Even David Aardsma admitted he was getting a tad nervous when that Jason Bay fly ball to left field hung up forever (photo above) and kept creeping closer to the wall. He was breathing a sigh of relief afterwards, as were the Mariners.
Aardsma was pumped up for this appearance, coming as it did against his former Boston Red Sox club. So, it was nerve-wracking, but he closed out a 5-4 win by the Mariners.
“In the fourth inning, my heart was just racing,” he said, of the possibility of facing his old team. “but the second they called down, I got the ball, started warming up and didn’t feel anything.”
Ichiro certainly helped him by running down that Dustin Pedroia blast to the gap in right center. Aardsma felt certain the ball would be an extra base hit.
So, that night’s out of the way. No guarantee Aardsma will keep getting the ninth as Brandon Morrow works through command issues in middle relief. Mark Lowe looked strong tonight and might get a shot soon.
“They haven’t told me anything,” Aardsma said. “As far as I’m concerned, Brandon’s still the guy. until they tell me otherwise, I’m looking at the eighth inning every day and just going out there and throwing.”
For those of you debating whether Ichiro can hit home runs at-will, here’s what he had to say about it.
“I’m not Sadaharu Oh,” he said, smiling. “So, I don’t have the abilities to do things like that.”
Later on, he observed: “I guess it kind of proves that, in the universe, mysterious things happen.”
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu was asked about Ichiro’s power.
“He’s a pretty special player as it is,” Wakamatsu said. “I don’t know…that’s a tough order to ask a player who’s a 200-plus hit guy a year to all of a sudden change his swing. They used to say Wade Boggs could do the same thing. It;s tough to say.”
Regardless, the Mariners won. It was a big game. Win one of the next two to take a series in which you’re starting three guys who weren’t in the rotation coming out of spring training and that’s quite an accomplishment.