Akinori Iwamura's triple narrowly eluded Franklin Gutierrez. Michael Saunders was barely beaten home by a throw by Ben Zobrist. B.J. Upton's go-ahead single was a chopper to third that's normally a routine out. Bill Hall's long fly in the ninth was caught at the top of the wall. Baseball is a game of inches, and had just one or two of these plays gone the other way, we would've had a completely different meaningless result.
- Like all Mariner fans, I am frustrated by Brandon Morrow, but to his credit he remains a guy I'll drive home a little too fast to watch. The very nature of inconsistency and unpredictability is such that there always exists the possibility that he'll put it together for seven or eight innings, and a pitcher with that assortment putting it together for a little while can be something to behold.
I try to remind myself of that every time I come away disappointed. This was just the latest Morrow appearance featuring a couple steps forward and a couple steps back, and though he looked terrific for a little while there and did a great job of tying up Upton in the fourth, he didn't have a whole lot working and came undone in the sixth when consecutive walks got him yanked after just 73 pitches. I don't know if this was the plan all along, or if Wak had seen enough, or if he didn't want Brandon to let some negatives erase his positives, or whatever, but for better or worse, few pitchers possess Morrow's ability to stop and start in the blink of an eye. Today those final nine pitches turned this from an effort to build off into something a lot more familiar.
Maybe this is a situation similar to that of Ian Snell. Maybe it'd be for the best to just let Morrow work on what he's working on and take another look at him next March. I dunno. All I can say is that, right now, Brandon Morrow is to me as pancakes are to Mitch Hedberg.
- Remember Josh Wilson's hot streak? Today he crossed the 100 PA mark with the Mariners and stands with a .221/.267/.368 batting line. I understand that none of us are accustomed to getting much of anything out of shortstop, so any positive contributions from the position are amplified, and Wilson's shown a pretty good ability to make that catch over the shoulder, but this is all he is, and if what he is gets you excited, that's less a celebration of Wilson and more an indictment of his predecessors.
- Sometime in the middle innings, Dave Sims remarked that the Mariners [were] an oustanding 32-17 in one-run games. "There's the difference between this year and last year," added Mike Blowers. Indeed, the difference between this year and last year is that this year we have more wins.
- In the top of the eighth, with a man on first and a one-run lead, Kenji Johjima worked a 3-0 count before fouling out to the catcher. I can think of no clearer sign that you just royally fucked up.
- This was a bad night for the broadcast's timing, by the way. In the fourth, Sims mentioned that Morrow was doing a great job of pitching to contact, and Morrow then immediately struck out Upton with three swinging strikes. In the sixth, Sims and Blowers were talking about how much better Garrett Olson is out of the bullpen, and just as they were saying that he doesn't have to think as much in relief he allowed a two-run triple off the wall. Then in the eighth they ran footage of Mark Lowe discussing how good the team's been when it scores four runs, and Lowe proceeded to cough up the tying and winning runs. I'm glad the conversation never steered towards Felix's contract situation.
- An 8.5 inning game between two teams going nowhere featured twelve pitchers, with exactly none of the relievers being untested prospects. Joe Maddon used three pitchers to face four batters in the eighth. Sims said with just a little choler in his voice after the final out that this was managed as if it were a Game 7, and though I get what they were doing and find winning as much as possible to be a noble intent, Christ, really? Brian Shouse threw one pitch. Though all the managerial intervention may have improved each team's chances of winning, I'm sure they could've achieved a reasonable approximation by doing less. If baseball wants to try and make itself more universally watchable, it has to do something about mid-inning pitching changes.
Of course, the funny thing about pitching changes is that once they get to a certain point, you just want it to become a battle of wills, duration be damned. When Maddon went to his third pitcher of the eighth, I wanted Beltre to get on base, not just because I wanted more runs, but also because I wanted to see how far Maddon would go. Beltre singled, and though Springer stayed in, he fell behind Johjima 3-0, and God only knows what would've happened had he walked instead of popped out. Hannahan's left-handed. Better go to the bullpen! What if Hannahan reaches? Then you've got the righty Wilson to deal with. Better go to the bullpen! And if Wilson reaches, you've got the lefties Saunders and Ichiro...
Pitching changes, like everything annoying, are annoying, then more annoying, then less annoying, then hilarious.
- Making his first start in two and a half weeks, Michael Saunders went 3-3 with two hits the other way and one unfortunate play at the plate that should've been attempted one fly ball earlier. Based on a sample size of this game, players perform at a considerably higher level when they pretty much get 16 days completely off. We're gonna need a bigger roster.
- Ichiro: 2-4, .3550
Mauer: 1-4, .3714