those spots, and Bradley’s swinging the bat well enough that he should be back in the cleanup spot in no time. The bottom of this line-up is really poor, no doubt, but the top of the order is coming into focus.

While the hitting was better, the baserunning was atrocious. I think we’re all beyond being surprised when Lopez makes a mental mistake, but Bradley getting caught between third and home on Moore’s infield single was rough. This offense isn’t good enough to afford to give up outs, and the Mariners made three running the bases tonight. We’ve seen too many outs made from guys on base so far this year. While I know that the idea of being aggressive is appealing, the chance at advancing an extra base is generally not worth giving up an out, so the Mariners will simply have to be smarter on the bases the rest of the year.

The M’s saw the Brandon League they traded for tonight, as he just owned the A’s hitters in the 7th inning. That two seam fastball with tailing action in on right-handers, coming in at 94-96 MPH, is just ridiculous. When he’s throwing it near the strike zone, he’s going to be nearly impossible to hit. The pitch has so much horizontal movement that it almost breaks the pitch f/x charts. Given how Brandon Morrow’s season is going up in Toronto so far, I doubt the M’s are having too many second thoughts about that deal.

One of the problems with this roster reared its head in the 5th inning today. Right now, Tui is both the only backup infielder on the team and Casey Kotchman’s pseudo-platoon partner, so when he starts at first base, you can’t really pinch hit for him, no matter what the situation is. In the 5th inning, he came up with the bases loaded after the team had chased the lefty starter from the game, so he had to face Chad Gaudin, who is death to RHBs. Sending Kotchman or Griffey up to take advantage of Gaudin’s huge splits was out, however, because otherwise the team would have had to play the rest of the game without any backups for Lopez, Wilson, or Figgins. These are the effects of having a 12 man pitching staff and two designated hitters on the bench.

But, overall, a nice win heading into an off-day. Felix goes on Friday, so the M’s have a pretty decent shot at a three game winning streak, and may be playing to get back to .500 on Saturday.


30 Responses to “Game Ten Recap”

  1. Brendan on April 14th, 2010 9:58 pm

    The definition of having a post ready to go once the game ends… I agree with you on the point about Vargas. His left-handedness tops it all off for me.

  2. profmac on April 14th, 2010 9:59 pm

    How the frick do you have a game recap done the moment the game ends. Dave, you’re ridiculous. Thanks for your devotion to this site.

  3. Liam on April 14th, 2010 10:03 pm

    Like beat writers, Dave’s working on this before the game ends.

  4. ayoon on April 14th, 2010 10:03 pm

    I expect 152 more post game posts. Thanks!

  5. Dave on April 14th, 2010 10:11 pm

    With the way my life is currently constructed, I don’t have time to write long USSM posts during the day right now, so my best time to write here is during the games. Thus, it makes the most sense for me to just jot down my thoughts as I’m watching, and have a post ready when the game ends.

    This won’t continue all season. My schedule will be changing somewhat in May, but for now, this works for me.

  6. jordan on April 14th, 2010 10:15 pm

    I just like that our offense has a pulse. They are getting hits, and when you get 11 hits, runs are going to come… and most likely, more than 4.

  7. Marinersmanjk on April 14th, 2010 10:16 pm

    Dave you are the Jesus of baseball, and for that I thank you. Unfortunantly, my humble patronage somehow just doesn’t seem enough.

  8. DaveValleDrinkNight on April 14th, 2010 10:20 pm

    Vargas was dealing tonight. Gotta say though I was just as happy with how Moore and Tui played. Both hit the ball hard and worked the count a little. The more those two can contribute the better we’ll be.

    Maybe it was just me but I thought Moore did a great job of framing pitches tonight.

  9. Alec on April 14th, 2010 10:20 pm

    I know it’s early in the season, but Snell hasn’t looked great in either of his starts, and looked awful in his last. Given his track record in the majors, how a long a leash does he get before he’s out and Fister gets his second shot? Or if Bedard’s rehab goes well do the M’s stick it out with Snell hoping he puts it together and then dump him when Bedard gets back? I’m not a huge Fister fan, but like someone said earlier (maybe on LL), but if he pitches like yesterday he’s basically what Carlos Silva should have been.

