Well with the debut of young shortstop Brad Miller tonight the “Boys of Summer” are officially here for the Seattle Mariners. Miller joins recently recalled Dustin Ackley, Mike Zunino who picked up the game-winning hit in tonight’s 5-4 win, and Nick Franklin who went 3-5 and now his batting average up to .302. Look out Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and Micheal Saunders or you could get DFA’d like Alex Liddi did today if you don’t produce, Miller, Franklin and Zunino look like the real future of the Seattle Mariners.
Sadly I missed out on tonight’s game because I’ve been to grumpy did go down to the safe after watching the Mariners lose this week actually after watching the Mariners lose for over 30 years. But couple friends of mine did manage to make it down to watch this thrilling 10 inning win for the Mariners on absolutely picture-perfect night as you can see by the photo my friend Austin sent me.
Lost in all the excitement of this thrilling 5 to 4 victory Hisashi Iwakuma‘s eight inning outing limiting the visiting Chicago Cubs to four runs in a game where he ended up with no decision and his ERA eked up to a meager 2.42 as we complete the first half of the 2013 season with game 81 tonight. With all the hoopla about the new young Mariners, tonight’s victory would not have been possible without the veterans who pretty much supplied the offense to put us in a position for Mike Zunino to get the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 10th with the bases loaded. Jason Bay hit his ninth homer in the fifth inning to make it 4- 2, and both Kendry’s Morales and our MVP the ancient mariner Raul Ibanez drove in runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie this thing up. So it was a balanced effort tonight and though the young guys are good, without the steely nerves of the veterans under pressure this one might have gotten away from us.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the outstanding job that Oliver Perez did tonight coming on in the ninth to strike out the side . In addition to the great game, the 31,407 fans tonight were treated to a thrilling first-ever fireworks display at Safeco Field after the game. Today’s win by the “Boys of Summer” coincides with the first heat wave of the year here in Seattle, and one can only hope that our boys use this series to get hot themselves. as we head towards the All-Star Break.
I hope everyone has a great weekend and a wonderful Fourth of July as I may not post between now and then as I’m going to be traveling to San Francisco for business , but I will be back for the Fourth of July to celebrate here in Fremont the center of the universe! Go Mariners!http://jeffsmariners.com
There is nothing like a beautiful Seattle Day in the summer, and today was perfect indeed so good in fact I decided to meet-up with some friends and head down to Safeco Field tonight to watch Felix Hernandez take on the struggling Chicago White Sox. As it turned out King Felix did not have his best stuff early on, surrendering a first inning run to the Chisox. But our Boys Of Summer answered right back in the bottom half of the frame thanks to the veterans Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez who drove-in three runs in the first, highlighted by a 2-run shot off the bat of the timeless wonder Ibanez who now has 11 dingers on the year to put himself in a tie with Michael Morse for the team lead.
Of course even though Ibanez did drive-in a couple more runs in the third to hep drive Jake Peavy out of the game, the Mariners had contributions from a few other guys tonight in what was a fun night at Safeco Field.
Kendrys Morales went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .303, while Franklin also had a pair of hits and is batting .292 after eight games in the Majors.
And Felix did manage to settle down after giving-up a Home Run to Adam Dunn in the second and from then on the Ace didn’t allow another hit until the eighth inning when the Sox added a couple more runs to make things even more interesting on a night made for baseball. Sometimes writing a Mariners Blog can be a bit tedious but tonight’s game reminded me of how lucky I am to live in a city with a Major league team and why this work is a labor of love.
The Mariners are now 26-33 with a chance at their first sweep of the year tomorrow in an afternoon affair with Hitashi Iwakuma on the mound. I may just head back down there in the morning…..Go Mariners!http://jeffsmariners.com
People around Seattle and the rest of the Baseball Nation are buzzing today about the “Perfecto” that Felix Hernandez threw yesterday against the Tampa Bay Rays on another beautiful NW day slightly cooler than today’s gem. Most of the time the Seattle Mariners are a source of pain for those of us who are part of the dwindling “hardcore fans” group, but I the King indeed gave his subjects something yesterday that we have not felt in a long time: HOPE.
