M’s move to 8-1 in last nine Safeco games
The Headline: Eric Thames seals the deal with a walkoff single, propels M’s to another big home win.
Seattle Mariners 3, Tampa Bay Rays 2
When: 10:10 ET, Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle
Temperature: 75 degrees
Umpires: Home — Andy Fletcher, 1B — Rob Drake, 2B — Joe West, 3B — Sam Holbrook
1. Big Win in Big Fashion
This was a big win for Seattle. They swept their last two home series, so there was certainly disappointment in the air when they dropped last nights game 1-4.
Still, that couldn’t keep the M’s down. Not even a 2-1 deficit in the ninth against one of the American League’s best pitching corps could keep this team down.
Eric Thames was the big man tonight, as his walkoff single in the ninth brought home Chone Figgins for the winning run. It was a great win, and one any Mariner fan would be happy to see.
2. Kevin Millwood
Eric Thames delivered the big win, but he wasn’t the only key player in tonight’s game.
Kevin Millwood pitched an absolute gem, and that shouldn’t remain buried. The big right hander pitched seven strong innings on 102 pitches. He gave up two runs on eight hits, while striking out a season high eight batters.
It was definitely the bounce back start the 37-year old needed, as he had a 9.90 ERA over his last two starts.
3. Stephen Pryor
Pryor was his normal stud self tonight, pitching 1.2 innings giving up one hit while striking out two. His ERA on the season lowered to 0.84.
The biggest news was Stephen Pryor was handed the ball in the ninth of a 1-2 ballgame. Since he didn’t pitch last night, it was interesting to see Seattle not go with Wilhelmsen. This may be the first signs we see of a changing of the guard at the closers role.
1. Tough Night Offensively
Despite the big hit to win the game, Seattle was pretty silent with the bats tonight.
They managed just eight hits as a team, with two of those coming in the ninth inning. They also scored two runs in that inning, so for most of the game the M’s had just one run.
As a team they had just two extra base hits, both of which were doubles. No stolen bases, no overly aggressive or awesome plays.
All-in-all a poor performance overshadowed by a big finish.
2. Rays Pitching Overwhelms
For the second game in a row, Seattle has looked stifled by the Rays.
As stated above, the Mariners had just eight hits tonight and were lucky to score their three runs. Last night was even worse, as Seattle scored just one run on five hits.
They had just a single extra base hit in that game, while striking out 10 times as a team.
The Seattle bats now have a 20-3 K/BB ratio over their last two games. Needless to say, Wednesday’s series final will be an uphill battle.
3. The Smoak-Carp Dilemma
Who plays first, that remains the question.
True, Justin Smoak was promoted back to the M’s on Tuesday because Carp is heading to the DL, but that doesn’t mean either is performing better than the other.
Smoak’s OPS is under .600, but he has 13 home runs in 90 games. Carp’s OPS is above 600, but he has just five home runs in 49 games.
The fact remains: first base is a problem position for the Mariners.
I don’t think they can fully fix that offense until they find a big bopper for first.
Dustin Ackley had three hits for Seattle.
Longoria again served as the designated hitter and has to yet play in the field since returning from a hamstring injury. Seattle OFs Casper Wells and Thames each fanned three times against Moore.
Rays OF Matt Joyce struck out in all three at-bats to see a career-high 12-game hitting streak end. Smoak was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma earlier Tuesday when Mike Carp (hip) was placed on the disabled list. He was demoted on July 23.