Game Twenty-One Recap
Was that the least impressive three run rally in team history? Gutierrez’s RBI single was well hit, but Lopez had an infield double thanks to Tejeda’s white man hops, and then back to back walks force in the go ahead run. Yeah, they all count the same, but those were some sissy runs right there. As for the rest of it…
It’s funny how context changes everything. Had the Mariners come into this game on a four game winning streak and put up a whole bunch of runs in Chicago, no one would have thought anything of the offensive performance tonight. It was Zack Greinke, with the benefit of a ridiculous Tim Tschida strike zone; of course they didn’t score any runs. But, since they got came in with a four game losing streak and got shutdown by Kyle Davies yesterday, the seven shutout innings appear to be the continuation of a pattern. But don’t make more out of this than you should. Very few offenses can do much with Greinke’s pitches, and when he’s got an extra foot on both sides of the plate to work with, forget it.
Snell benefited from Tschida’s strike zone as well, getting some generous calls that helped him rack up some big strikeouts. Hard to believe that you can say this about a guy who put about 45 guys on base and only got 16 outs, but he didn’t pitch as well as his final line may indicate. If Snell was going to give Wak any second thoughts about putting him in the bullpen, that performance won’t do it. He showed all the same problems he’s always had – can’t get lefties out, struggles to command his fastball – and will now have to try to salvage his season in relief. We’ll talk about why he’s the kind of guy who might benefit quite a bit from moving to the bullpen later, but for now, let’s just say that I’m pretty happy that Snell won’t be starting again in five days.
Snell’s first inning jam wasn’t really his fault, though. After DeJesus started the game with a solid single, Snell got Scott Podsednik to hit a weak ground ball right to Chone Figgins. Except, Figgins was covering second base, because DeJesus was running on the pitch. I know Podsednik isn’t a pull power guy or anything, but I have no idea why Figgins was the guy covering in that situation. You generally have the middle infielder the hitter’s opposite side cover the base on a steal, and the M’s decision to have Figgins cover there cost them an easy out. We’ll have to watch to see if they do that with other slap hitters throughout the year, or if there’s a post-game explanation for why Jack Wilson wasn’t covering on that play.
The Royals really are the Mariners of a couple of years ago. Even their good hitters are swing-at-anything hacks, and the line-up doesn’t have very many good hitters. The Royals swung themselves right out of a bunch of rallies, and should have ran up a much bigger lead on Snell, given all the opportunities they had to score. If you want to remember how bad the organization was a couple of years ago, just watch the Royals play.