Mariners radio broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith checks in with a notes-filled update from Arlington, Texas after last night’s 9-2 win over the Rangers…
Tuesday night started a six-game road trip against two clubs that were a combined 25 games over .500, while the Mariners, at 35-47, were 12 games behind the break-even mark. Add to that a recent series loss to the hapless Cubs, a Rangers team that had won 10 of its last 13, and a Mariners starting pitcher with the most regular season losses in Rangers Ballpark history without a victory (0-7, 9.91 ERA).
The Mariners threw all of that to the Texas wind and thumped the first-place Rangers 9-2 in front of a crowd of nearly 40,000. It marked the most runs the M’s had scored in Arlington since a 21-8 thumping on May 30, 2012 and the first win in Texas in 2013.
- With his first-inning home run, Raul Ibanez became the first player dating back to 1916 to record 20 home runs before the All-Star break in an age 40-or-older season. He now has the 6th most homers in MLB history in a 41-or-older season, passing Stan Musial. With 21 home runs, Dave Winfield is next on the list.
- After back-to-back blasts from Ibanez and Kendrys Morales Tuesday night, the Mariners have gone back-to-back five times this season. Ibanez has clubbed the first homer in four-of-five occasions.
- I had heard some rumblings through the blogosphere that Brad Miller was rough around the edges defensively at shortstop. While four games doesn’t make a career, he’s looked sharp at short so far and helped turn four double plays Tuesday night. His arm has looked strong, his range has been good, and he seems to be lining up in the right spots (tip of the cap the bench coach Robby Thompson and Brendan Ryan).
- It really struck me last night that there almost can’t be a Major League team younger up the middle than the Mariners. Miller is the old man of the group at 23, while Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino check in at 22. (Franklin’s beard is well ahead of his years, though.) The trio has played a combined 50 games in the Majors.
King Felix and the M’s face lefty Derek Holland Wednesday night in Game 2. The “Dutch Oven” has an improved slider in 2013 which has accounted for 70% of his 97 strikeouts, compared to 31% last season. Holland is 8-2, 3.39 ERA lifetime against the M’s, but last night should’ve taught us something about that, and the last time he faced the Mariners in Texas he allowed 8 runs in 1.2 innings.
Here is a fun note from the Elias Sports Bureau:
I think it’s now safe to delete the phrase “Safeco Joe” from our vocabulary. Following his eight strong innings Wednesday night in Anaheim, Joe Saunders has a 1.23 ERA (3 ER, 22.0 IP) over his last three road starts in San Diego, Oakland, and Anaheim. An Angels offense that outscored the Mariners 30-4 over the first three games played this season in Anaheim, has suddenly been able to plate only three runs over the last two games.
For as futile as the Halos were against Jeremy Bonderman and Saunders the past two nights, the Mariners have had their share of challenges with Angels starters Joe Blanton and C.J. Wilson. Don’t let Blanton’s 1-10 record fool you. Yes, he’s given up a ton of hits this year (a Major League high 117), but his performance Tuesday night against the Mariners was his seventh quality start in 14 outings.
Wilson, meanwhile, has had the Mariners number. In three starts this year against the M’s, the man with a lifetime supply of Head & Shoulders is 3-0, 1.77 ERA (4 ER/22.0 IP) with 22 strikeouts. He’s the only pitcher this year to collect three wins against Seattle, and is 8-1 with a 2.00 ERA over his last 10 starts vs. the Mariners (since the start of 2011).
When this series is over, what I might remember most is the defensive play of Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos. These two centaurs have made so many crashing/leaping catches over the last three nights that I’ve honestly started losing track. While we haven’t seen them rob a home run, they’ve certainly stolen plenty of extra bases — and at some big times, too – like this catch by Trout up against the wall in left field on a Mike Zunino drive with the tying and go-ahead runners on base last night.
- Trout, who scored the lone run of the game Wednesday night on a wild pitch, has reached base 17 times over the last (I trust you’re already sitting down) five games. The Angels are a mortal 9-26 when he doesn’t score a run.
- Dustin Ackley is hitting .400 with 34 hits in 20 games with Tacoma.
- Ramon Morla hit a 3-run home run in his Double-A debut with the Jackson Generals yesterday.
- DJ Peterson, the Mariners No. 1 draft pick (12th overall) in the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft, made his pro debut for the Everett AquaSox last night and went 0-for-3 with a walk.
- The CG by Joe Saunders last night was his second of the season, tying Aaron Harang for the team lead…it was the first CG loss by a Mariners starter since current Angel Jason Vargas on Aug. 6, 2012 at Baltimore.
- In two career starts vs. his former team, Joe Saunders is 0-2 with a 1.93 ERA…and has not received any run support in losses by scores of 2-0 (6/16/12 – ARI at LAA) and 1-0 (last night). Saunders was the Angels first round draft pick (12th overall) in the 2002 June Draft.
