I didn't ever think the Mariners were going to win this series. For one thing, it was against the White Sox in Chicago, and the Mariners never beat the White Sox in Chicago. For another thing, the pitching matchups sucked. Sure, Felix was going to steamroll whoever the hell Dylan Axelrod is, but the other two games... yeesh. Jose Quintana was pretty good last year, and opposite him would be Blake Beavan. Chris Sale was really good last year. I figured, hey, they'll win the Felix game and drop the other two and then they get to go home and feast on the Astros.
Well, at least I was right about the record.
The M's actually did better against Sale than I was expecting them to. I have bad memories of him tearing his way through their lefty-heavy lineup last year, but this year they managed to work enough counts and hit enough dingers to chase him from the game in the sixth inning. Morse hit a dinger, which is becoming a common occurrence. Morales hit a dinger, the first by a Mariner non-outfielder. The M's had the lead! Iwakuma was pitching really well!
Unfortunately, U.S. Cellular decided to be U.S. Cellular, and we were all subjected to that awful Hawk Harrelson home run call. And then the White Sox won. Good times, good times.
- The White Sox were wearing these funky throwback uniforms with lots of red and blue on them. I actually kind of liked them, though I probably would've changed the font on the chest. They were certainly several cuts above the regular White Sox attire, which just looks like cheap knock-off Yankees gear to me, but I don't think any White Sox alternate is ever going to live up to these beauties.
- Every run in this game was scored via the long ball. Can you remember the last time that happened in a Mariners game in which more than four runs were scored? If not, don't feel bad, because neither can I. But I've gotta say the Morales and Morse additions are certainly adding some spice to the lineup.
- Speaking of dingers, Kameron Loe game up another one. That makes three in his first two appearances. It's a bummer that his nasty HR/FB luck from last year seems to have carried into this year, because he's really quite a nifty reliever to have in the bullpen. Hopefully he doesn't get demoted when Erasmo Ramirez is deemed worth of joining the team. No offense, Lucas Luetge and Blake Beavan, but one of you should probably be that guy.
- Jeff Sullivan, unsurprisingly, won the "Tweet of the Game" prize. If there is such a thing.
the Marlins have a higher team OBP than the Mariners— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) April 7, 2013
- There was a certain degree of pre-game griping about the lineup that Eric Wedge ran out there today. I'll grant that I myself would much rather see Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley than Jason Bay and Robert Andino. But while Saunders and Ackley didn't display real platoon splits last year, that seems to have been something of a fluke, and Sale has pretty significant splits of his own to consider. Remember, lineup construction is about much more than just a single game's on-field performance. Perhaps Wedge was trying to snap Ackley's slump, or give Saunders a rest at the top of the order, or give Bay a chance to display his leadership skills. His reason might've been good. Or it might've been bad! We don't know. We do know that it wasn't just because Sale is left-handed, because Wedge didn't hesitate to deploy Ackley and Saunders against a lefty on Opening Day. Wedge has many faults, but I don't think lineup construction is one of the big ones.
- This happened (mouse over to play):
Tomorrow is the Mariners' home opener. They will face the Astros, which is the good news, but their starting pitcher will be Joe Saunders, which is the bad news. Remember how Vargas used to always land the home opener? Doesn't this just feel perfectly appropriate?