g121 | B in A proves to be Kyle’s elixir

Mariners 3 | Rangers 1

ON THE MOUND
Kuma posted one of his strongest outings in quite some time and, considering the competition and the venue, that’s really saying something. While the number of walks were rather uncharacteristic, the few hits were scattered and ~thanks in large part to the play shown below~  things never got out of hand.
SEVEN innings ~ FOUR hits ~ ONE earned run ~ THREE walks ~ EIGHT strikeouts

The 8th inning relief effort was’t exactly “clean” but, desired end result achieved = ZERO runs scored
} Ollie, really struggling since the break (coming back down to earth?) was unable to record an out (a walk and a HBP),
} Yoervis came in gave up a sac bunt and loaded the bases with an IBB to Beltre
} Charlie came in and got Pierzynski to pop up for the third out
} Great to see The Lord back up on his steed after being tossed pretty roughly in his last outing that resulted in his first blown save. This time 1-2-3 = 6th save

AT THE PLATE
FOUR runs, but TWO homers . . .
And, their first hit didn’t happen until Justin singled in the 5th. Apparently, Kyle wasn’t aware of the actual severity of his current slump going into this game (a career high 0-21) but, he was fully aware of his career success at The Ballpark in Arlington. Everyone else was reminded in the 8th inning when Kyle launched a TWO-run shot that gave the M’s the 2-1 lead. Justin provided some insurance with a solo shot in the 9th

IN THE FIELD
The play of the game, as it turns out, was in the bottom of the 1st . . . .
it saved a run and potentially Kuma’s bacon (as, you never know what would have happened had the Rangers scored at that point)

tweet of the game . . .

g61 | words not typically uttered . . . thank heaven for Blake Beavan!

Mariners 1 | Yankees 6

Not the most enjoyable game I’ve ever attended, and a loss is a loss but, it’s not like (even as rosy as I am) I really expected a win tonight. Not after the marathon yesterday in which EVERY position player played ALL SIXTEEN innings and then, add to that, an up/down Aaron Harang on the mound ~ it wasn’t a recipe that screamed success. So, the fact that the game ~as a whole~ ended up better than expected because of the performance of Blake Beavan was very encouraging. It’s not every day a reliever posts a quality start 😉

ON THE MOUND
Aaron Harang’s night in Seattle against the Yankees wasn’t quite as bad as Phil Hughes’ outing in New York against the Mariners (when he gave up 7 runs and didn’t get out of the 1st inning). In fact, things were looking manageable after the first TWO innings – a hit batsman the only base runner. Then came the 3rd and the melt-down ensued . . . FIVE singles, ONE double, TWO homers and SIX runs later, Aaron was out of the game.

Enter Blake Beavan, fresh back from Tacoma. I was worried that things weren’t going to get any better with this switch (in fact, part of me thought it might get worse). Was I glad to be wrong. Blake came in and not only ate innings (to save that depleted bullpen) but MOWED ’em down – retiring NINETEEN of the TWENTY batters he faced (and got the double play immediately after the single).

His performance really can’t be over-stated. They needed an outing like that because it helped in the immediate (resting a totally depleted bullpen) as well as provided some encouragement for the future, should Harang and Bonderman continue to struggle (whether it be as a long man or as the mop up dude. In any case, when was the last time a “reliever” posted a line like this?

6.2 innings ~ ONE hit ~ ZERO runs ~ ZERO walks ~ FOUR strikeouts

AT THE PLATE
Combine players who played SIXTEEN innings the day before and a pitcher who is “on his stick” and it’s not typically an easy day at the office.  Phil Hughes was the total opposite of what the guys saw in NY in May. the only managed FOUR total hits (THREE off Hughes) and only ONE extra base hit (a Kyle Seager’s RBI double in the 8th).

IN THE FIELD
* nice double play in the 8th to erase the sole base-runner Blake allowed
* Jason put out the side in order in the 2nd

tweets of the game . . . 

Up, down, injuries and more hardware for Zunino

Recent movement

  • Good luck, Hector. Hope you find your focus in AAA
  • Welcome back, Piggy!
  • Best Wishes, Adam Moore ~ claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals
  • Mike Carp’s been rehabbing in Tacoma since the 7/4 at DH/1B to keep that shoulder healthy
M*A*S*H report
* Guti will be eligible to come back about July 13th but will have a couple game rehab stint first.
* Montero took BP for the first time since his injury and will not catch tomorrow but, may DH
* Pryor to be sent on a rehab stint
* Erasmo won’t be ready for awhile so, M’s will need another starter after the ASB
Congratulations to Mike Zunino!

The award, sponsored by Major League Baseball, is annually bestowed to the amateur player who best exhibits exceptional on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship. Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, the 2010 Golden Spikes recipient, made the announcement live on MLB Network. 