  10. Alec on April 14th, 2010 10:22 pm

    Our rotation has too many 4 & % starters in it, but am I right that we have some pretty decent 4 & 5’s? I know they are easy to find, but I feel like a lot of teams would swap their back end starters for guys like Vargas and maybe even Fister, and obviously for Hyphen

  11. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2010 10:25 pm

    I think Adam Moore deserves a special shout out tonight. Hits and runs from the catching position are a welcome surprise. He has a decent swing too. When he gets comfortable I can’t see him NOT taking over the regular catching duties.

    Anyone think the 20 hits in the last two days can quiet down some of the “sky is falling” gloom and doom about how bad our hitting is? The crack of a bat on the ball these past two games was like a fresh (forgotten) sound. Good solid WHACKS! At last.

    The bullpen’s arms are showing some life again, the bats are settling down and showing some solid contact. Now if we could squeeze in a baserunning boot-camp on our off day tomorrow, we’ll be looking good.

  12. Kazinski on April 14th, 2010 10:31 pm

    Was Bradley’s rundown his fault or the 3rd base coach? The play would have been behind him, so I assume that Brumley would be waving him around or giving him the stop sign. Did Bradley run through the stop sign or did Brumley screw up?

  13. spankystout on April 14th, 2010 10:32 pm

    Winning streak! Its a celebration.

  14. lailaihei on April 14th, 2010 10:34 pm

    Starting Tui means that Kotchman is the backup SS anyway…

  15. Liam on April 14th, 2010 10:49 pm

    Starting Tui means that Kotchman is the backup SS anyway…

    They would move Tuiasosopo or Figgins to SS and have Kotchman play 1B.

  16. Thievery on April 14th, 2010 11:03 pm

    +1 with the Dave-love for the post-game analyses. The inevitable end of these will bring violent, wretching withdrawals, indeed…

  17. Typical Idiot Fan on April 14th, 2010 11:05 pm

    Was Bradley’s rundown his fault or the 3rd base coach?

    It was Bradley’s. The MLB Tonight guys reviewed that several times. Brumley had up a stop sign, Milton was looking down as he was getting to third, and looked back over his shoulder only after he got around it.

    Milton just must have thought that the ball had enough eyes to get through the infield. Rosales actually made a heck of a stop. It’s a dumb mistake, but defensible.

  18. tmac9311 on April 14th, 2010 11:18 pm

    I just hope when Hannahan is healthy we see Sweeney go and not Tui. Ideally the bench would be Tui Hannahan Langerhauns and Johnson, with Brynes and Bradley starting. I just do not see the room for Griffey on this team, let alone Sweeney. But I suppose Griffey brings enough to the table to have Tui be the emergency outfielder and have Brynes/Griffey split time. If Eric continues to not be able to hit, would it be worth going Saunders/Griffey, with Saunders playing 75% of the time. Or is that still too much of a split for a guy that needs at bats?

    Not to get off topic, cause it sure feels nice to be getting those W’s we were all expecting =]

  19. Kazinski on April 14th, 2010 11:28 pm

    Thanks Idiot, I didn’t get to see the play, I kind of figured it was Bradley’s fault because the ball should have either made it through the hole or been stopped by the time Bradley was close enough to the bag to have to make a decision.

    It is nice to see the bats coming around, but I did notice that the M’s came into the game with an AL worst ISO of .086, and got one extra base hit tonight, the double that Lopez wasted. I certainly don’t expect that they’ll lead the league in power, but right now their team OBP just about equals their SLG. And of course their OBP isn’t very good.

  20. Adam S on April 14th, 2010 11:47 pm

    Wasn’t the plan to play Kotchman every day? I see sitting him once to get Tui a chance to play but a semi-platoon means they build this roster even more wrong than we think.

  21. JTP224 on April 15th, 2010 12:21 am

    Kotchman will play the majority of the time but since there’s a day off on Thursday it gives Wak a chance to rest guys for two days (Kotchman, Johnson). Plus, you don’t want your bench players to get rusty and with a guy who’s tough against lefties on the mound it makes even more sense, although it really limits what Wak has to work with on the bench.

