Game 76, Athletics at Mariners

marc w · June 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Jason Vargas vs. Travis Blackley, 7:10pm

Ah, Travis Blackley. It seems like it was only yesterday when the young Aussie left-hander made his debut with the 2004 Mariners. He’d torn up the Texas League in 2003 (at age 20), with a sparkling ERA and impressive strikeout totals for a guy whose fastball was basically 89-90.

He struggled a bit with his command in Tacoma, and his strikeout rate was down, but holy crap the 2004 M’s were terrible. It was one of Jamie Moyer’s worst years in Seattle, the year Joel Pineiro went from “phenom” to “problem.” All told, the M’s, playing in Safeco, gave up 5.1 runs per game. When the M’s traded Fredy Garcia, they brought up Blackley who’d been excellent in his first few months of AAA. We all remember what happened next – 26 terrible innings, followed by a demotion and another month or two of bad AAA performance followed by a shoulder injury that developed into a torn labrum. After rehab, he made a few appearances in the M’s system before being released and picked up by San Francisco. After 2007, he’s pitched almost anywhere people are paid to pitch baseballs, from Australia to Korea to :shudder: Reno. After being out of affiliated ball in 2011, he started off the season pitching like his 21-year old self for Fresno and earned a call-up with the Giants. A few games later, he was cut and then picked up by the A’s, who didn’t necessarily have a place for him, but it had been a few days since they’d made a roster move and Billy Beane needed a fix bad.

Blackley’s still got the same 89-91 mph fastball, though he’s using a two-seamer now to good effect. Always a fly-ball pitcher with the M’s, he’s got a 50% ground ball rate now with the A’s. His slow curve ball’s still there, though it’s never really been a great pitch. His change-up is his best pitch in terms of generating whiffs and grounders, so that’s something the M’s right-handers should look for (he’s thrown zero to lefties). The two-seamer’s helped his HR problems, and he’s also greatly improved his command somehow. He’s coming off of his best performance as a major leaguer, an 8IP no decision in which he essentially matched Clayton Kershaw pitch for pitch (OK, it’s more like he functioned as a slow-motion replay of each Clayton Kershaw pitch), finishing with 3 hits allowed, 1 run, 6 Ks to no walks. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care, as an old Travis Blackley signed baseball sits on my desk. *

Jason Vargas gets to pitch at home and not Arizona, which is a positive, but I’d love to see some sign that he’s tweaked his delivery or is able to pitch down in the zone again. I’ve been worried with Vargas’ slide these past few months, and tonight would be a nice night to stop it.

1: Ichiro (DH)
2: Gutierrez (CF)
3: Seager (3B)
4: Montero (C)
5: Smoak (1B)
6: Saunders (LF)
7: Wells (RF)
8: Ackley (2B)
9: Ryan (SS)
SP: Jason Vargas

* It sits next to Bobby Madritsch and Chris Snelling signed baseballs. It is officially the saddest of all possible desks.


165 Responses to “Game 76, Athletics at Mariners”

  1. stevemotivateir on June 26th, 2012 9:56 pm

    How’s that, bradguy… we won!

  2. msfanmike on June 26th, 2012 9:57 pm

    Hit Smoak 7 or 8 times, please.

  3. Westside guy on June 26th, 2012 9:58 pm

    Somebody needs to tell Ryan that “beard” of his is NOT a good thing.

    It’s like one of those “beards” we tried to grow in high school.

  4. Breadbaker on June 26th, 2012 10:00 pm

    Westy, we do not knock Brendan Ryan when he just hit the gamewinner (and had a pretty spectacular play in the field, too).

  5. marinerbullpen on June 26th, 2012 10:00 pm

    Just play the young guys.
    Olivo, Figgins, and Ichiro, Just say No.

    As much as I usually hate Ryans plate awareness, I do feel he is a good teammate (Chemistry, which I know…..) and a great defender. I consider Ryan young.

    Smoak, I’m concerned about, Ackley I’m not.

  6. Westside guy on June 26th, 2012 10:03 pm

    Ryan’s a good guy – hanging out in the dugout, signing autographs.

  7. stevemotivateir on June 26th, 2012 10:04 pm

    In case you didn’t notice, Ichiro has been hitting the ball really well lately.

  8. stevemotivateir on June 26th, 2012 10:07 pm

    I like what Wedge did tonight, having Montero catch, and Ichiro DH, so Wells was in the line-up, rather than Olivo.

  9. marinerbullpen on June 26th, 2012 10:13 pm

    Down on Ichiro. Thanks for the 12 great years.
    Tired of the bat flip when we really need a drive.

    I like Wedge, maybe not a popular choice here, let me know.

  10. msfanmike on June 26th, 2012 10:23 pm

    Yes, Ichiro is clearly still the problem and Wedge is a great purveyor of lineup creation.

    Just out for a late evening trolling session, are we?

  11. stevemotivateir on June 26th, 2012 10:28 pm

    If you’re going to blast Ichiro, it’s probably wise to find another place to do that. Read what’s stated right below the header and it will make sense. I feel like a broken record.

  12. WTF_Ms on June 26th, 2012 10:51 pm

    Agreed. Not god to bust on the best player all-around, hat the M’s have ever had.

    And, he’s picked up the hitting as of late, which gives me hope that e can help this team finish the year with a respectable “rebuilding year” record. Go Ichiro! Go M’s!

  13. marinerbullpen on June 27th, 2012 12:03 am

    WOW, how the masses will stick together.
    you gals are all delusional if you truly believe ichiro is helping us. Really?

    Griffey >>>>>>> ichiro

  14. marinerbullpen on June 27th, 2012 12:07 am

    We are talking about NOW, are we not?

    Ichiro is not the nuts. I love his past performance, but not his current performance.

  15. samregens on June 27th, 2012 3:10 am

    —WOW, how the masses will stick together.
    you gals are all delusional if you truly believe ichiro is helping us. Really?—
    —I love his past performance—

    Sure you do, troll.

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