The Mariners opted to pull Ian Snell after six innings and 84 pitches. Sean White came in to start the seventh and served up a two-run homer to right field by Jarrod Saltalamacchia that makes it a 4-2 game, Texas leading.
For those of you wondering, Snell hadn’t pitched in a game since June 26 and he lasted only five innings in that affair. So, his arm probably wasn’t ready to handle a 100-pitch night, at least in the eyes of the Mariners. He’d allowed only two runs on three hits over those six innings, so a good night for him. So, a good start for him. But you can’t win without offense and the M’s have only five hits tonight — four of them in one inning.
Some of you have written in to ask about Omar Vizquel’s decision to allow that Jose Lopez pop fly to drop in front of him in the fourth inning. Vizquel picked the ball up as it stopped dead in the grass and easily threw Ichiro out at second on the force. It was ruled a fielder’s choice. That’s heads-up by Vizquel. Heck, he’s even older than I am so if he hasn’t learned to be heads-up yet, he never well. First, you have to know how the ball will deaden on the grass. If you’re wrong and it gets away, boy, will you look dumb. It comes down to who you want on first base. Is it Ichiro, a guy who can steal at any time? Or Lopez? Even Yuniesky Betancourt could make a call like that one. If he’d make a few more of them, his career wouldn’t be as endangered as it now is.
For those of you asking about Jack Hannahan, I asked Don Wakamatsu before the game what’s going to happen with him once Adrian Beltre is activated on Tuesday.
Wakamatsu said it will come down to a choice between Hannahan and Chris Woodward.
“The one thing Woody does is he plays short more than Hannahan has,” Wakamatsu said. “Gives us a little bit more versatility.”
The decision has yet to be made. Rememebr, there’s no guarantee Beltre will come back strong. They might need a third baseman around still. The Mariners did give up a Class AA pitcher to go out and get Hannahan, where they signed Woodward as a minor league free agent. We’ll see if that plays into it at all. Teams don’t like to lose guys they’ve given people up to get (Actually, I was just informed that Hannahan does have Class AAA options left, so he can be sent there without losing him, then recalled in a month when September rosters expand. Well then, that settles it. Hannahan looks to be going with Wooward staying). But ultimately, you do what’s best for the team. And you do need a backup infielder who can play the middle of the field.
6:37 p.m.: It’s now a 2-2 game in the sixth as Michael Young just went deep off Ian Snell to tie it. Two solo homers and only three hits allowed by Snell tonight. Seattle had scored twice in the top of the sixth after singles by Rob Johnson, Michael Saunders and Ichiro to lead off the inning. Russell Branyan then grounded one to the right side to bring a run home to tie the game. And then Jose Lopez blooped one over the head of shortstop Elvis Andrus and into shallow center to give the M’s a lead.
6:29 p.m.: It’s a 1-0 game as we start the sixth inning. Ian Snell has done an excellent job in holding the high-powered Rangers to just two hits.
5:35 p.m.: Ian Snell is through the second inning, getting two easy outs on a grounder to first and a popout to second. Snell did walk Josh Hamilton with two out, but then the latter was caught stealing to end the inning.
Seattle still trails 1-0.
5:22 p.m.: Ian Snell got two quick outs, then saw David Murphy launch a 405-foot homer into the right field stands on a 3-1 pitch. So, the Rangers lead 1-0 after one inning. The rest of the inning was uneventful. A foul pop-out by Omar Vizquel, a called strikeout on Michael Young and a pop out to shallow center by Marlon Byrd.
5:07 p.m.: The much-anticipated debut of Ian Snell is set to go a few minutes from now as the Mariners attempt to split the series. Snell is under contract for three more years after this one and could be a mainstay in Seattle’s rotation for quite a while. You get the impression he truly does want a fresh start here.
I asked Don Wakamatsu about Snell before the game and he nodded his head in agreement that Snell seems to be going out of his way to leave a positive first impression with everybody he meets here. It’s important. The reports coming out of Pittsburgh had folks wondering whether the Mariners were inviting a psychopath into their midst. Instead, the opposite has seemed true. Snell is not an imposing guy to begin with. He and KIRO reporter Shannon Drayer have a running gag going because one of the first things Snell told her after she interviewed him for the first time was that she was the first person he’s ever met in baseball who was shorter than he was.
I was there when he told her and he did it in a nice way, a little hesitant at first. I’ve got to say, when I saw the interview being done, I was thinking the same thing myself. Snell isn’t all that much taller than her. He’s listed at 5-foot-11, which seems at least four inches too much.
And he’s been very polite and smiling at everyone. I think everyone here should be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It seems like he got caught up in a bad situation in Pittsburgh, where the pressure of going in there to work every day just ate away at him. Anyone who’s ever had a problem at work can relate. He told me that the reason he fell into a depression was because he thought his manager didn’t have his back and was pointing a finger at him for the team’s losing ways. That can eat at a guy. Doubt he’ll have any reason to accuse Wakamatsu of that.
Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has been placed on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring. Relief pitcher Jason Grilli was also put on the DL.
1B Russell Branyan
2B Jose Lopez
Ken Griffey Jr. DH
3B Jack Hannahan
SS Jack Wilson
CF Ryan Langerhans
C Rob Johnson
LF Michael Saunders
RHP Ian Snell
2B Omar Vizquel
3B Michael Young
DH David Murphy
LF Marlon Byrd
1B Hank Blalock
RF Nelson Cruz
CF Josh Hamilton
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Elvis Andrus
RHP Scott Feldman