Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mariners Beat Twins, Lock Themselves in Stadium to Finish Out the Season

Dude, your facial hair is freaking me out.

So the M's just played the Twins in a 4 game series and won the series 3 games to 1.  The first game, played Monday August 27th, featured a pitching duel between Felix Hernandez and Liam Hendriks.  This was a pitching duel that never should have been a duel.  Going into this game, there was an expectation of greatness from Felix, given the way he's pitched in the last 3 months.  Another perfect game?  Perhaps, but not the most likely of scenarios given the number of times a perfect game has occurred in major league history.  Felix was his usual dominant self in a game that meant almost literally nothing in the grand scheme of things, except that we got enjoy Felix mow down hitters once again.

On the flip side, we had Hendriks.  True, expecting this offense to tee off on any pitcher might be taking it a bit far, but if it was going to happen, it should've been this guy.  He entered the game with an ERA over 7 for the season and has looked every bit as bad as his numbers indicated.  He entered the game having thrown 43.1 innings with 63H, 40R (34 earned), 13BB, 25K and a whopping 10HR.

With the offense the M's have been trotting out, you'd expect more than 1 run.  Instead, they managed 3 hits, one of which was a late home run in the 8th by Eric Thames.  This offense has so much Jekyll and Hyde in them, I'm surprised we haven't had any horror stories written about it yet.

 The Tuesday game had Hisashi Iwakuma trying to prove to everybody that he really and truly belongs in a starting rotation at the big league level.  His adversary was Scott Diamond, who proved that yes, he really is a prototypical Twins pitcher.

The game was much closer than the box score would have you believe.  Iwakuma had almost no control of his pitches throughout the game.  Luckily, the Twins hitters had even less control of their bats.  He got a total of 5 swinging strikes, which is still 5 more than any of us could've gotten.  The run he gave up in the 3rd was unearned thanks in large part to the wonderful defense of Miguel Olivo.  Iwakuma, even with the rocky start, did an excellent job of pitching out of jams and made it through 6 innings having allowed just the 1 unearned run.

On the offensive side, Dustin Ackley got himself another home run for the month of August, tying his season high for any one month.  He's also hitting .255 for the month of August with 3HR and 15RBI.  He hasn't exactly turned things around, but we're starting to see signs that maybe he's turning things around.  Then again, maybe not.  Who knows?  This is all pure speculation since my magic eight ball rolled away into the night, never to be seen again.

Games 3 had the road version of Jason Vargas and none of us want to relive that game, right?  Right?!  Alright, but it's going to be short since I caught very little of this game, just like Vargas.

Vargas has some fascinatingly awful home/road splits this season.  In 11 starts at home this season, he has a 2.63 ERA and only 61 hits allowed in 78.2 innings.  A .215 BAA (Batting Average Against), 55K to go along with 17BB, good for a 3.24 SO/BB ratio.  And the big one?  Only 6 home runs allowed at home.

On the road has been a very different story.  In 17 starts on the road, his ERA is a whopping 4.84 in 106 innings.  His SO/BB ration is a paltry 2.03 (61K/30BB).  Combine that with 110 hits with 25 (yes, 25) of those being of the big fly variety and wow.  I mean, what else can you say?  25 versus 6 home runs between road and home.  With a lineup that consists of some home run hitters like the Twins have, it feels like oil and water.  Except for the Twins.  For them it was like pancakes and syrup. 

So in summation of game number 3, Vargas gave up a couple of dingers, a few extra base hits and got pretty well hit.  Oh, and the Mariners got shut out by 7 innings of 2 hit ball with no walks and 9 strikeouts by a guy who, going into the game, had 38BB and 30K on the season.  A guy by the name of Sam Deduno.  I'm sure you've all heard of him.  Wait, you haven't?  Might I suggest clicking the link and familiarizing yourself with Mr. Deduno?  If you're so inclined of course.  I can't force you to do anything from my computer.  Or can I.....?  No, no I really can't.

Game 4 featured a couple of talented gentlemen.  I guess you'd have to be talented to be one of the few who are actually pitching in major league baseball.  It's not an easy thing, pitching in the majors.  At least, I would imagine it would be difficult.

Blake Beavan was even more Beavanesque in this start than usual.  Which is to say, he pitched 7 strong, boring innings.  2 walks and 1 strikeout were about spot on for our 6'7" 5th starter.  The Twins hitters made a lot of contact and did not swing and miss a ton.  So far in his major league career, that's about what to expect from Beavan every time out.

I think that about wraps up this series.  It's a very tiny nutshell, I know, and I have no excuses yet.  I'm sure I'll come up with a couple of decent ones before the night is over.  I'll continue to polish my observational skills and improve for the next one.  Until then, feel free to comment below.

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