The kind of hope I feel today after the dust has settled is not the dumb naive kind that one brings to Spring Training each year just because it’s spring training , but a more measured yet buoyant type that feels real however faint. I have been trying to keep the faith on this Mariners Blog for the past three seasons and as you may have noticed even my spirit has been weakened over the past few months as evidenced by my lax reporting for my small but loyal readership base.
But I’m not sure what it is, perhaps seeing those players in AA Jackson celebrating after Felix fanned the last Ray, or maybe the coverage by ESPN with a humble yet likable Felix Hernandez front and center at last on the National Stage, but something has changed inside me after yesterday and I hope it has for all of you as well. Would love to hear back from any of you out there who still read Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog on how things have or have not changed for you given the magical performance that King Felix has provided for us loyal subjects here in Mariners Nation. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
I took a break from the summer Olympics this morning to watch Felix Hernandez turn-in a Gold Medal performance in his brilliant 1-0 shut out of the Yankees in what looked like his best performance of the year to me. I guess I haven’t been giving the King his due on this Mariners Blog in the past so I just want to say that I agree with Mike Blowers who said that King Felix is the best in the game. And today he proved it holding the powerful Yankees lineup to only two hits by setting-up hitters, moving the ball around at will and doing it all with a composed yet commanding style.
Our Mariners needed this win after having their seven-game win streak snapped last night as they try to go .500 or better on this tough road trip. The only negative of this game was watching Brendan Ryan get plunked on the elbow in the seventh inning perhaps out of retaliation for the three Yankees (including A-Rod) we beaned here at Safeco a week or so ago. Hopefully the slick fielding Ryan will be ok and we wish him well.
But this day belonged to Felix Hernandez who has been hot lately, in his past 10 starts he has gone 6-0 with a 1.41 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings. His ERA has dropped from 3.70 to 2.63 in that span. One has to wonder how many wins the King could put together in a season once the young hitters mature, 20? 25? ……
I’m fortunate to have been able to visit the old Yankee stadium where my Grandfather Gordon Rhodes pitched for the Yankees from 29-32 and I’m looking forward to visiting the new stadium on Sept. 16th when I’ll be in NY on business for a Rays game. I always root for the Mariners when they are playing the Yankees, but I am not one of those who hate the Yankees as I respect the organization and the way they go about things. I’m sure there will be renewed cries coming out of the East Coast media for the Mariners to trade Felix Hernandez to the Yankees after today’s stellar performance in front of almost 48,000 fans. But alas Felix Hernandez is ours and we are indeed lucky to have the King of the hill on our team as today’s Gold Medal performance proved! Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Mike Carp extended his Major League leading hitting streak to 15 games tonight with a pair of home runs including a huge blast in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 5-5 for a minute until Casper Wells hit another solo shot to put the Mariners up for good in this 6-5 thriller. While the atmosphere was somewhat subdued tonight after the invasion of the Red Sox Bandwagon fans over the weekend, there were still several thousand Blue Jays fans down at the Safe tonight. However unlike the Red Sox losers, the Canadian fans were much more polite as they got to watch their club go down under the same sort of offensive barrage that the young Mariners unleashed over the weekend.
The Mariners starter Michael Pineda did not have his best stuff tonight as he allowed three homers himself before being lifted after five innings. But unlike the earlier part of the season when the Mariners were relying on the pitching staff to win games our boys battled back all night in what was perhaps a glimpse of the future that Jack Zduriencik has been promising us for three years. And with new guys like Mike Carp, Casper Wells and Trayvon Robinson up here making an impact with their bats we may just be on to something. Robinson by the way had three hits of his own tonight and his RBI double in the third was the key hit in that inning.
