Game 116, Mariners at Rangers
Vargas vs. Holland, 5:05pm
The M’s look to avoid a sweep in Arlington, look to figure out Derek Holland, and then look forward to leaving the infernal Texas heat. Holland threw a shutout against Seattle in July, and he’s get 13 Ks to 2 BBs in two starts against the M’s so far. The lefty has been very tough on the few lefties he’s faced so far (he’s faced 3 times as many righties as lefties, as you might imagine), so some of the right-handers are going to have to help Carp and Ackley. C’mon Casper Wells.
Ichiro DHs again tonight, presumably because they’d like to rest him after the 105 degree day yesterday. In the past, this would be a necessary evil type of a move – giving Ichiro some rest, but taking a defensive hit. Now? I haven’t seen much of Casper Wells, but I think he might be a better defender at this stage. UZR isn’t much help at this point, but at the same time, it’s just *hard* to measure defense by watching the games on TV. Still, I don’t think I’m the only one who was stunned when Ichiro didn’t get to Yorvit Torrealba’s game-tying double last night. Was it a tough play? Absolutely, but this is Ichiro. I have to think he makes that play fairly easily in the past, including last year. I can’t think of a reason Ichiro’s defense would just go off a cliff, and it’s possible that it hasn’t. But I’m starting to feel nervous when a ball is hit to right field, and this feeling sucks. We’ve talked a bit about the fact that this season’s provided some great moments despite the drudgery of a losing season/historically bad offense. This is the flip side of that.
1: Ichiro (DH)
7: Wells (RF)
8: L. Rodriguez (3B)
9: T. Robinson (LF)
In the minors, Taijuan Walker gets the start for Clinton, and Anthony Vasquez starts for Tacoma against Round Rock. AA Jackson and A+ High Desert have the day off. In the lower levels, Ambiorix Hidalgo starts for Pulaski and Cameron Hobson makes his first start for Everett.
Alex Liddi scored his 108th run of the year last night to break the Rainiers decades-old record for runs scored in a season. Hosken Powell set the old record of 107 in 1977 with the Tacoma Twins. Powell wasn’t a powerful hitter, but had 82 walks to just 49 Ks in 1977 for a .427 OBP. He debuted with the Twins in 1978 and had an undistinguished MLB career – hampered in part because he had no power despite playing a bat-first defensive position (RF/LF). It says something about the Rainiers offense this season (or about the PCL’s offensive overload) that Liddi could break the record despite posting only a .335 OBP.