PREGAME: Before the season started, this series looked like a nice one to ease into the second half. But the Mariners are the surprise team of the AL. They’ve won their last 3 and are 14-6 in their last 20.
It’s a great pitching match-up tonight with Andrew Miller taking on Felix Hernandez. Interesting story about the Mariners took place right before the break. The awesome blog USS Mariner wrote that King Felix was throwing too many fastball in the first inning. The post was handed to Hernandez by his pitching coach and mixed things up. The results were sparkling, 8 innings of 2 hit shut out ball.
Here I lamented Andrew Miller’s reliance on the fastball in the Atlanta start. He definitely mixed in more pitches against Boston. I’m still waiting for thanks from Chuck Hernandez (kidding of course).
Placido Polanco is sitting out tonight, and left fielder Marcus Thames will bat in the 2 hole with Omar Infante manning the pivot.
Game Time 10:05pm
POSTGAME: Well, Miller pitched good. He mixed his pitches, and kept people off balance. He also induced more ground balls than in his other starts. He’s a ground ball pitcher, as indicated by his extreme differential in the minors, but that hasn’t shown up at the big league level prior to tonight. Of course 3 of those ground balls were mishandled (one by himself) and it probably cost him an inning of work due to the extra workload.
Normally that’s a concern, but the bullpen pitched 4 innings of no hit ball and only allowed a walk and a hit batsman. Macay McBride came in and struck out the side in his inning of work.
As for the offense, not a lot of extra base power, but they did continue to threaten. They just couldn’t push many men across. It happens. The only particularly frustrating spot was not scoring with runners at the corners and no one out.
As for the weirdness, there was plenty and Beltre was in the middle of it all. On a check swing that went past Pudge, Beltre asked for the appeal and had it granted, and ruled in his favor as a swing allowing him to get to first. I don’t recall seeing that before.
And then he stole second, prompting Pudge to get upset about Betancourt stepping in front of the plate and getting tossed. It was interference and it does get called on occasion (I think Pudge got that called against the Cardinals earlier this year). And Pudge did bump Winters, not aggressively mind you, but he did bump him so I won’t even dispute the ejection.
As for the other weirdness, with the Beltre single, and then going to second, and then sliding past second, and then running towards left field while Carlos Guillen repeatedly tagged him, only to have Guillen later drop the ball, and have Richie Sexson come in to score, and have Beltre ruled safe, and then Marcus Thames calling for the appeal that Beltre missed second, and then Beltre being ruled out, and then the run scoring.
I don’t know what to make of it except that Bruce Froemming must have left his heart and his judgement in San Francisco because Beltre did touch the base. Froemming even indicated he was safe during the play. And Guillen did tag Beltre. Eh, what are you going to do except maybe retire? I think Froemming managed to screw both teams on the same play.