Eric Sogard's Glasses Not Enough As Mariners Double Up A's

Melvin: Look guys, I know we're facing a tough challenge tonight.
Melvin: I know they're throwing Felix, and we haven't had a lot of success hitting Felix in the past.
Melvin: He's one of the best there is.
Melvin: That's why I brought in a secret weapon.
Clubhouse: /murmurs
Melvin: /approaches locker
Melvin: /opens locker
Clubhouse: AWW!
Sogard: Hey you guys!
Weeks: aw what the f***
Sizemore: He's wearing glasses!
Powell: This is the God damned secret weapon?
Bailey: What the f*** is this guy gonna solve except equations
Sweeney: It's like if Apple had a teenager.
Magnuson: What is that lil dweeb going to do to Felix? Arraign him?
Suzuki: Pipsqueak!
Sizemore: He's wearing glasses!
Crisp: Hey four eyes can you see how many fingers I'm holding up
Crisp: Hint, it's one motherf***er
Cahill: Wasn't that guy already on our team

  • In a lot of ways, Felix Hernandez picked up where he left off last week against the Yankees. His location wasn't perfect tonight. It wasn't particularly close to perfect. He only threw 60% of his pitches for strikes, he walked three guys, and he found himself in a number of deep counts. But he both made it look hard and made it look easy, because as much as he might've been laboring, the outs kept going up on the scoreboard, and he took a shutout into the seventh. I know this was the A's, but the A's have actually been hitting well lately, and Felix by and large kept them quiet.

    It hasn't felt like Felix has been Felix a lot this season, right? Felix first turned into Felix on a consistent basis in 2009, right? A comparison, with 2009 on the left, and 2011 on the right:

    Innings per game: 7.0 / 7.1
    BB%: 7.3% / 7.8%
    K%: 22% / 23%
    HR%: 1.5% / 1.8%

    It's mighty close. I know offense is down this year, which shifts the baseline, but it's funny the way an extra hit or walk here and there can alter the perception. Felix has been terrific. He hasn't been the best pitcher in baseball, but baseball has a lot of great pitchers.

  • The guy who broke Felix's shutout in the seventh was Scott Sizemore, a talented but frustrating infielder the Tigers traded to the A's at the end of May for David Purcey, who the Tigers DFA'd this afternoon. Sizemore worked a long at bat and then jumped on a 3-2 fastball at the belt, lining it up the middle. That's what it looked like. A line drive, that would either sink and drop in front of Guti, or hang up and get caught by Guti. Instead it hung up and then hung up some more, staying airborne long enough to clear the fence in straightaway center field. The announcers couldn't stop talking about how weird it was that the ball left the yard, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I have a lot of baseball viewing experience. I feel like I'm pretty good at reading balls off the bat. I can't always tell which line drives will get caught by infielders and which line drives will go over their heads, but I can usually tell which balls are home runs, and which balls are not home runs. This one just poured water onto my cerebral motherboard. I think I'm gonna have to start all over from scratch tomorrow afternoon.

  • I have no problem with Stihl advertising itself as "the brand bought most from coast to coast." I think it's clever and catchy, as those kinds of lines go. But they might want to reconsider referring to their chainsaws as legendary. Chainsaws that show up in legends usually aren't used for logging.

  • Casper Wells already had some hits to his name as a Mariner, but tonight he checked in with his first Mariner home run, blasting a Rich Harden changeup into the bleachers just down the left field line. I was actually going over footage of all of Wells' home runs just this afternoon. He only has nine of them. What struck me was how all of them - including this latest one - look kind of alike. It looks like he's swinging off his front foot, and he attacks the ball with this level swing where you don't understand how he gets the lift that he does. Based on what I've seen from Wells, he has all the tools to be a contributing regular, and any opposite-field home runs he hits will look accidental.

  • I think if I were a defender, I would always really quickly flash a middle finger when I'm going after a hit ball, just in case there's a slow-motion replay.

  • We haven't checked in with Root Sports voiceover guy in a while, but when advertising tomorrow's matinee broadcast, he just sneered out the name "Bob Melvin," as if Melvin is some kind of supervillain of yore instead of a guy who managed a good Mariners team and then a bad Mariners team.

  • You're Jeff Gray. You're just trying to cut it in the bigs. You've had some chances in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and then in 2011 you begin with the White Sox. They don't use you much, and you get traded to the Mariners on May 13th. Over the next eight weeks, you get into three games. You don't spend time in the minors. You don't spend time on the disabled list. You just spend time hanging out in the bullpen, getting into three games in eight weeks. You start kicking a soccer ball around before games with Jack Wilson. You're unknown. You walk around town and nobody recognizes you, and when you say you pitch for the Mariners, nobody believes you, even when you show them your ID.

    Then the Mariners start using you all of a sudden. Then some things happen, and you become a trusted, high-leverage reliever. Then you do well. You're Jeff Gray. You're feeling awesome.

  • This was Dustin Ackley's night:

    -Five-pitch walk
    -Six-pitch triple
    -Five-pitch fly out
    -Twelve-pitch strikeout

    Ackley doesn't give at bats away. It's that simple. He'll put worse swings on some balls than he'd like to, but nobody's perfect, and he doesn't get himself out. It sounds empty and cliche, but if you think about what it really means, then you understand Ackley's approach. Pitchers don't always have to work to retire Miguel Olivo. Pitchers have to work to retire Dustin Ackley. They don't always have to be perfect to retire Dustin Ackley, but they have to be closer to perfect than they do with Ackley's teammates.

    Ackley's triple, incidentally, was a ground-rule triple, as it was interfered with by that Ichiro look-alike fan we've seen every now and then in the past. Given the Ichiro look-alike's quick reflexes, and given Ichiro's substandard batting performance, it's worth considering the possibility that we've had the wrong Ichiro all this time. I don't know why Ichiro would agree to that switch but who knows why Ichiro does anything?

  • The Ichiro look-alike watched Ichiro in a game in Oakland once, but learned his lesson quickly.

  • In the bottom of the first, Brendan Ryan legged out an infield single. Noticing that nobody was covering second, he sprinted to the next bag, and when the Oakland infielders lowered their heads in shame, he noticed that nobody was covering third, so he sprinted to the next bag after that. It was a straight-up video game move where you strike up a conversation with your buddy and hope he isn't looking at the little diamond in the corner of the screen. In Oakland's defense, as much as they were built around pitching and glovework coming into the season, Jemile Weeks is a rookie, Eric Sogard is a rookie, and Scott Sizemore is a second baseman playing third. In Oakland's not-defense, Major League Baseball. Bob Melvin will drill his infielders tomorrow by forcing them to stand on second base and then third base for an hour and a half.

  • The A's loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth, looking to get back into the game. The first guy they sent up in that situation struck out on a pitch that hit him in the back shoulder. The second guy they sent up in that situation was wearing glasses. 

Gio Gonzalez and Charlie Furbush at 12:40 tomorrow afternoon. Justin Smoak isn't going to play after jamming his thumb on a groundball, but Furbush shouldn't need more than one or two runs of support, max.

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