Error in the 8th Take Mariners out of Win Column
The Headline: despite a tough Felix start, the Seattle Mariners kept it close until Chicago broke it open in the eighth.
Seattle Mariners 4, Chicago White Sox 7
When: 8:10 ET, Friday, June 1, 2012
Where: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago
Umpires: Home — Andy Fletcher, 1B — Rob Drake, 2B — Joe West, 3B— Sam Holbrook
1. Lineup Overhaul
It took a 21-run performance, but Eric Wedge has finally realized what his lineup can do when Ichiro Suzuki isn’t batting third.
Tonight the long term right fielder batted leadoff while Kyle Seager was moved to the cleanup spot.
Ichiro was lackluster—1-5 at the plate—but he did have a stolen base and a run scored. Seager, however, took to his role nicely with a 2-4, 1 home run and 3 RBI performance.
Definitely like that lineup tonight.
2. Smoak Staying Hot
Justin Smoak had a great end to May, and luckily he’s bringing that hotness into June. The M’s first baseman was 2-3 tonight with a walk and an RBI.
Smoak is now batting .316 over his last 10 games with 4 home runs and 14 RBI. He looks comfortable batting behind Jesus Montero, and hopefully the RBI machine keeps rolling.
3. Ackley’s Nice Night
Dustin Ackley was another offensive player who had a nice night tonight. Still batting in the two-hole, Ackley was 1-2 with 2 walks.
Ackley getting on base really helped set the table for tonight. He had 2 runs scored.
1. Saunders in Center…?
I know Eric Wedge is struggling to find outfielders, but Michael Saunders does not have the speed or athleticism to play in center.
That was pretty well proven tonight.
With Paul Konerko leading off in the eighth, Saunders misplayed a routine fly ball, with the ball bouncing off his glove and hitting him in the face. Konerko cruised into second, and that would become the catalyst of a 3-run eighth which would inevitably bring down the Mariners.
With Gutierrez starting a rehab assignment, his return to the team couldn’t come any sooner in my opinion.
2. Another Rough Start for Felix
I’m not sure what’s wrong with Felix Hernandez, but it’s time he starts working the kinks out. The King had a tough start tonight, needing 85 pitches to get through just 5 innings.
The Mariners ace gave up 4 earned runs on 4 walks and 5 hits, surrendering 3 home runs to Chicago.
Hernandez is now 1-3 with a 6.34 ERA over his last five starts. Walks and long balls have been the issue, with Felix giving up 12 free passes and 7 home runs over those starts.
3. Brandon League in the Sixth?
I know Eric Wedge said that Brandon League was no longer the closer, but who knew the Mariner’s manager would actually stick to his guns?
It seems absurd for the fireballer to be coming out so early in the game.
At least let the kid setup. And no one forget that last season League had just as disastrous a May.
But, he took his lumps and was lights out the rest of the year.
I say let him stay in the ninth and just work things out.
Felix Hernandez has allowed five homers in 11 innings over his last two outings.
Chicago outfielder Dayan Viciedo was hitless in four at-bats after going 16-for-29 over the previous seven games. Kyle Seager is 9-for-15 over Seattle’s last three games.
Dunn struck out twice and has fanned 24 times over the last 11 games.