g123 | stirred, not shaken, vs. the Tribe

Mariners 5 | Indians 3

47-2 when leading after NINE innings …

make it FORTY-EIGHT – TWO!
make it SIX in-a-row
make it THIRTEEN out of the last FOURTEEN at home (first time in franchise history)

Old Man Millwood
Kevin struggled a bit early, making one wonder whether he’d even get through FIVE, let alone SIX. But, after that rough first he cruised through the second, third and fourth. He hit a blip in the fifth – walking one with one out and then allowing three singles for two runs – but got through six and turned it over to the very capable BP

Charlie was great – tossing TWO scoreless – what a lift to have him back in the pen!

The Bartender
Tom was a bit stirred without his deadly curve tonight but, he wasn’t shaken and with the bases loaded and only one out – his DEE come through with the DEE PEE!!

The Condor
Wow! Michael drives in FOUR of the FIVE runs with TWO 2-run homers!

Eric with a homer and a triple

~ Mr. Robinson with an awesome grab climbing the left field wall + a record 10 put outs in left field
~ Seager with a awesome snare of a hot smash for the first out of the 9th
~ TWO dp’s – including the one to end the game – LOVE LOVE

Dean Rutz | The Seattle Times

g118 | dousing the Rays

Mariners 3 | Rays 2

Way for Kevin to bounce back from his last start and from that first inning…
he scattered EIGHT hits in SEVEN innings, gave up ONE walk and TWO runs and K’d EIGHT

In the post game show, Shannon pointed out a fun fact… 
KW was down 3-0 with THREE different hitters with RISP – and he STRUCK ’em ALL OUT!

Stephen Pryor was none too shabby himself…
the only hit he allowed in 1-2 innings was a lead-off double and then proceeds to strikeout the next two and get a fly ball for the third out.

Moore had been holding left handers to a .176 average but…
Ackley was able to pound out THREE hits
Seager had two hits and scored a run
Smoak (just recalled from Tacoma due to Carp’s injury) lined a double in his first AB

And, in the 9th, vs. the best closer this season…
-Seager singles
-Figgy pinch hits for Wells (who had K’d 3x) and lays down a bunt to move the runner but, Pena makes a bad throw and Figgy ends up on 2B and Seager on 3B
-Smoak hits a sac-fly scoring Seager to tie the game and Figgy gets to 3B
-Olivo strikes out
-Thames (after striking out 3x) singles on a 1-2 count, Figgy scores….

Mariners WIN!!!!!!!!!!
courtesy ESPN
courtesy ESPN
BTW ~ Carp to the 15-day DL (after that super stretch) and Smoak was recalled
International Signing front….
Brazilian Left-hander, Luiz Gohara

Moment of Silence tonight to remember a very special community member we lost all too soon…

courtesy M’s twitpic

g113 | O’s complete the sweep

Mariners 2 | Orioles 9

I was unable to watch/listen to any of this one and, it appears that was a blessing ;-(

From the pitching to the hitting, nothing was working.

Even the D has been less than stellar…
since Brendan Ryan has been out, the M’s have only turned ONE dp

The O’s threw a rookie, Steve Johnson, at the M’s and they didn’t have an answer at all.
Kind of a cool story (though too bad it had to be against the M’s) it was 23 years ago to the day that Steve’s his dad, Dave Johnson earned his first major league win (also with the Orioles).

No need to belabor any of the other ugly details…
like hitters 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9 going O’fer AND Mune’s bases loaded bunt in which Carp was tagged out at the plate AND Millwood with his worst outing of the season.

On the slight bright side…
Seager and Montero with the sole offensive out-put
Capps two scoreless innings, including his first two major league K’s (Reynolds and Markakis)

Off to Anaheim … oh joy.

g108 | too much CC

Mariners 3 | Yankees 6

In this 7th meeting between the two teams this season, it’s the first time the M’s have faced CC
Thank goodness – sheesh!
The good news: the M’s hit TWO homers (Casper in the 4th and Dustin in the 9th)

The bad news: the M’s only mustered THREE total hits.

After the game, Wedge said about CC, “I think he beats anyone tonight.”
He also gave some praise to his own guys though, “We didn’t give at bats away today.”

Millwood threw a lot of pitches (109 in 6 innings) but kept ’em in it till the 6th when he gave up the 2-run homer to Chavez – which could have been, but was not, called fan interference.

Larry Stone ‏@StoneLarryThames said the Chavez homer hit a fan’s glove, then his, otherwise he would have caught it.

Carter Capps made his major league debut in the 7th…
Despite throwing SIX 100/101mph pitches (of 12 total) he gave up a hit to Martin, a walk to Granderson and then Jeter laid down a sac bunt. Unfortunately, Perez replaced Capps and allowed a couple of singles to Cano and Ibanez and both of Carter’s runners scored.