It was really nice to watch this game with my old friend Mike from High School who I played ball with back on Vashon Island in the 70′s. Both of us have been lifelong Baseball fans and it was refreshing to be able to actually have someone sitting next to me who understood the nuances of the game. And this was one heck of a back-n-forth affair that featured a total of six home runs and some excellent relief pitching by Dan Cortes and Tom Wilhelmsen who got first win in the Majors tonight before Mister Automatic :Brandon League came on for the save in the ninth.
With this win the Mariners inch past the A’s who lost tonight, into third place after winning their third game in a row to put them at 8-5 on the season. And the way they have been playing lately there is no reason to believe that we can’t finish strong and head into 2012 with some hope and momentum. Jack Z. also helped our future out tonight with the signing of Danny Hultzen the #2 overall pick to a Major League contract valued at $8.5 million over five years along with a $6.35 signing bonus for the exciting lefty from Virginia. The Mariners also signed 10 of their top 11 draft picks tonight giving us more ammo for the future. Jack Z. said that Hultzen will be invited to camp next spring with a chance to make the Big club which sounds intriguing.
In other baseball news I was pleased to hear that another old-school slugger Jim Thome became only the 8th player in history to reach the 600 home run mark knocking a pair out himself tonight at Tiger stadium. Thome is a class act and has the rugged look of a player from another era which he basically is now. But as much as I love baseball history and the players of yore I am totally ready for this Mariners youth movement to continue to unfold in the way it has been this month.Who knows someday we may even fill the Safe without relying on fans from other teams to make all the fuss. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Coming into this series against the potent Red Sox lineup the best I was hoping for was to win one game and not get swept at home with all the irritating Red Sox bandwagon fans in attendance. But as it turned out our young sailors got their first series win against an AL opponent besides Oakland since June 5th against the Rays with today’s 5-3 win in front of 43,777 fans. Young Charlie Furbush pitched a gem today going seven innings of 4-hit ball allowing only one run while fanning six Bosox batters.
The Red Sox used 45 year-old knuckle-baller Tim Wakefield to no avail as the Mariners youngster and veterans managed to score three runs in the third with RBI singles from Jack Wilson and Mike Carp along with an RBI Sac-fly by the resurgent Franklin Gutierrez. Carp now has hit safely in 14 straight games and has 24 RBI’s in 23 games since being recalled from Tacoma. Jack Wilson also proved he still has what it takes to play at this level making a beautiful diving catch in the top of the fourth to rob Dustin Pedroia of a hit which proved to be huge in that inning as the Red Sox would eventually score in that inning but it could have been a lot worse.
Unlike the previous two games of this series the Mariners managed to play add-on and got another clutch RBI single by Dustin Ackley in the fourth along with a solo homer by Casper Wells in the bottom of the sixth to make it 5-1. Of course with the Red Sox like the Rangers no lead is safe, and Kevin Youklis woke-up the slumbering Red Sox Bandwagon fans with his his 2-run homer off Jeff Gray in the eighth to make it 5-3. But the wanna-be Sox fans from Kent and Portland will have to wait till next year before they get a chance to celebrate at Safeco field as this weekend belonged to those of us who have not sold our souls to the highest bidder.
This game has got to do wonders for the confidence of young Charle Furbush who had a spectacular outing after getting roughed-up in his last trip to the mound against Texas. It was also nice to finally see big Wily Mo Pena get his first hit a ringing double off the left field wall in the bottom of the seventh. Manager Eric Wedge is doing a great job at rotating his position players around getting the most bang for his buck as the Mariners have scored now scored 24 runs over the past five games which isn’t much for teams like the Red Sox or Rangers but here in Seattle it is definitely a good sign.
