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6-7, Quick Game Thoughts

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That was both a frustrating game, and an understandable one. On the one hand, the Mariners blew some glorious chances. Chone Figgins getting thrown out in the first. Eric Byrnes and Casey Kotchman making a mess on the basepaths in the second. Ichiro getting caught off first in the sixth (pattern!). Franklin Gutierrez and Jose Lopez making outs in the eighth with the tying run in scoring position. And so on. This was, in many ways, a very winnable game.

But on the other hand, look at the LOB column for Detroit. 33. Not only did they put 18 runners on base; they put 11 runners on base with zero outs, and had 15 runners on base with one out. You could credit Mariner pitchers for the fact that Tiger hitters went 4-24 with men on base, but at the same time you can't play with fire that often and not expect to get burned. This was, more than anything else, a poor effort, and though the M's hung around through their final at bat, ultimately, they didn't deserve to win. The Tigers simply did more.

Going to make this quick, as hockey's put me in a foul mood and I have an errand to go run.

  • This is hard. Ian Snell has made three starts this season, and two of them have been bad. However, in one, he was dealing with the recent loss of a family member, and in the other, he was dealing with the recent loss of a family member and the flu. I don't mean to be insensitive, and I feel horrible for Ian, but this stuff is making it really difficult to see what he's going to bring to the table. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, because he's dealing with some real issues, but all I have are the numbers in front of me.

    Striking fact: Snell threw more than 80% fastballs this afternoon. His velocity wasn't suffering, and he sustained it through the duration of his appearance, but I wonder if he just wasn't feeling his breaking ball, because he faced a lot of righties.

  • Miguel Cabrera killed his home run, and he killed it despite being out in front of the pitch. This is why it's so dangerous to throw changeups to same-handed hitters. Cabrera thought he was getting an inside fastball, but because Snell's change tailed in - rather than away, like a slider - Cabrera was able to adjust his swing and whip the barrel around to hit the ball 600 feet. 

  • Ken Griffey Jr. has seven hits, and I feel like every single one of them has been a roller between first and second base. I know that isn't true, but, man.

  • If you didn't hear, Milton Bradley was scratched from the lineup before the game with a sore calf. It's not major, and he was able to pinch-hit in the ninth, but this is one of those things you'll want to get used to, especially as long as he keeps playing the outfield. He hurts himself. All the time. Note that this is precisely why I hate carrying two DHs who are totally worthless.

  • In the bottom of the seventh, with a man on first, Adam Moore tried to bunt for a base hit down the third base line. Adam Moore is a catcher. Brandon Inge is one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball. There were two outs. I haven't the foggiest what that was about.

  • I'm trying not to complain about ball/strike calls very often, because it gets redundant and annoying, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention perhaps the most egregious mistake by home plate umpire Scott Barry:


    I'm talking about pitch #5, which was a 3-1 fastball to Chone Figgins by Max Scherzer. We know about the lefty strike, but this one's particularly ridiculous, because the pitch was never very close to the zone, and worse, as a fastball, it was only tailing away. If Barry calls that a ball, the M's have Ichiro and Figgins on base with no one out in a 3-2 game. Instead, the count went full, and Figgins lined out (into a double play, no less) on the next pitch. That's a big swing on an outside fastball.

  • This team turns some incredible double plays. Chone Figgins knows what he's doing. I didn't like Sean White intentionally walking the righty Cabrera to face the lefty Carlos Guillen in the seventh, but the ensuing 4-6-3 was just the latest in a line of spectacular turns.

  • Casey Kotchman seems to make another brilliant defensive play every game. Unfortunately he also seems to run himself into a bad out just as often. Being slow is bad. Being overly aggressive is bad. Being slow and overly aggressive doesn't make a lick of sense. Good news: Kotchman went down and got that 1-1 fastball he yanked for a home run. The guy we all feared would be a groundball machine has five extra-base hits in 12 games, and is slugging .500. One to watch? One to watch.

  • This afternoon, Eric Byrnes lost a fly ball in the sun, fell over backwards making a routine catch, dove to snag a ball and lost it on the second turn, attempted to run over catcher Alex Avila, and popped out. Nobody packs as many events into an average game as Eric Byrnes. Eric Byrnes is like David Eckstein concentrate.