mariners

Felix gets downright Franklin against the Padres

Mariners win 7-1, splitting the season series against San Diego

Seattle 7, San Diego 1
When: 3:40 PM ET, Thursday, May 30, 2013
Where: Petco Park, San Diego, California
Temperature: 66°
Umpires: Home – Dan Bellino, 1B – Mike DiMuro, 2B – Ted Barrett, 3B – Alfonso Marquez
Attendance: 18809
Boxscore | Gameday Recap

Natural rivalries can be entertaining; in the major leagues. There are 8 of these between NL and AL clubs. There used to be 9, but the Astros are now playing the Rangers as division foes rather than interleague rivals. Most notable are the cross-town rivals like the Mets and Yankees or the Cubs and White Sox.

The Mariners and the San Diego Padres have a different kind of rivalry, and they are perhaps the most curious of the “natural” rivalries, considering the 1,256 mile-difference between city limits. Two teams with nearly identical cavernous stadiums originally designed for pitching havens (although both moved the fences in last summer-adding to the heated rivalry) battle it out every year for the Vedder Cup.

Franklin crushed two home runs today (Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photo)

Franklin crushed two home runs today (Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photo)

This year will only add to the excitement, as the season series was split 2-2 thanks to Felix Hernandez and Nick Franklin.

Although the Mariners are winning and losing games quite differently this year, with a more adequate offense and an average-at-best starting rotation, through 54 games the 2013 M’s have the exact same record as last season’s Mariners (23-31). This was also the first road win since they beat the Yankees in New York on May 16.

What should we love and hate from the Mariners now?

Love

1. Nick Franklin

After recording his first hit Wednesday night (a single into left field), Nick Franklin’s confidence advanced Thursday with 2 hits, but these went a lot farther. Franklin’s two home runs were a sight for sore eyes, as seeing a middle infielder with power could help this lineup immensely.

Actually, the Seattle middle infield hit three home runs, as Brendan Ryan somehow launched a home run to left that went as high as it did far.

2. Starting Pitching

The King deserves credit for rebounding well from his last two starts (ERA over 8 in two previous) and looks as if he will get through the month of May pretty well off. Usually, May is the “Cy-Young killer” of months for Felix, but his ERA is still a healthy 2.38 and this is about the time Felix gets into a rhythm.

In this strange 4-game series with San Diego, Aaron Harang and Joe Saunders pitched well and deep into ball games. This was severely lacking during a rough stretch the last two weeks.

3. Kendrys Morales

This man deserves adequate recognition, as he has been tearing the lid off the ball lately. His 2nd inning home run allowed the team to relax and get going offensively and from the mound. Felix pitching with a lead is a destroyer, and Morales enabled him to get ahead quickly.

Hate

1. The Condor

With all of the changes lately, it seems as though Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders were two young players that were figuring it out. Unfortunately, Saunders has been dreadful with only 4 hits in his last 12 games, including an 0-for-4 effort with three K’s today. The young gun will need to figure it out soon, or he may have a similar fate as the other young players.

Maybe he could play with Tacoma, they scored 25 runs Wednesday night! 25!

2. Bullpen

Ever since that Cleveland series, this bullpen has been awful. Even with the pitchers playing deeper into games, the performance out of the pen has been too Brandon-League-like for me. Yuck.

3. Safeco Joe

Wednesday night, Joe Saunders pitched a wonderful game, throwing only 89 pitches and getting through 7 innings before getting pinch-hit for in the 8th. His performance was praised for his first adequate start on the road this season.

Not so fast! Saunders does not deserve praise for pitching well in Safeco Field South: Petco Park. The dimensions of the park and the quality of the opposing team cannot pose as a good start on the road for Joe. He needs this to be the start rather than the Band-Aid from his horrendous road splits.

C’mon Mariners, let’s win some games.

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