Right now we are nipping at the heels of the Oakland A’s in our own little race in the AL West that nobody is watching but us. If indeed the Mariners can play close to .500 ball the rest of the way we should be able to pass the A’s and maybe even avoid losing 90 games this year which would be a huge moral victory. We shall see what happens as the focus now turns to the upcoming Toronto series here at home which I plan on attending at least one game of. See you there….GoM’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
I had no intention of attending any games at Safeco this weekend while the Red Sox and their bandwagon fans invaded our fair city as I just couldn’t stand the thought of being exposed to all those wanna be Red Sox Fans from Kent and Redmond with their nauseating Red Jerseys and “Lets Go Red Sox” Chants. But I got a call at the last minute from my friend Rob who had a free ticket for me if I wanted to go and bein a glutton for punishment I said yes. I was shocked to find my usual parking lot had doubled it’s price to $ 40 tonight to accommodate the hordes of Red Sox Fans, some who had traveled across country but sadly most were local folks pretending to be real Red Sox Fans.
But alas I was pleasantly surprised with one of the most exciting games I have seen at Safeco in years that our boys managed to hold on and win 5-4. The first inning started with a bang as Ichiro lined the first pitch of the game out of the park to give us and instant 1-0 lead. The Mariners did not stop there as Franklin Gutierrez then singled as part of another 2-hit night for his 5th multi-hit game in a row. Dustin Ackley then ripped a double setting the table for the red-hot Mike Carp. Carp then extended his 13 game hitting streak with a single up the middle to bring home a couple more runs making it 3-o. But the Mariners were not through yet as Casper Wells hit a 2-run homer himself to put the Mariners up 5-0 after the first frame.
I noticed this offensive outburst kind of put a damper on the enthusiasm of the loud and annoying Red Sox fans and I was quite happy to sit smugly in my seat and toss-out a few jeers of my own like: “Big Pop-Out” for Ortiz, as well as regularly reminding the Red Sox fans that the Yankees had won tonight etc. It was going to be a fun easy cruise tonight with the King on the mound after all, or so I thought…
King Felix did not have his best stuff tonight and messed-up a couple of defensive plays as well. But the Sox Fans were again shut down in the fourth inning when Jacob Ellsbury was gunned-down at the plate on a laser throw from Ichiro. Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger originally called Ellsbury safe but after a weird conference at home reversed his call which brought Terry Francona out of the dugout steaming mad. Francona got tossed and once again it was great to cheer loud and proud into the ears of the Red Sox fans which basically had us surrounded.
Now don’t get me wrong I have great respect for the Boston Red Sox and their rich tradition, heck as you know I wrote an article two days ago about my grandfather Gordon Rhodes and his career year pitching for the Red Sox in 1934. But if you are not from Boston and you live in the NW you need to get a grip folks and root for your home team!
Anyway back to the game…this one sort of had a playoff atmosphere in many respects and it looked like we may just sneak one by the powerful Red Sox till all hell broke loose in the sixth inning. King Felix gave-up a triple to Marcos Scutaro followed by a 2-run shot by Jacob Ellsbury to make it 5-2.Then Adrian Gonzalez the leading hitter in the AL punched a bunt of all things down the third base line to set the the table for pesky Dustin Pedroia who hit another 2-run shot and suddenly it was 5-4.
I would be lying if I told you at this point that I was confident we were going to win this one as after 30 years of watching the Mariners I know how they love to torture their fans in new and different ways. But King Felix managed to hold the Red Sox for another inning before Jamie Wright came in for a tense eighth inning. Wright had a heck of a battle with Big Papi that came inches away from being a nightmare as Ortiz narrowly missed hitting a home run to right by a few feet right after I had yelled “Big Pop-out” again. The lady behind me “From Portland” yelled “There is you’re Pop-out” at me before she realized it was indeed a foul ball. Yes another sweet moment at the ballpark indeed.
