Not happening for the Mariners tonight. They are getting overwhelmed by Justin Verlander, who’d notched five straight outs via strikeouts before Luis Rodriguez popped out to end the seventh.
Not looking good for Seattle with six outs to go and them trailing 4-1.
5:35 p.m.: Remember not too long ago when we were discussing how those games of two runs allowed by M’s pitchers was not sustainable? Well, it ain’t. Seattle trails 4-1 after Doug Fister couldn’t pull off yet another Houdini act in the fifth. Jhonny Peralta led off with a single and then Alex Avila hit his second triple of the game to tie it up. How rare are two triples in a game by one guy. Avila is the third Tiger to do it since 1919. That’s going back 93 years, folks.
Fister looked like he might again strand a runner at third, but after notching a strikeout and a groundout, he yielded a single to Don Kelly and then a two-run homer to right by Brennan Boesch.
So, the M’s need to find some offense quick.
5:28 p.m.: The more I see of Greg Halman, the more I’d love to see the team experiment with him at least once atop the order on the day Ichiro is finally given a rest. Judging by what Ichiro has done tonight — a strikeout and two routine groundouts — that could come as early as tomorrow. Anyhow, the M’s lead 1-0 in the fifth after Halman reached on a single to center, stole second, then took third on a flyout to right by Luis Rodriguez. Jack Wilson struck out next, but the ball got away from the catcher and Halman sprinted on home with the run.
Halman has a certain energy out there. I’m sure Eric Wedge wanted some of that energy in the lineup against a guy like Justin Verlander, who can light up a radar gun. Surprise move by Wedge putting Halman in the lineup, but he’s looking good now. When your veteran hitters have looked old and slow for a while, a burst of youth can be a smart play.
5:12 p.m.: Doug Fister just did it again in the fourth inning, stranding a runner on third with fewer than two out. Brenann Boesch led off the inning with a double to left field, then took third on a groundout. But Victor Martinez popped out to shallow center, with the runner holding as Franklin Gutierrez made a strong throw. Then, Andy Dirks popped out foul to catcher Miguel Olivo, carrying this scoreless game to the fifth.
4:53 p.m.: Doug Fister did a great job of pitching out of a jam in the third inning after Alex Avila led things off with a triple to right center. Fister got Ryan Raburn to pop out to first base, eliciting boos from the crowd. Bad night for Raburn thus far. Then, Fister caught Austin Jackson looking at a called third strike before Don Kelly flied out harmlessly to right.
Superb job by Fister and we’re still scoreless heading to the fourth.
4:37 p.m.: Two innings are done here and we’re still scoreless. Doug Fister got into a two-on, one out jam in the first inning, then notched a 5-5-3 double-play grounder to Luis Rodriguez, who stepped on his bag and made a long throw to first to get Miguel Cabrera. Big bullet dodged there.
Mike Carp got on in the second inning with a walk but then got himself picked off by Justin Verlander. Welcome back to the big leagues. Focus seems to be a problem out around first base tonight. Hot babe in the stands?
Fister just sailed through a perfect second, so on to the third we go.
4:20 p.m.: Brendan Ryan pulled off something you don’t see very often in the first inning, reaching on an infield single to the shortstop. Ryan then waited for first baseman Miguel Cabrera to toss the ball back to pitcher Justin Verlander before breaking for second base. That’s because Tigers second baseman Ryan Raburn was standing two thirds of the way towards first base (he’d gone over to cover the play) and was daydreaming, looking at the ground, kicking the dirt in front of him. Not what a major leaguer does. Ryan realized nobody was covering second and that he’d be safe the minute he took a few steps and got past Raburn.
So he did.
The scorekeeper and pressbox folks were so baffled, nobody knew whether to award Ryan a double, or a stolen base or something else. They decided to say he advanced one base on the throw. That would be the flip back to Verlander. Arguably the shortest throw a runner will ever advance on in baseball history.
Didn’t matter, since Adam Kennedy popped out and Miguel Olivo went down swinging.
But that’s how you play this game. You sneak up on opponents who aren’t mentally focused, whether it’s guys sleeping between bases, or applying tags at third base in force play situations, or whatever. If you aren’t focused out there at all times, it can cost you big. Sometimes, it can even cost you playing time.
4:04 p.m.: We’ll see which Mariners offense shows up tonight with Doug Fister on the mound for Seattle against Justin Verlander.
Different looking corner infield and DH. Maybe we’ll see some power from those spots.
For those wondering why Ichiro is still in the lineup, I’m actually not that surprised. Last night was the best I’ve seen him hit the ball and approach his at-bats in several weeks. If you’re looking for a turning point in his game, you’d have to hope that was it. In other words, benching him tonight wouldn’t work.
Now, the night prior to that wasn’t very good. If he has another night like that one tonight, then i would not be shocked to see a sit-down at some point soon.
But not after last night. Those at-bats were much better.