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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

June 21, 2007 at 8:43 PM

Mariners vs. Pirates, series finale

This game is racing right along, with the Mariners up 3-0 in the sixth. I’d love to say Felix Hernandez has reinvented himself tonight, but I’m not sure I can. The Pittsburgh Pirates have returned to their hacking ways, swinging at everything early and letting Hernandez get through the first five innings on only 61 pitches. Hernandez doesn’t seem to be mixing up his pitches all that much. I see a lot of fastballs hitting 97 mph on the scoreboard radar. I suppose the best improvement over his outing in Houston is that these fastballs are lower down.
But as I said, it’s tough to tell whether there’s any marked improvement. Had any of the Pirates tried to work the count, it might be different. Or if they could make him pay for all those fastballs — sure. But the folks from Pittsburgh have assured me what’s going on tonight is mostly the Pirates being the Pirates. They’ve seen this act before.
That said, hey, Hernandez could use a breather. He’s certainly getting one. Other than a bases-loaded jam with two out in the fifth, which he got through by catching Nate McLouth looking at a 1-2 pitch, there hasn’t been much going on to make him sweat. The M’s finally broke through after that with Ichiro driving home the first run with a single, having already extended his hitting streak to 16 games. Jose Lopez then doubled home two more.
Seattle should win this game. Pittsburgh’s offense is in a terrible rut, with no runs scored in 17 consecutive innings. The M’s needed something like this to help get them back on-track. So far so good and hey, you take a shutout whenever another team gives it to you. Not trying to bring them down, I’m just saying, it’s very tough to get a read on what Hernandez — and Jeff Weaver last night — have really accomplished against this type of opponent.

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