Photo by Associated Press
I’m going to keep this very brief, because my kids are planning a Father’s Day gathering tonight, and it’s not going very well without their father.
These last two victories over the Giants have somewhat salvaged what looked like it was going to be a disastrous homestand. As it is, they finished 3-6 and now head out to play six more interleague games, first in Phoenix, then in San Diego.
The Mariners didn’t hit much again — just six hits — but Felix Hernandez turned a strong effort, just in the nick of time to avoid massive panic in the streets. As Justin Smoak said, “Felix is Felix. When he doesn’t dominate, everybody freaks out. He’s going to dominate. That’s what he does. It’s always fun playing behind him.”
Smoak, obviously, was a huge part of the win, both with a diving defensive play that kept the Giants from scoring the go-ahead run in the eighth, and then with his first career walk-off hit in the ninth. Tom Wilhelmsen also showed a lot by getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth, first by striking out the NL’s leading hitter, Melky Cabrera. On three pitches. Then he got a ground out on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
“It’s big. It’s important. It’s part of it,” Wedge said. “You’re going to go through everything when you’re pitching that ninth inning. There’s nothing you’re not going to go through at some point in time, nothing that’s not going to come your way. How you handle it more likely than not is going to dictate whether or not you stay there or not. He handled it in a very strong fashion today.”
To end on a down note, Ichiro continues to struggle, big time. He went 0-for-4, failing to produce in a big situation in the eighth, and his average has dropped to .255. It will be interesting to see if a) Wedge gives him a day off soon; and/or b) if he drops him down in the order. He’s certainly not getting the job done at leadoff.