An odd, somewhat historic but ultimately good night for the Mariners
By Shannon Drayer
Since I had to leave the post game show early due to an extremely loud post game concert on the field I thought I would give you some thoughts and notes from tonight’s game.
Add that to something I had never seen in baseball. A 4-2 win in a game that the Mariners were 1-hit. On the heels of a game where an opposing player hit for the cycle. Those are two tough back to back losses for the Astros, the kind of losses I could have seen for the Mariners not too long ago the way things were going. Now they are coming out on the winning end of such games.
A big break played into Friday night’s win. With one out and a runner on third Jose Altuve was hit by a ball off the bat of Jason Castro. Altuve was out and the runner at third could not advance and score. Breaks are a big part of this game and while the saying is you create your own breaks that is simply not possible in some situations. Guys know this and believe in breaks. You get the good ones when you are going good and the bad ones when you are going bad. You feed off of the good ones while the bad ones can linger. The Mariners got a good one and they got a win.
Breaks didn’t play into tonight’s game however. What did was once again good at bats. There was no panic when they were being no-hit. You didn’t see wild swings. Whether or not they knew they would get a shot at the bullpen because there was no chance Erik Bedard would throw a complete game I don’t know but they didn’t come out of their their approach. They struck out 15 times but walked six. They gave themselves opportunities without hits.
When the finally came it was somewhat similar to what we saw in a key hit the previous night. Once again a 2 rbi double following a Mike Zunino walk. Friday night Zunino walked ahead of a Dustin Ackley 2 run double. Tonight he walked before Michael Saunders’ 2 run double. After the game on the field Saunders told me those walks absolutely help the next batter.
“He (Zunino) is seeing the ball well and not getting outside of himself,” he said. “He’s a good hitter to hit behind. He made the pitcher work, I got to see what his pitches were doing, got into a hitter’s count and put a good swing on it.”
After seeing back to back curveballs thrown for balls Michael was able to sit dead red and drive a ball to the deepest part of the ballpark. In doing so he extended the Mariners winning streak to a season high 5 straight games and pulled the team one game closer to .500.
Not a bad night at all.
News and notes…
-How rare is a win when 1-hit? It was the third time in team history the Mariners won a game where they had 1 hit or less. They have been 1-hit or less 20 times in club history. Since 1916 the only other team to score 4 plus runs while only putting up 1 hit or less was the Chicago White Sox in 1990 who beat the Yankees despite being no hit. Tonight was the first time it has happened since then when a team had 1 hit.
-The ’53 Dodgers are safe. The one hit in the game was not a home run so the streak has come to an end at 23 straight games with a home run, good for 6th on the all time list.
-Kyle Seager saw his 15 game hitting streak come to an end.
-If you follow me on Twitter, and you should @shannondrayer, then you know the final two notes. Roger Clemens who is a special assistant to Astros GM Jeff Luhnow made a rare trip to the ballpark today and actually visited the Mariners clubhouse before heading over to talk to the Astros pitching staff. Clemens was a college teammate of first base coach Mike Brumley and knows Eric Wedge as well. The three caught up for a few minutes and then headed into the clubhouse where Roger shook hands with Felix Hernandez, congratulated him on his season and told him that he was now in the most important part of the season to take care of himself. He also had a brief chat with Hisashi Iwakuma and others in the clubhouse. “He’s huge,” mused Charlie Furbush after meeting him. A few players asked for and received autographs. There was definitely a buzz in the clubhouse and around the cage when he watched batting practice.
-Final note, I asked about the progress Danny Hultzen was making and was told he was not yet throwing. The plan is to give him one more week off, have him get checked out by the doctors and then to start him on a throwing program and begin working on having him no longer throw across his body. I talked with a couple of former big league pitchers here at the park (the Rocket was not one of them) and they said it should not be a huge adjustment.