Ortiz eventually walked and speedster Darnell McDonald came in to run as the veteran Jamie Wright continued to battle. Josh Bard managed to throw a perfect strike to get McDonald on an attempted steal of second in another huge play to end the the eighth and actually started to believe we might win this one. And our old trusted closer Brandon League came in to the game in the ninth to get what had to have been one of the biggest saves of his career in front of an elated Mariners Nation that had just won a game in a David vs. Goliath battle that made me proud to be a die-hard Mariners fan. You should have been there folks this one felt like we had just won a playoff game, and put another star on the calender for a 2011 team that just may be starting to click….Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com
Seafair week in Seattle is the highlight of the summer and today the Mariners rewarded the 29,691 fans in attendance with a 7-4 win over the A’s to complete the series sweep and add to the festivities. Granted it was the Oakland A’s we are talking about who played another sloppy game, but after last months debacle today’s well played game gives us fans a reason to hang in there as the rebuilding effort slowly takes hold.
There were a lot of good performances put in today by our guys but none bigger than the two players who came over from the Tigers last week in the Fister deal. Charlie Furbush pitched a gem of a game retiring the first 13 batters he faced before allowing a pair of doubles and a run in the fifth inning. Furbush had great command and mixed his pitches well to get the win. But the guy who has impressed me the most since coming over is Casper Wells who once again came up big at the plate driving in a pair of runs in key situations to augment a suddenly potent offense. Wells has managed to drive in a run every game he has played with us so far and looks like he may have found a home.
Mike Carp boosted his average to .297 today collecting 3 hits and a couple RBI’s playing first for the injured Justin Smoak. Carp seems to have finally figured out how to hit at this level and being sandwiched between the rookie phenom Dustin Ackley and the newcomer Wells looks like it will add to his productivity. If someone would have told me at the beginning of the year that our 3-4-5 spots would be filled with this trio I would have said they were crazy. But sure enough in the month of August skipper Eric Wedge seems to have found the magic combination.
Ichiro also picked-up three hits today and may be making a run for the elusive 200 hit mark after all which unto itself would be a miracle. I also loved watching Jack Wilson playing third today as he proved that a guy with his athletic ability can play anywhere in the infield and I hope the skipper uses him there more often. Of course many of the armchair GM’s continue to clamor for him to be traded but I like him there making diving stops like he did today a couple times, along with making a veteran tag out on an overrun at third base in a play he set-up by blocking the bag with his foot.
This win and sweep have allowed the Mariners to gain three games on the A’s as they battle to overtake them and perhaps improve to third place in the AL West as I predicted at the start of the campaign. Sure things are going to get tougher when they hit the road Friday for a series against the Angels followed by a trip to the scorching Texas badlands. But I think for now it is best to enjoy the memories from this sweep as we celebrate Seafair week and hope we can bring this sort of exciting competitive ball with us on the road. Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com
Today is June 17th and the Seattle Mariners are a half game out of first in the AL West with the powerful Philadelphia Phillies coming to town for a weekend series that could be the turning point for this season. Somewhere back in April I remember thinking about this series wondering if we would get to see Cliff Lee pitch and maybe catch a glimpse of Ryan Howard taking a few big hacks.But mostly I was dreading the thought of this media darling coming to town as we were floundering in the cellar of our little four team division and being forced to sit next to a bunch of loud Phillies fans with their bright red caps and East Coast accents right here in Mayberry with skyscrapers.
But somehow we find ourselves in an entirely different situation as Eric Wedge and his crew prepare themselves for a crucial series. If by chance we get swept by the new “Big Red Machine” most of the pundits both locally and on the National scene will be quick to dismiss our clubs surprising start as a fluke and deserving of the second tier status that us odd Northwest types almost seem to relish.
But then again maybe King Neptune along with the spirit of Dave Niehaus will continue to be on our side like they were Wednesday night when Carlos Peguero drove-in a pair of runs on a routine grounder that managed to bounce off second base enabling our boys to salvage the final game of the Angels series. This has been a fun season thus far and somehow I have a hunch that we may not have seen the best part yet.
