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Jason Vargas Rolls On, Mariner Hitters Duck and Cover

I'd probably hide my face too
I'd probably hide my face too

I knew in advance tonight that Jeff was going to be otherwise occupied and so the recap duties would fall on my slightly off-kilter shoulders. I tried to be thorough about it and even kept notes throughout the game as I paid attention as best as I could while simultaneously doing work that I am far more abundantly paid and skilled for. And then I went and left all my notes at work and don't remember half of them from memory so... whoops. Sorry, everyone.

Ultimately I'm not sure they would have been much help anyways. This game flew by for the exact reasons you'd expect a game that is measured by outs to proceed swiftly. The Mariners sent 35 batters to the plate and 26 of them made outs there. The Orioles sent 32 batters to the plate and 24 of them made outs. That's a combined on base percentage of .254 for the game.

The Mariners actually out baserunnered the Orioles, 9-8, but Seattle managed only one extra-base hit, an Eric Thames double. The Orioles had four doubles and a crucial Nick Markakis home run that ended up as the difference. Innings that go 1-2-3 are obviously pitcher-friendly, but half innings that last only four batters are typically also of the scoreless and short-lived variety. The Mariners went down either in order, or with only a single extra hitter in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The Orioles did the same in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.

What I am laying out for you all here is that there was not much offense in this game. Chris Tillman was good, throwing a whole bunch of strikes, but Vargas was his peer tonight overall.

Jason Vargas

#P BF Str% nBB Sw(ms) K(sw) GB/FB/LD/IF 1B/2B/3B/HR
105 32 69.5 0 55 (11) 2 (2) 17 / 8 / 3 / 2 3 / 4 / 0 / 1

Not a lot of strikeouts of course, but no walks either and Vargas worked efficiently, 105 pitches through 32 batters is just 3.3 per. Batters swung on over half of Vargas' pitches, but he mostly avoided solid contact and missed his share of swings completely. Markakis' home run was crushed and several of the doubles were well struck as well, but Vargas did a fine job in isolating those, buttressing the doubles with loads of ground outs.

Pitch # Sp Zone% Ball Called SwStr Foul GB FB LD IF Bt
CH 41 78.7 48.8 11 2 8 4 11 3 1 1
FA 36 86.6 47.2 12 6 1 8 2 3 2 1
CT 13 82.9 30.8 5 4 0 1 3

CU 13 73.9 61.5 4 5 2 0 2

There might be some consternation at Munenori Kawasaki for his attempt to take second on his single in the eighth that scored Eric Thames. It took a near perfect cut off and relay to nab Kawasaki at second, so based solely on that one sample, it probably wasn't a bad decision in a vacuum; the likelihood of successfully taking that base was probably pretty high.

However, it was already the eighth inning and Kawasaki did not represent the tying run there. Preserving outs is of utmost important at that point and so I think it's fair to criticize taking the risk, small as it may have been. It's not worth losing your head over though. That would be ridiculous on your part; this is just a baseball game and one in which you were not* an active participant.