Ichiro continued his hitting streak…
He has exactly one hit in each of his 10 games with the Yanks so far and zero walks, zero strikeouts.
Still so strange to see…

courtesy ESPN.com

g103 | old man winner…

Keepin’ ’em in it…
It took him 106 pitches to get through 6+ but Kevin did what he’s been doing with regularity of late (with the exception of his last start against the Royals) – kept them in it. He also did something he hasn’t done with regularity all season – earn the victory.

Bats a triple short of the cycle in the third…
Nice to see a bit of a crooked number posted in an inning – and with a bit of a power display: Jesus mashed his 10th homer, Kyle followed up with a double and was singled in by Miggy.

Elaine Thompson | AP Photo

Bullpen bends but doesn’t break…

  • League, who has been pitching really well for the past six weeks or so, allowed a run in the 8th (on a double and a triple). Thankfully, the bats were able to rally with a little small ball and got the run back via a couple of walks, a steal, a sac-bunt and a sac-fly to keep the lead at two heading into the 9th.
  • “Closing time” got a bit interesting when the Bartender, after getting two quick outs, allowed a run on a single and a triple but, was able to get the third out via a ground out.

g93 | runs scored again but, one too many given up

Mariners 7 | Royals 8

Another barrage of hits (14 each side) and extra base hits…
– M’s with FOUR:  a double, a(other!) triple and two homers (Seager and Wells)
– Royals with FIVE: three doubles and TWO homers, including one in the 9th to break the 7-7 tie

Kevin Millwood didn’t have his best night…
giving up SEVEN of the Royals EIGHT runs.

the bullpen was stellar…
Steve Delabar (back from AAA without even going there, as Charlie Furbush was placed on the DL w/ a strained left tricep), Oliver Perez and Josh Kinney combined for 2-2 scoreless innings – until that third pitch in the 9th inning, from from Josh to Billy Butler, that didn’t come back.

“He was the guy,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We had League and Luetge down. We were going to stay away from both those guys. Josh has been throwing the ball well in the short period of time he’s been up here and did a nice job getting out of the inning before.”It just looked like a pitch that was up. Butler’s a pretty good hitter and he got to it.”

Felix with the early start tomorrow!

As of this writing, they are still playing baseball in Tacoma…
Danny Hultzen went SIX and gave up ONE run on THREE hits with ONE walk and EIGHT strikeouts vs. Sacramento tonight. Little did everyone know, that wasn’t even the HALF of it – now tied 1-1  Go, R’s!!

g88 | too little, too late … once again

Mariners 2 | Rangers 3

Millwood scattered hits (he gave up 8 of the Rangers 9 total) but kept them in it.
The bp, as per usual of late, was great.

Holland, as per usual (except for that 21-run salute back in May) had them stymied – giving up only FOUR hits over SEVEN plus innings. The M’s had SEVEN hits to the Rangers NINE – trouble was, TWO of theirs were for extra bases and NONE of the M’s hits were.

The rally was good to see but, a convergence of mis-cues on a Saunders grounder that flummoxed Michael Young accounted for only one run scoring with two outs, instead of two runs scoring with only one out. You can’t assume that if one play is executed differently that the rest of the game would play out the same but, had Smoak and Datz been confident that he would score (which, in hind sight, they both agree he would have) then Jaso would have been the one to score on the subsequent wild pitch and the result, at worst, would have been extries.

woulda, coulda, shoulda.

M’s have a 5-6 record in the season series with the Rangers, but have outscored them by 59-45. Granted, the 21-run rout skews those totals but, even if you remove it from the equation, the M’s are hanging with them scoring 38 to the Rangers 37….

in M’s losses to the Rangers – one by 6, three by 2 and two by 1
in M’s wins over the Rangers – one by 13, one by 7, one by 5, one by 2, one by 1

M’s re-signed David Pauley…
he joined the Rainiers today.

First Half Reflections…

A lot of the focus of the M’s first half has been on the ungodly home/road splits ~ and for good reason! Take a gander at these unbelievable differences – as a team…

at home .195 / .273 / .289 / .562
on the road .256 / .305 / .410 / .715

Believe it or not, the M’s scored the second most runs(220) IN THE MAJORS on the road and were at or above average in most major offensive categories (except OBP).

But, at home, it was the opposite (only worse – the FEWEST runs in the majors).
Something about that “home cooking” that just didn’t resonate – here are a couple of real extremes

at the plate

Michael Saunders
home .189 / .263 / .264 / .527
road .299 / .358 / .517 / .875

Kyle Seager
home .157 / .265 / .261 / ,526
road /313 / .343 / .548 / .891

As for the starting pitching, definitely not as strong as in previous years. They posted just a smidgen better (4.35) than AL average (4.39) in ERA and a whole lot worse (22) than AL average (32) in wins.

on the mound

Felix had a ‘blip’ but recovered well and was the lone Mariner representative at the All Star Game in Kasas City (though he didn’t pitch)

Felix and Jason Vargas both recorded 11 quality starts and each have  a winning record (6-5 and 8-7 respectively)

Kevin Millwood suffered with a groin injury but, despite his record, has pitched very well when healthy.

