Jul 22, 2011, 8:39 PM | Updated: 9:50 pm
Eric Wedge called out his players last night and despite the fact that they had their ace on the hill and were going up against a guy whose ERA was higher than just about any two Mariners starters combined (yeah, Vargas messes that up), they didn’t respond.
Yes, they had a nice little offensive explosion in the 8th but it was too late. Tonight they needed to come out and put some runs up early and Felix needed to be Felix. Once again Wedge asked for this.
“To be a number one, he is our number one and one of the best pitchers in baseball and we need him to step up tonight. I can’t say it anymore plain than that.”
Felix was okay tonight. Not dominating Felix, just okay Felix giving up a run in the first inning and living dangerously after that facing trouble in all innings but one. His defense and ability to get the ground ball kept him in the game and two runs through six is more than respectable against this lineup but again it isn’t dominant. The fact that they were getting on they had to think it was just a matter of time. And it was.
I talked to Felix after the game and he said that while he thought he made good pitches he was upset with himself for not being able to get his team a win. He thinks he is doing everything right now but realizes that everything isn’t enough. Is he discouraged by the situation? No. He echoes what others in the clubhouse have said this year. That this is a good group, a group that is together, that he enjoys taking the field with and is shocked and at a loss over what he has seen the last two weeks.
It wasn’t all Felix tonight however. An Olivo passed ball in the first, Mike Carp hitting a baserunner on a throw to third, it wasn’t the cleanest game but there were bright spots. Four double plays, one absolutely brilliant one pulled off behind the bag at second by Brendan Ryan. Greg Halman with a Gutiesque play in center near the wall, a nice diving stop by Adam Kennedy at third robbing a double. Ichiro stealing two bases and scoring in the first inning. More positives that hopefully they can grab onto and push forward with.
Tomorrow will not be easy. Blake Beavan against Josh Beckett. Beavan no doubt is wondering how much time he has left here as Erik Bedard should return to the rotation when the team returns to Seattle. As we approach the trade deadline things could happen however. Scouts are watching both Vargas and Fister right now and as much as Jack Zduriencik likes pitching I wouldn’t be surprised if he traded one of the two, more likely Vargas. There could be an opening in the rotation. We shall see. For now, Beavan will concentrate on taking the hill trying to keep his team from matching the franchise record in losing streaks. Go get ’em.