|Box Score||Chart||Game Thread||Game Preview||Series Preview|
Saturday evening: the Seattle Mariners received a stellar outing from their starting pitcher but wasted it with a poor offensive showing.
It's a result we've grown accustomed to over the past few seasons, but is it easier to swallow knowing some lousy luck is involved? At least this isn't Plan A.
The Mariners Opening Day outfield has missed the last two games due to injury. Michael Saunders is on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained shoulder. Michael Morse is missing a few games with a fractured pinky. Franklin Gutierrez got an extra day off with a sore groin.
Those three players just happen to be the Mariners' most productive position players so far this season, and removing them from the lineup leaves... what?
Raul Ibanez, Endy Chavez and Jason Bay. In 2006, these three would have combined to be one of the top starting outfields in the game. But consider where you were in 2006 and how much you've changed since then. For me, 2006 might as well have been a lifetime ago. The same goes for these players.
Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley give us reason for hope (sometimes), but neither is being counted on to carry the offense after they blew that assignment last year and especially after getting off to slow starts this season. Kendrys Morales can't do it on his own. And he didn't.
The Mariners' best opportunity came in the 5th inning when Kelly Shoppach led of the inning by scorching a ground-rule double into Edgar's Cantina and Dustin Ackley followed up by lining a single in the right field. But the next two
hitters batsmen were Brendan Ryan and Endy Chavez, and with Shoppach a poor match for a squeeze play, what can you expect? Ryan struck out, Chavez hit a shallow fly ball. Jason Bay came through with an RBI single, but that was it.
All we can do is hope that Morse will be back after Monday's off day, and that Michael Saunders doesn't miss more than the required 15 days.
- Joe Saunders threw 7 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks. He kept the ball on the ground, locating his changeup down and away to right-handed hitters. Unfortunately, "good Saunders" isn't much more entertaining than "bad Saunders."
- Jason Bay hit the ball hard several times in this one, managing two hits. He's quietly had a nice start to the season, batting .238/.385/.429, showing a great approach at the plate and avoiding embarrassment in the field.
- Only half of Dustin Ackley's balls in play went towards right field! Progress? Ackley appears to be struggling to get comfortable at the plate based on what appears to be slightly different setups for almost every at bat the past couple games.
Carter Capps got the blame for letting the Rangers pull ahead but had a decent outing overall. He began by walking Craig Gentry after a blown third strike call. Gentry moved to second on a hit and run groundout (although it looked like a straight steal attempt). Then Capps jammed Elvis Andrus with an inside fastball, but Andrus managed to deposit it a foot fair in right field for the RBI single.
Andrus was able to advance to third base with Adrian Beltre at the plate. Andrus attempted a stolen base, Beltre bailed out of the box after a failed timeout call, and Capps threw his fastball wide. Kelly Shoppach was preparing to throw to second base and wasn't able to reach the fastball, which was deflected to the backstop, allowing Andrus to round second and coast into third. It was a strange-looking play that seemed more complex than it actually was. Beltre then rifled a single in to left field for the RBI.
Capps finished up by blowing away Nelson Cruz to end the inning.
Some bad breaks on the Gentry walk and the wild pitch, but Capps looked fine in this one. His command wasn't perfect, but that's not his M.O. Not many breaking pitches, though.
- The Rangers broadcasters gave a brief summary of Oliver Perez's career as he warmed up for the 9th, capping it off with something along the lines of, "Perez appeared in 33 games for the Mariners last season, going 1-3." I expected another sentence or two but that was it. 7 years ago I wouldn't have thought twice, but this seems like such a bizarre statement these days. A starter's record can at least appear to provide information, but what does 1-3 tell anyone? It struck me as odd.