It is funny to listen to folks around Seattle talk about the the Mariners these days as most are not really paying much attention or waiting for the other shoe to drop so they can resume the trademark passive-aggressive Seattle whining. But ready or not the Phillies are coming, and with the addition of Dustin Ackley to go along with our scrappy bunch of forgotten veterans and hungry youngsters I dare say that the Phillies may be in for a bit of a surprise this weekend. As a matter of fact I predict we will win this series and find ourselves in the limelight when we take over the lead in the AL West from the struggling Texas Rangers. The barometer is going to start rising this weekend with the summer solstice right around the corner and there is nothing like a pennant race to bring a city together, especially one as sleepy and hungry for a a winner as ours. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Hello everyone I hope you are enjoying the day off and relishing the fact that the Mariners are only three games back in the AL West after a wonderful 5-1 road trip. A week ago most of us had written this team off as another terrible team that was going to be hard to follow for the rest of the year after getting off to a slow start. But thanks to some outstanding pitching, a suddenly awakened offense and stellar work out of our bullpen guys, this season is getting interesting for us fans out here in Mariner Nation.
Eric “Popeye” Wedge and his crew are in town and undoubtedly enjoying a well deserved rest before opening an important three game series with the Texas Ranger who are tied for first with the Angels after both clubs lost today while we were idle. I plan on attending my first game of the year later in the week when the young phenom Michael Pineda takes the mound, and I hope to see some of you down there. Up above I have put together a little clip to talk about our current situation before the Texas series starts. I’m regaining my hope for this club, which is always a dangerous thing but it beats watching other teams on ESPN! By the way hats-off to the Obama administration and the crack military team who took out Osama Bin Laden yesterday! Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Doug Fister went up against John Lackey tonight in a game at Fenway Park in Boston going 5 2/3 innings in what can only be described as a gutsy performance by the lanky right-hander as the Mariners won again 2-0. Fister pitched-out of his first bases-loaded jam of the night in the first highlighted by a strikeout of Big Papi David Ortiz on what looked like a cutter, and promptly received a glare from the big DH as he headed back to the bench. As we all know Doug Fister is a finesse pitcher who tops-out at around 91mph, and tonight Fister used all of his pitches to keep the Bosox off balance in front of an intense and frustrated Red Sox sell-out crowd.
Fister seemed to have runners in scoring position all night but somehow Fister backed by some solid defense got out of jam after jam including a bases-loaded, no outs situation in the 5th. But King Neptune smiled on the Mariners for one more night as slugger Adrian Gonzalez lined into a double-play followed by a sweet catch of a pop-up by Justin Smoak to end the threat. Once again in the sixth the Red Sox had a couple on with two outs before manger Eric wedge took the long walk to the mound and pulled Fister to bring in lefty Aaron Laffey who managed to get the third out on a nice catch by Miguel Olivo to avoid disaster again. Brandon League came into the game in the 9th with the game on the line and got his 7th save of the year (Aardsma who?) The entire game almost felt like a playoff game as the Mariners battled to extend their winning streak to five games with King Felix coming to the mound for the final game of this series.
Offensively the Mariners had a wild third inning where Milton Bradley got the chance to play both the hero and the goat with his RBI double to score Ichiro, but then getting tossed from the game when he mouthed-off to the first-base umpire over a terrible call at first. In the 6th the Mariners managed to get another valuable run across the plate playing small-ball. Cust and Saunders lead-off the inning with singles and Brendan Ryan did his job with a bunt followed by a sac-fly from Jack Wilson to score Cust. Jack Cust picked-up a few more walks tonight to go along with his base-hit as he continues to start his comeback from a terrible start.