A former University of Florida catcher who was selected by the Mariners in the Draft, Zunino won the 35th edition of the award over fellow finalists Mark Appel, a right-handed pitcher from Stanford, and Carlos Rodon, a left-handed pitcher from North Carolina State.

Zunino, who also won this year’s Dick Howser Trophy as the premier college player and the Johnny Bench Award as the best collegiate catcher, batted .322 with 19 home runs and 67 RBIs as a junior for the Gators in 2012.

As the Mariners tweeted … he’s going to need a bigger mantel 🙂

Zunino signed, sealed and delivered

M’s introduce Mike Zunino

In three years at the University of Florida, Zunino developed into one of the premier players in the game. As a junior this past season, Zunino won the Dick Howser Trophy and the Johnny Bench Award, given to the College Player of the Year and the top collegiate catcher, respectively. He is currently a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which recognizes the nation’s top amateur baseball player.

“Every once in awhile, a high first-round-type talent is out there, and that’s what we saw in Mike,” McNamara said.
“I think when you look at what he brings to the table, his offensive numbers are impressive,” Zduriencik said. “But his defensive leadership, what he does behind the plate, I think is going to be very important to this organization as we move forward.”
M’s twitpic

News and Notes on the off-day

M’s first round draft pick, Mike Zunino racking up the awards…

Going into the series with AZ, the Mariners bullpen had not allowed a run since June 10th…
Then, in the 3-game series, they gave up a combined NINE runs, including Luetge’s first in his 26th appearance. Lucas’s 25 scoreless appearances to start his major league career ranks as the SECOND BEST in major league HISTORY!

News from the farm…

Everett Aqua Sox had their home opener Wednesday and are off to a great start (currently 5-2)
They also announced that they will honor Greg Halman on Saturday by retiring his “Frog” number 26.

courtesy Aqua Sox website

catchin’ up after the day off

Been a little pre-occupied, since my youngest graduated from high school yesterday, but on my last day off thought I’d take the opportunity to catch up a bit on some of the more noteworthy M’s stuff…

JACKSON GENERALS ~ DARLINGS OF THE ORG
*they have “the big three” (Hultzen, Paxton and Walker)…
and while Paxton is on the DL, Maurer and Carraway have been more than picking up the slack
*they have some young hitters who seem to be progressing fast and well…
Franklin, Sucre, Almonte and Dunigan, to name a few
*they will send a league most EIGHT representatives to the Southern League All Star Game
*for the second consecutive week, Pitcher of the Week Award goes to Danny Hultzen (aka: the Incredible Hultz as he has come to be known on twitter)
*AND they have clinched the first half division title

MEANWHILE, DOWN IN T-TOWN
Adam Moore has been reinstated from the DL
Franklin Gutierrez continues his rehab assignment (as speculation abounds as to what move(s) will be made upon his return to Seattle in a matter of weeks/days)

FINAL TALLY FOR THE DRAFT
20 pitchers (6 LH)
2 catchers
13 infielders
5 outfielders
26 college players, 15 high schoolers

Larry Stone published the transcription of M’s first-rounder, Mike Zunino’s conference call here…

a rather humorous tweet from Shannon on draft day…
On the Mariners pick Felix yelled “hey Montero, you are going back to Pulaski!”

STILL REVELING IN THE NO-NO-NO-NO-NO-NO
taking lots of promotional shots, figuring out what to send to the HoF, etc

M’s twitpic

Relievers reliving it –> video 
the Bartender talks to MLBN–> video

HOW MANY SPENT THE DAY OFF
27th annual Mariners Care Golf Tournament

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS
exM’s scouting director Roger Jongewaard dies 

Draft Day and this week’s recognition…

With the third pick in the 2012 First Year Player Draft, the Seattle Mariners select…

Mike Zunino, Catcher, University of Florida 

Jack Z and Tom M discuss the selection

shannondrayer
On the Mariners pick Felix yelled “hey Montero, you are going back to Pulaski!”


I’m thinking Felix and Jesus must have a pretty good relationship 🙂

Organizational Awards!

FUN FACT…
going into the series with the Halos, the M’s are averaging 8.1 games per game on this road trip

News and Notes on the road

So, here they go to Anaheim…
The Halos swept them back at home, here’s hoping the M’s can put up a bit better showing on the road.

So far on this trip they are 3-3 but have outscored their opponents 49-34.  When you consider that 5 of their last 6 losses have been by 2 runs (and, over the course of the season so far, 17 of their 32 losses have been by 2 or fewer runs) it’s very encouraging for the future.

* Brendan Ryan named the Best Defensive Player for the Month of May see some great highlights here

* Franklin Gutierrez began his rehab assignment with Tacoma last night (going 0/3 w/2 walks as the DH)

* Big day tomorrow… Draft Day!!!