Blake Beavan and Hector Noesi have both been sent to AAA Tacoma (Blake in early June, Hector in early July) as they both struggled mightily.

Erasmo Ramirez has been inconsistent to say the least. He started the year in the pen and was so-so but was sent down to build starting strength and has had mixed results since coming back up in mid-June and then suffered an elbow injury (not serious).
Hisahi Iwakuma only had one start ( a win vs. BAL) but will likely be used more to start the half (due to Hector’s demotion and Erasmo’s injury)

And the surprise of the first half (both good and bad) had to be the Bullpen!
Let’s get the bad out of the way. Brandon League started out great – didn’t allow an earned run till April 19th but, after that was the epitome of inconsistency (not a good quality in a ballplayer, especially a closer) and he lost his closing role toward the end of May. Originally, Wedge didn’t name a closer (‘t was going to be the preverbal “closer by committee”) but, it didn’t take long for one of the guys to take the bull (pen) by the horns…

in the ‘pen
Since being installed as closer, Tom Wilhemsen (aka: The Bartender) was 2-0 with 7 saves and hadn’t given up a run … until the last game before the break in Oakland where he gave up 2 and blew his first save (but, hey, it happens, even to Mariano).
The lefties have been a nice surprise. Lucas Luetge and Charlie Furbush have really contributed nicely. Lucas didn’t give up a run until well into June and Charlie posted the third longest scoreless streak (23 innings) in Mariners history

Oliver Perez, seldom used, was pretty effective until that last series in Oakland when he gave up three runs in two games.

Up and down/ In and out were the rest…
Shawn Kelley had a slow start back from rehab but, has pitched well lately – hasn’t given up a run since June 20th.  Steve Delabar has already been sent down and called back and hasn’t been real reliable. Stephen Pryor, called up in early June, was pitching well but, only appeared in six games before suffering a groin strain (began a rehab stint at the ASB). George Sherrill wasn’t right from the start and we soon found out why – he’s was out for the season on April 9th and underwent Tommy John surgery.

Now THIS is where the Mariners shone brightly ~ their defense was OUTSTANDING. 

gold glove D

Brendon Ryan was the standout. While punchless with the bat he is an absolute wizard with the glove – web gem after web gem. The rest of the infield has been really good – at one point, Justin Smoak had a nice errorless streak going and the biggest surprise defensively was Kyle Seager at the hot corner.

As for the outfield, Michael Saunders did a bang up job filling in for Guti in CF,Casper Wells has really done well in his limited chances in LF (really strong, accurate arm) and Ichiro, clearly not what he used to be but seems he’s performing a bit better defensively than he was last season.

Behind the plate – definitely an area of opportunity. Miguel Olivo still has his usual passed ball issues and Jesus Montero clearly has a lot of learning to do (though certainly not the disaster that many predicted) but he does have the “no-hitter” under his belt – a great accomplishment!

Really hard to find stars among this young group who is dying for some veteran leadership (IMHO). The hitters show flashes of brilliance (especially on the road) but can’t seem to bring it with any consistency. Their travel schedule has been brutal – from the Japan trip and back to playing on the road a good 5 – 10 more times than most teams for a good majority of the first half. Not an excuse but, a definite contributor.

first half stars
I would probably give the first half star to a couple of the pitchers…
Felix, of course but, not for the usual reason. He had a period of adversity and the fact that he was able to recognize the issue and fix it shows his maturity and character.

Wilhelmsen, Luetge and Furbush deserve at least an honorable mention – all with ERAs under three (Lucas under 2!) and as many (or more!) strikeouts as innings pitched.

Saunders and Seager deserve some recognition. Even though they both have been abysmal at home – Saunders has definitely found something in his new approach and Seager, despite his low BA, actually leads the majors in RBI with 2 outs and RISP (27)

oh, super kudos to John “Mr. Clutch” Jaso … 7 game winning RBI’s!

g85 | “groundhog’s day too many times for me” —Eric Wedge

Mariners 1 | Athletics 4

he pitched a whale of a game 7IP – 3H – ZERO runs – 2BB – 7K and gets a no decision for his effort because ~ surprise, surprise ~ the offense could not get anything going.

Look how level that swing is!

Jeff Chiu | AP Photo

Peggy makes a nice catch in right! He also had a triple (the M’s only extra base hit) with two outs in the 9th but Dustin failed to bring him home…

Jeff Chiu | AP Photo

methinks this team will look a bit different after the All Star Break.