Game Twelve Recap
This will be shorter than normal, because its late on a Saturday night and this thread will be seen by about 12 people before tomorrow’s game thread goes up. So, brief thoughts.
Hyphen faced 25 hitters tonight, and every single one of them stepped into the right-handed batters box. No, he wasn’t dominating, but he faced an entire line-up of RHBs, and a lot of pitchers would simply fold in that situation. Breaking balls generally aren’t as effective against opposite handed hitters, so RRS went to the change-up, and used it early and often. He pitched better than the final stat line will show, because the degree of difficulty on this one was ridiculous.
The M’s did a great job of making Verlander work in the first inning, running his pitch count up to 28 at the end of the first frame. And then, the bottom of the line-up came up and pretended like they didn’t just see the plan. Kotchman swung at the first pitch he saw, flying out to center. Jack Wilson hacked at the second pitch he saw, and while it resulted in a base hit, he then got thrown out trying to steal second base – and he was out by 10 feet. Just like that, the inning was over, and Verlander had his pitch count back under control. He ended up getting through the last six innings on 75 pitches. One good inning of hitting was followed by six bad innings, as the Mariners totally let Verlander off the hook. Kotchman, Moore, and Wilson combined to make nine outs (two on the bases) and do it in just 31 pitches. It can’t just be Figgins, Gutierrez, and Bradley making pitchers work. The bottom three guys aren’t good enough hitters to get away with swinging early in the count against a guy like Verlander. Talk to them, Wak.
In the ninth inning, Ramon Santiago hit a slicing line drive down the left field line that looked like an easy double off the bat. Milton Bradley caught it without breaking a sweat. There was some seriously great positioning in that at-bat, and
whichever coach Lee Tinsley (per Divish) told Milton where to stand, saving the M’s from a potentially miserable situation. If Santiago gets on, the tying run comes to the plate with the top of the Tigers order due up. Instead, there were two outs and Austin Jackson represented the final hurdle for Aardsma. That was a huge out, and it was made possible by someone doing some really good advanced scouting, and the coaching staff taking advantage of it.