Seattle’s pick this year will likely depend on what Minnesota does at No. 2 and whether the Twins take high school star Byron Buxton. The consensus from draft pundits is that Houston will take Stanford pitcher Mark Appel at No. 1, but then comes the debate. Most mock drafts have Buxton going to the Twins. 

McNamara said taking a high school player usually means a longer wait for a pro debut. But hitting on a high school star can be a massive infusion for the franchise.

“When it clicks in it does something to the whole organization,” McNamara said. “You get a special one, you have control of the player, but the fans identify with that a lot. You take a high school guy, the fans can grow with that kid, and when he gets to the big leagues and he becomes a star it’s a great thing.” 

If Buxton is off the board, then Seattle could be choosing from a group that includes Florida catcher Mike Zunino, Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa and high school outfielder Albert Almora. Most mock projections have Seattle taking Zunino, who was the 2011 SEC player of the year and is a two-time semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award given to the top college player. 

McNamara said he’s not alone in seeing some of the top options – general manager Jack Zduriencik has gotten out on the road and seen most of the top prospects as well.

“The top five guys we’ve seen a lot. … I think it’s a good group of top guys this year,” McNamara said. “You have some high school athletes, pitchers, college guys. It’s been fun.”

Larry Stone’s pre-draft report

MLB Mock Draft = Mike Zunino

 

Mariners Matters | 6.16

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TED KIRK / AP

M’s 1st rounder showing well in College World Series

Ackley went 5 for 6 on Tuesday and became the CWS’ career hits leader in North Carolina’s 11-4 victory over Southern Mississippi.

“I think everybody saw today what everybody on our team and myself have seen the last three years with Dustin Ackley,” North Carolina coach Mike Fox said. “It was an unbelievable performance, and we’ve seen that before from him day in and day out. He’s one sensational player, and I’m glad the nation got to see a little bit of that today. We needed it.”

The Tar Heels (48-17) eliminated the Golden Eagles (40-26) and sent Southern Mississippi coach Corky Palmer into retirement.

Ackley, the No. 2 overall draft pick by the Mariners, has 27 hits in 14 CWS games.

Ackley doubled and hit four singles to all parts of the field. The left handed-batting first baseman, who has hits in 21 consecutive NCAA tournament games since 2007, singled to left in the third inning to break the record of 24 career hits by Stanford’s Sam Fuld (2001-03).

Kyle Seager, a third-round pick by the Mariners, homered as the Tar Heels had a CWS record-tying 23 hits.


AP

Early on in the season, I dubbed them “Mystique and Aura”, seems the term is rather apropros…

Ichiro’s take: “Ken is a special person, a special presence.

“He’s brought a lot to the team, a new attitude, and he’s done it on and off the field, in the clubhouse and the dugout. He’s great for the team. We’re much closer together than we’ve been.

“It’s not just what he might say or do, it’s his character,” Ichiro said.

They have become more than friends. Ichiro plans to visit the Griffeys in Florida after the season, and has invited the entire Griffey clan to his home in Japan.

Their relationship, Junior said, is both unique and simple.

“Outside of baseball, making a friend takes a lot of time. In baseball, we’re all together every day. Not five days a week – every day. So things can happen more quickly,” he said.

“Here’s why we’ve become friends: trust. I don’t want anything from him, he doesn’t want anything from me, except friendship. There are no ulterior motives. I just want to be his friend. There’s no hidden agenda.

“For both of us, that can be rare.”

General manager Jack Zduriencik acknowledges signing Junior was, in part, an effort to change the clubhouse – and to make Ichiro more comfortable in it.

“Of course, it was a factor,” Zduriencik said. “We’d heard the stories about last year, and I knew the presence of Ken Griffey Jr. would give him instant respect in the clubhouse.

“Did I think he’d help Ichiro feel more a part of this club? Yeah, I did. Did I know it would click? No. But it has, and I hoped it would.”

Ichiro was 22 when he first met Griffey in 1995. Junior was already a major league star.

“The way he approached me in our first meeting is the same way he does today. He doesn’t base friendships on ability or status,” Ichiro said. “If he’d known I was ticklish back in ’95, he’d probably have jumped on me then, too. People can change over time, but he hasn’t – not since we first met in ’95.

“That’s one thing that keeps friendships alive, someone who doesn’t change.

Welcome to the Mariners, boys!

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# 2
Dustin Ackley ~ 1B / OF



UNC slugger Ackley wants wins, not praise
| Charlotte Observer

Ackley about end a remarkable college career | Winston-Salem Journal

UNC’s Ackley calls for gushing | ESPN The Magazine

Carolina’s Dustin Ackley has ‘it’ | Peter Gammons blog

UPDATE 8:30PM:

#27
Nick Franklin ~ SS

#33
Steven Baron ~ C

#51
Rich Poythress ~ 1B

#82
Kyle Seager ~ 2B / 3B

Video and commentary on all the first day picks ~ Mariners Minors blog