There was a lot to like for the Mariners in this one — strong starting pitching by Jason Vargas, and a 14-hit attack led by Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero with three each. Seager had a two-run homer and drove in three. The Mariners were 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position, a dramatic reversal of a troubling trend.
MARINERS NINTH: They go down in order, and it will be Steve Delabar on the mound to finish it off. 10-3 Mariners.
ROCKIES SEVENTH: Vargas was one strike away from getting away unscathed from a one-out Jason Giambi double, but Jordan Pacheco singled to left for the first Rockies run in 16 innings this series. Wilin Rosario followed with a two-run homer, and it’s 9-3.
MARINERS SIXTH: The M’s blew it open with four runs, highlighted by a two-run double by Dustin Ackley, followed directly by Casper Wells’s two-run single. 9-0 Mariners.
ROCKIES FIFTH: It’s an official game now, which could be meaningful given iffy weather forecast. Vargas has brilliant one-hit shutout going. Incredible starting pitcher by Mariners in this series. 5-0 Mariners.
MARINERS FOURTH: M’s have offense rolling today. Brendan Ryan gets a one-out triple and scores on Jason Vargas’s single over the drawn-in infield. 5-0 Mariners.
MARINERS THIRD: Mariners add two more runs, all after the first two hitters struck out. Wells worked a 3-2 walk, Ichiro reached on an infield single, Montero lashed a liner into center for one run, and Seager singled in another. That’s three RBIs today for Seager. 4-0 Mariners.
ROCKIES SECOND: Vargas issues leadoff walk to his former Long Beach State teammate Troy Tulowitzki but gets three fly outs. 2-0 Mariners.
MARINERS SECOND: Kyle Seager, who has emerged as the Mariners most productive offensive player, blasted a two-run homer to right after Montero worked a walk on a 3-2 pitch. That’s five homers and 25 RBIs for Seager. 2-0 Mariners.
ROCKIES FIRST: Vargas gets the Rockies 1-2-3 without a ball leaving the infield. He’s coming off a game in Boston in which he gave up five runs in six innings. 0-0.
MARINERS FIRST: Rookie Christian Friedrich, making his third career start, gets the Mariners in order. He was Colorado’s first-round pick in 2008 out of Eastern Kentucky University and is 1-0 with a 1.38 in his first two starts, with 17 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Looks like this one is going to start on time, against all odds. But Eric Wedge heard we’re due for some “significant weather” so there might be some interruptions.
Miguel Olivo had another good day of workouts today. The tentative plan is for Olivo to fly to Iowa tomorrow and join Tacoma. He’ll catch five innings on Monday, then play nine innings as the DH on Tuesday. They want him to catch one more time after that, but they’ll see how he feels after two games. If all goes well, Olivo will likely be activated during the Mariners’ upcoming homestand.
Speaking of that homestand, it’s official: Monday’s matchup at Safeco Field will be Felix Hernandez against Yu Darvish, which should garner a lot of attention. On Tuesday, Hector Noesi takes on Matt Harrison, and on Wednesday it’s Kevin Millwood against Neftali Feliz.
Speaking of Millwood, Wedge was still raving about his Saturday night performance, and how much the Mariner young pitchers can learn from him. Take a deep breath and read this quote:
“If you talk about someone with a purpose for each pitch, a game plan, the ability to execute pitches, to understand where he is in a game, the difference between going through the order the first time vs. the second time and third time, and so on, and understanding and having a feel for his stuff that particular day and what the hitters are trying to do, whether collectively or more importantly individually as the game wears on, especially when you’ve got veteran hitters in the middle of the lineup like they do, those four or five guys, you’re not going to ask for a much better approach from a starting pitcher.
“Watching him, you can learn a great deal, but obviously his impact and presence in clubhouse, whether it’s how he approaches things, or what he says and does, it’s real. No doubt about it. He was that way in ’05 in Cleveland, I’m sure saw it here (with the Rockies) last year, and it’s that way with us now.”
Wedge said he’s not giving any consideration to hitting his pitcher eighth, as some National League teams do — particularly when Tony La Russa managed the Cardinals. Brendan Ryan, in fact, had 713 plate appearances in the nine hole while with the Cardinals.
“I get that question,” he said. “It’s such a sporadic thing, three games now, another month before six more. I don’t think we need to stir that pot…. I have to have enough conversations now, I don’t have to add to it.”