Eight hours before the first pitch, I wrote this about Angels starting pitcher Shane Loux
[Loux] doesn't throw strikes and he doesn't miss bats, but does get ground balls. If the Mariners actually made a cognizant game plan, they would be patient and wait for Loux to pitch himself into hitter's counts requiring him to throw his pedestrian junk in their wheelhouse. Instead, they'll be swing happy and consistently ground out over and over again.
It certainly looked like the latter through the first two innings, but in fact, the Mariners weren't chasing Loux's pitches. At the start of the game, Loux was actually hitting the zone and the Mariners were finding themselves in pitcher's counts throughout the early innings. Kudos to them to not overreact to those early innings, they stuck with waiting Loux out and eventually he started missing his spots and they capitalized.
In the fifth, after Adrian Beltre's two-run double, he Mariners re-loaded the bases off Russell Branyan's second walk. They then proceeded to score their next four runs with the following events: a Jose Lopez infield hit off of home plate that bounced too high for a play to be made, a Rob Johnson bloop hit just over the drawn in infield, a Rich Thompson wild pitch, a Yuniesky Betancourt sacrifice fly. It's always fun to beat the Angels, but it's even better when you get to beat them in the way it always seems like they beat you.
Going back to that, this is another example of Rob Johnson getting a positive outcome solely because the opposing defenders were drawn in so closely. Say what you want about his hitting skills, he at least manages to occasionally take advantage of his weaknesses unlike, say, Yuniesky Betancourt, who still hasn't realized that he might one day draw a walk if he managed to contain his excitement for 30 seconds and lay off some damn pitches.
Russell Branyan; two walks, a double and a home run. Oh thank god he's back. Having a real left-handed power threat in the lineup instead of just Ichiro!, Ichiro-lite and Griffey-heavy does wonders for how this lineup looks to right-handed pitchers. Now if we could get Jeff Clement up and hitting, watch out.
Erik Bedard on the day, 34 curveballs, 69 fastballs [identified]. More than one in three curveballs went for a called strike and a nice 12% went for a swinging strike. Amazingly, just seven of the 34 (21%) were called for a ball. Of the six curveballs put in play, all went for groundballs. That's a fantastic pitch. That's a mindblowing pitch. When Erik Bedard has his curveball going, he's among the best pitchers in baseball. Last night, his curveball wasn't just going, it had an overactive bladder and a growing prostate.
Shawn Kelley had himself another decent outing over 2.1 innings as well. This bullpen is not likely to hold up to this level of quality all season, that would be incredible, but you are currently seeing the upside of building a power arm bullpen out of scratch.
Carlos Silva hopes to keep the Angels at bay tomorrow, facing off against Anthony Ortega. He's starting in place of Darren Oliver because Darren Oliver just landed on the 15-day DL. For those keeping track that's the sixth Angels starting pitcher to go down in one form or another. Joe Saunders is a tough friend to have.