Joe Saunders made it through 6 1/3 innings and his Mariners team still has a 4-1 lead as we head to the top of the eighth inning. Not a lot of offense to speak of for either side after the third inning, with the White Sox showing everyone why they have the worst offense in the league. We’re seeing some bad swings, some poor takes and a lot of complaining about the umps from the White Sox. Sound familliar? It’s a telltale sign of a team that doesn’t hit well.
Anyhow, White Sox bench coach Mark Parent got tossed in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout with plate ump Dale Scott.
8:10 p.m.: Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer to right field off John Danks in a 13-pitch at-bat to cap a three-run third inning that has put the Mariners up 4-1. Kyle Seager got the rally going with a bunt single up the third base line. Seager later scored on a Kendrys Morales double to center to put Seattle ahead. Ibanez came up next and launched his 10th homer of the season to give Joe Saunders a nice cushion to work with. The at-bat by Ibanez might go down as the best one all year by a Mariners hitter, given that he fell behind 0-2, stayed alive by fouling off three straight pitches before getting a ball, then worked the count full before finally going deep. Ibanez fouled off seven pitches total in the at-bat and gave a textbook lesson in the art of two-strike hitting by protecting the plate like he did.
Saunders had fallen behind 1-0 in the second on a double to left center by Dayan Viciedo and then a Jeff Keppinger single to left. But Jesus Sucre tied it up in the bottom of the frame with a single that scored Nick Franklin from second.
6:50 p.m.: Compared to the Chicago White Sox, the Mariners are an absolute offensive juggernaut. The White Sox arrive here ranked last in the American League in batting average (.237), OBP (.289), runs (186), hits (426), total bases (664) and walks (128). About the only significant hitting category they aren’t last in is slugging, where their .369 percentage is only second-worst behind the .368 by Kansas City.
So yeah, the White Sox stink.
What a fine opportunity for “Safeco Joe” Saunders to step up and deliver the type of mound performance the team will need more out of its 3-5 starters in coming weeks.
Saunders is 9-1 with a 2.24 ERA at Safeco Field in 14 career starts. He’s coming off a 9-5 loss to the Rangers his last time out here, though, the first of his career at this park. ut he did look better on the road in San Diego, giving up a run on four hits in seven innings before Tom Wilhelmsen blew the game in the ninth.
So, time for some consistency here from Saunders. He has a shot at two good starts in a row.
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