  22. SonOfZavaras on April 15th, 2010 12:35 am

    Jason Vargas is no longer wearing a hat, because it has officially been thrown into the leave-me-in-the-rotation-even-after-Lee-returns ring.

    I still think with his hat on, his face resembles Rudy from the old Fat Albert cartoons.

    Boy is it nice to score a few runs and have the starting pitching be pretty good. My outlook on life improves exponentially when this is the case.

  23. Paul B on April 15th, 2010 6:55 am

    Once the righty came in to pitch, and before Tui batted, Byrnes was up in a tie game with runners on first and second and two out.

    Wak could have pinch hit Kotchman for Byrnes at that point. Then Kotchman would go to first and Tui to left.

    I assumed Wak didn’t do that because it was only the 5th inning.

    Anyway, Byrnes ended up walking and Tui ended the inning.

  24. Mere Tantalisers on April 15th, 2010 7:12 am

    Regarding Bradley’s gaffe, Im with TIF. The ball looked like it was going to make it into the grass for sure, but if it did it would have been shallow and a close play at home. Rosales made a great stop and Bradley didn’t realize the mistake till too late. I’m not giving him a free pass here, but it was not the worst Mariner baserunning we’ve seen recently.

  25. Gamer on April 15th, 2010 8:50 am

    I see the Cliff Lee injury as an opportuntiy to find the best two pitchers:
    Jason Vargas
    Doug Fister
    Ian Snell

    I assume that Eric Bedard is going to be back. Of course, Lee will be back.

    I still say RRS and Ian Snell have the best chance of sticking in the rotation. And perhaps RRS is a lock in the rotation. But with the two nice outings that Fister and Vargas just had it’s opens things up a bit. If one of them can repeat that will put the pressure on Snell. Consistency is the key. Which of the four give the M’s best chance to win? I do like Snell if he could get his walks under control. You know things haven’t gone the way the M’s had hoped. Rarely they do. I’m beginning to like the M’s starting rotation more, nice competition at the backend of the rotation.

  26. spankystout on April 15th, 2010 11:33 am

    My question how many M’s pitchers have shelved pitches? Shawn Kelley rediscovered his change-up, Vargas brought his cutter back. Fister looked to me to mix in a 4 seam fastball this year. Ex-Mariner Morrow shelved his split and curve due to his bullpen stints, where he was encouraged to throw his stength (fastball). These are just a couple cases I recalled. Could the M’s pitching staff be slightly better if they stop shelving pitches?

  27. Kazinski on April 15th, 2010 12:15 pm

    Wak could have pinch hit Kotchman for Byrnes at that point. Then Kotchman would go to first and Tui to left.

    That would leave him open for a problem if there is an injury. If an outfielder gets injured/ejected then you only have Sweeney, Griffey or Johnson on the bench to play outfield, or you put Bradley in and lose the DH.

    If an infielder gets injured/ejected then you bring Tui in to play infield, and then you are back to Sweeney, Griffey, Johnson or Bradley again to play LF.

  28. Breadbaker on April 15th, 2010 12:29 pm

    but it was not the worst Mariner baserunning we’ve seen recently.

    Unfortunately, we have a few too many candidates to consider for that honor. 152 games to go, and we’ve already made more baserunning boners than I’d like to see in a season.

  29. Ralph_Malph on April 15th, 2010 2:01 pm

    My question how many M’s pitchers have shelved pitches?

    I’ve got to assume every major league pitcher has shelved pitches. They have all tried all possible pitches and they put together the repertoire that they think will work best. From time to time they may haul one off the shelf or put one away if it’s not working.

    Surely early in his career (maybe in the minors) Mariano Rivera threw curveballs and changeups, but somewhere along the way he decided throwing nothing but cutters worked best for him.

    The pitching coach has to be instrumental in working with the guys on this.

  30. pinball1973 on April 15th, 2010 3:46 pm

    This is the first win that FELT right (minus the stupid base-running). If they sweep or take two-of-three against the Red Sox or Yankees, I’ll finally feel this team is what we all expect – flawed but quite capable of getting to the WS.

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