Game Twenty-Two Recap
Pretty interesting game today. I’ll see if I can cram it all in without being too wordy.
The most encouraging sign of the day had to be the way Kotchman and Figgins were stinging the baseball. The triple by Figgins was as hard as he can hit a ball, and Kotchman was hitter lasers the entire day. Toss in Bradley’s double to the opposite field, and the new guy bats were providing some needed power. Now, if we can just get Wak to hit them closer together, so there aren’t some lousy hitters coming in between those three, that’d be nice.
Ryan Rowland-Smith didn’t pitch great, but he was better than the final line indicates. He used his breaking ball a lot more, and with success, and got a decent amount of swinging strikes by burying the change-up down and away from right-handers. The 6th inning rally was made possible by a high sun that gave outfielders fits the entire game – Kendall’s bases loaded pop fly is an easy out on most days, and without that ball dropping in, Hyphen probably goes six innings and only allows one run. There were encouraging signs today, even if he still wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him before.
Nice to see Brandon League be the first guy out of the bullpen and just slam the door on the Royals to keep the game winnable. That’s the guy the Mariners traded for right there.
Jose Lopez saw 13 pitches in five trips to the plate. It is way beyond time to move him down in the order. He’s not swinging the bat well, having good at-bats, or generally doing anything to help the team score runs. He should hit no higher than 6th or 7th in this line-up.
In the 8th inning, Jason Kendall hit a groundball into the hole between SS and 3B. Jack Wilson did his best Derek Jeter impression, only he added actual range to the formula as well. It was, quite simply, an incredible play, and the kind of play that is easy to point to and say “yeah, that’s why he’s on the team.” You will see hundreds of replays of Wilson’s play, and deservedly so.
Yuniesky Betancourt ended the game by swinging at a pitch that was nowhere close to the strike zone. While we’ve all seen this 100 times, it was nice to be the beneficiary of his ridiculous approach, rather than the victim. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I don’t have to watch him anymore.
Another walk today for Rob Johnson. This deserves its own post, but the drastic change in approach that he’s taken on so far this year is nothing short of shocking.
The next time the Mariners play, Cliff Lee will be on the mound. With a .500 record, Friday night will feel like Opening Day 2.0. The first 22 games didn’t really change too many things, as the Mariners survived a depleted roster and head into the next five months with a pretty decent shot at the playoffs.