The Red Sox were 0-11 with runners in scoring position tonight and I am sure with all the money they spent on free-agents last off-season nobody expected them to be playing the way they have thus far, but coming from our perspective out here in Seattle I can’t really feel sorry for them. As all this is happening it easy to forget the man in the dugout Eric ” Popeye” Wedge who seems to be making all the right moves these days. Michael Saunders was quoted today as saying “He knows how to get the best from each player in the clubhouse” and there is no finer compliment that can be said about a manager. So here we go folks Felix on the mound as the 13-15 Mariners inch ever closer to .500, My Oh My! Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
The Mariners right now are the hottest team in the AL west after winning their fourth game in a row tonight beating another last-place team the Boston Red Sox 5-4. (I can’t believe I wrote the previous sentence!) But alas it is true our gritty sailors under manger Eric “Popeye ” Wedge manged to gut-out another road victory behind their starter Jason Vargas who won his first game since Aug. 14th of last year thanks to tonight’s surprise offensive hero Jack Cust. Vargas pitched his usual finesse game and with the exception of ex-Mariner Mike Cameron who hit a couple of solo-homers tonight, Vargas did what it took to win tonight going 7 strong innings the last three scoreless.
This game had a little of everything thanks to the structure of the iconic Fenway Park and an odd umpiring mistake that allowed the Bosox to rally in the third for a couple runs when the inning should have been over. But it seems as if King Neptune has let us long-suffering Mariners fans enjoy some fair winds these days after a cold miserable April start. I mean it is no surprise that our new 1-2 punch of Olivo and Smoak were able to produce a couple runs in the first, but when Jack Cust comes-through with a go-ahead double off the monster you know the tide has changed!
Oh and what about the two guys from the bullpen Wright and League who look like old-hand at shutting down opposing teams in the late going like they did once again tonight. Man this winning stuff is fun! I actually am looking forward to games now, and why not with the barometer rising like the last 12 games which the Mariners have won 8.
After the A’s knocked off the Rangers tonight we find ourselves only 3.5 games back in a division that looks wide-open at this point. Granted I am still sticking with my early prediction of the Mariners finishing third, but I never thought they would ever get this close to .500 again let alone first-place! Yes I am a bit giddy so you can right this post off if you like, but with Felix coming to the mound tomorrow against a rudderless Red Sox crew I look for us to get another win before sailing home to Seattle.
But this one really belongs to Vargas and Cust a couple of tough customers who believed in themselves while the rest of Mariners Nation (including myself) had written them off. As a matter of fact I am going to break-down and hit a couple of games when our boys come home no matter what happens in the next couple games and hope some of you will join me. I know your watching up there Dave Niehaus, and perhaps you may be using some of your new found Angel-Powers these days for your beloved Mariners…Thanks Dave…Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Michael Pineda pitched 6 strong innings today against the Detroit Tigers fanning 9 as the Mariners completed their sweep of the Tigers on a chilly day in Motown. Michael Pineda who moves to 4-1 on the year seems to be getting better with every start and his soft demeanor as portrayed in the smoltzy Youtube video above put together by fellow Mariner Fan and reader Rob Raine,which does do not do justice to the fierce competitive spirit that he brings to the mound.
Meanwhile the offense scored 7 runs today as part of a 24 run outburst in this series including 5 home runs and 32 hits while batting .414 with RISP. Once again Justin Smoak delivered today with a big RBI double to knock in Miguel Olivo who later homered himself in the 6th inning. So now sure as the sun will shine eventually here in Seattle, the Mariners offense is showing the improvement we had all hoped for this year. It is certainly strange to be writing about our club sweeping a series on the road as for the life of me I can’t recall the last time this has happened .
Luis Rodriguez also came through with a big 3-run homer today after coming in to relieve Jack Wilson in the middle of the game due to an eye irritation issue for Wilson. It is hard to say how the middle of the infield is going to look in a few months as not only is Dustin Ackley due to come up, but Brenden Ryan seems to be slumping bad both at the plate and in the field. Personally I would like to see Jack Wilson get a shot back at his natural position of shortstop where he belongs.
But this is not a post about how bad things are but rather how this wonderful series which puts our boys at 11-15 could indeed indicate a rising barometer for a club that nobody has any real expectations for. As a matter of fact I see this series as the best one we have played all year and possibly the last two seasons!
