Game Forty-Five Recap
Milton Bradley makes this line-up better. Having him hit clean-up, where he can actually drive in Ichiro and Gutierrez, is the best possible chance this team has of scoring runs on a nightly basis. Let’s hope his two big hits off of Verlander convince Wak of that, and Bradley sticks around in the #4 spot for the rest of the season. It’s where he belongs.
Doug Fister wasn’t great tonight, but he again showed the power of throwing strikes. Even with breaks not going his way, his willingness to pound the strike zone limited the damage that the Tigers could do. He’ll never be an ace with his limited ability to strike batters out, but there’s room in a rotation for a guy who just never walks anyone. For a back-end starter, the Mariners could do a lot worse.
How good is Franklin Gutierrez? Another opposite field home run, a huge eighth inning walk off Verlander to get Bradley to the plate, and the hard hit single in the first where he got on base in front of Milton before the home run… he was part of all three rallies the M’s had, and his development as a hitter just continues. Our star defensive center fielder can now hit a little bit too.
People love to talk about things that don’t show up in a box score – Chone Figgins slide on the throw home in the eighth inning is one of those things. Ordonez’s throw was pretty good, and if Figgins takes the normal “slide before you get to the plate and try to touch it with your foot” approach, I’m not sure he gets in there. Instead, he smartly runs directly to the plate, then hooks behind the catcher and catches the plate with his hand. By the time Avila went to swipe where Figgins foot would have been, he’d already passed him and been called safe. Just a tremendous piece of baserunning by Figgins there, scoring on a play where probably 90 percent of runners would have been thrown out.
Nice to see the M’s pick up a win against Justin Verlander. Even if the Tigers didn’t have Miguel Cabrera, this was still a game they could have easily lost, but that they need to win to keep their season alive. Here’s to hoping they can get another one tomorrow afternoon.