So now it is on to Boston where things could be a little more intense for our scrappy Mariners under the steady hand of Eric ” Popeye” Wedge. My highest hopes were for a .500 trip but I wouldn’t be surprised if we win that series as well if we can keep all the oars rowing together. Go M’s ! http://jeffsmariners.com
King Felix Hernandez reclaimed his thrown last night as the Mariners Ace with a brilliant performance going 7/23 innings of scoreless ball, fanning 8 as his team went on to beat the Oakland A’s 1-0. King Felix put the struggles of his last three games behind him tonight giving-up only 4 hits in a pitchers duel against Brandon McCarthy who was on the mound for the visiting division rivals. When Felix is on like last night, there isn’t much anyone can do but hope they get lucky, and the defense behind Felix didn’t let their Ace down doing there part in preserving the win for the cold crowd of 12,770 on hand.
Offensively the Mariners managed only one run, another dinger off the bat of veteran Adam Kennedy filling-in at first for Justin Smoak who is out due to the unfortunate passing of his Father. Kennedy also made a fine over the shoulder catch in the 9th to save the tying run from scoring and allowing Brandon League to close the door on the A’s who now are 9-11. The win moves the Mariners to 7-13 with Michael Pineda pitching Friday night here in what hopefully will be a warmer Spring night.
Another guy who made a huge contribution was none other than the 16 year veteran Jamie Wright who came into the game in the 8th with runners on first and second and one more time ended the inning with one pitch inducing a ground ball to second. Wright is having a career year thus far and is quickly gaining respect around the League after all these year of pitching in relative obscurity.
I need to add that I have been very busy with my real job representing Seafarers on Foreign ships and thus my posts have been short and late. I am sorry for this and may even have to miss a few games in the event I need to fly to San Francisco tomorrow to assist a group of Mariners aboard a ship down there. I know I can count on my regular commenters to keep things lively in my absence and hope everyone has a great Easter weekend. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
12,411 fans were treated to a rare but much deserved flood of Mariners offense tonight as the dam finally broke loose unleashing a 13 run 15 hit offensive explosion against the visiting Detroit Tigers. Doug Fister got the win tonight and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing a pair of walks and fanning 7 Tigers which is a career high for the lanky right hander. Fister left the game in the top of the 7th with the bases-loaded and one down handing the ball to the veteran reliever Jamie Wright with the score 6-2. Jamie Wright then threw the most important pitch of the game inducing a double play ball to end the Tigers threat and allow Wright to continue his scoreless innings pitched streak all the way back through Spring Training. It just goes to show that a healthy mix of cagey veterans and young kids is important for any Big League club to be succesful.
Speaking of youngsters I was pleasantly surprised to see Carlos Peguero in the dugout tonight filling-in for Justin Smoak who is out on bereavement leave for his ailing Father. We wish Justin well and hope that Carlos Peguero is not just up here on a fluke, but perhaps standing in the wings for the eventual dismissal of Jack Cust, only time will tell…. but remember you read it here first.
Ichiro had 4 hits tonight and was closely followed by Chone Figgins with 3 base knocks of his own in this wipe-out. Chris Gimenez filled-in nicely at first for Smoak tonight and had the only hit in the first inning a 2-run single as part of that big 4 run outburst. The Mariners went on to score 2 more runs in the 4th then exploded for 5 more in the 7th after Wright delivered the game-winning pitch with the doubleplay . Not to be denied our guys added one more in the 8th before sending young Carlos Peguero out to right in the top of the 9th to make his debut in front of the home crowd.See boxscore for more details on the blow-out:Full Box
In glad to see Fister get the win tonight backed-up by Wright tonight, but in all fairness it should be pointed out that not only were the Tigers playing without sluggers Ordonez and Martinez, but there pitchers gave-up 11 walks tonight! Either way we will take a win any way we can get it and this win was fun to watch. It almost seemed surreal to see all those runners coming across the plate and I lost count a few times as I’m not used to this sort of thing. I’ll tell you one thing for sure I could sure get used to it if given the chance! Go M’s ! Http://jeffsmariners.com