- The Rangers topped the first-place A’s 9-5 Wednesday night in Arlington. Justin Grimm earned the win and became the first Rangers starting pitcher to collect a win since Derek Holland on May 31 against Kansas City.
- A win tonight against the Angles and the Mariners finish the road trip 4-3 with a series win against the division’s first place team. Happy Felix Day. Here is a statistical preview of tonight’s matchups (Felix Hernandez vs. Tommy Hanson).
“Everything. What’s not to like? He’s been a shot in the arm. Nothing fazes him.” This is what bench coach Robby Thompson told Aaron Goldsmith when asked what he’s liked so far about rookie second baseman Nick Franklin.
PHOTO OF THE DAY:
Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. In this installment Aaron shares some interesting tidbits about the CG 2-hit shutout by Aaron Harang last night vs. the Astros.
I was just finishing up my dinner last night at Safeco Field when the word reached our table that Kendrys Morales was a late scratch from the lineup due to some back soreness. While I didn’t exactly drop my plastic fork mid-bite, I did wonder what the Mariners offense might look like without the threat of Morales.
Well, as it turned out, the M’s were just fine without Kendrys last night. Yes, the Astros offense has struggled at times this year, but few might have predicted that Aaron Harang would deal his second complete game shutout of the season like he did.
Here are some notes from last night and looking forward to the upcoming road trip.
- At 35 years and 33 days old, Harang became the 5th-oldest pitcher since 1916 to have a shutout with no more than two hits allowed, at least 10 K’s and no walks. Randy Johnson, at 40 years and 251 days old on May 18, 2004, was the oldest.
- Harang’s 10 strikeouts set a new season-high and marked the 12th time in his career he racked up 10 or more punch outs in a game (last time: April 13, 2012 vs. SD).
- Get this…in the history of the Mariners, there have only been two pitching performances that featured a shutout allowing 2 or fewer hits, 10 or more strikeouts with zero walks. The Felix Hernandez Perfect Game and Aaron Harang last night. Wow!
- The Astros never had an at-bat with a runner in scoring position. Harang worked with a runner at first base only three times.
- Two of Harang’s three wins this season have come on complete game shutouts.
- Raul (So Cool) Ibanez clubbed his team-leading 13th home run of the year. Ibanez also homered the night before, making it the fourth time this season he has homered in back-to-back games. Here is some great info on Ibanez and his HR hitting prowess as a 41-year-old courtesy of Gary Hill.
- Every baseball fan should love watching Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. He saw his career-high 11-game hitting streak end last night. In the 8th inning Monday night, Altuve connected on his 300th career hit in what was his 263rd career game. It took Lance Berkman 288 games to reach hit No. 300.
- A quick look around the A.L. West tells you that it’s the Rangers and A’s…and everyone else. The Mariners now hold a 1.5 game lead over the Angels for third place in the division, 10 games outside of Texas and Oakland.
- With the upcoming seven-game trip to Oakland and Anaheim, the Mariners have a chance to gain a little ground, but it won’t be easy. The A’s are killing it right now. At 39-17, Oakland has its best record after 66 games since 1992. The Angels, meanwhile, have lost four straight but just got center fielder Peter Bourjos back. All he did Tuesday night was this.
The Mariners have a chance for their first series sweep of 2013 tonight in the finale with the Astros. Hope you can join Rick, me, and Mike Zunino for the first pitch at 7:10.
Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. In this installment Aaron writes about the sterling relief performance by Blake Beavan last night vs. the Yankees.
If Blake Beavan had started Thursday night’s game against the Yankees — instead of appearing in long relief as he did — it would have been by far his best start of 2013. Beavan was called up prior to the game from Triple-A Tacoma to be the Mariners “long man” out of the bullpen and, wouldn’t you know it, was needed immediately.
“In Tacoma, I got back to the pitcher that I was when I was having success,” Beavan told me prior to the game from the Mariners clubhouse. “I was attacking hitters, using my fastball, and getting ahead.”
Beavan certainly pitched with a nice pace Thursday night against the Yankees, allowing just one hit over six and two-thirds scoreless innings. He joined John Montague (1977) as the only other Mariner reliever to face the minimum 20 batters over over six and two-thirds frames. He also became the first reliever since Jake Westbrook (Indians) on July 19, 2004 vs. Detroit to face the minimum amount of batters in a relief outing of at least six and two-thirds innings (7.0 IP, 21 batters faced).
Beavan recorded half of his outs on ground balls, which is a good sign that he’s back on track.
“When I’m on, I’m getting a lot of outs with my sinker. Everything works off my two-seam fastball.”
One thing I’ll be interested to talk to Blake about later today is how frequently he started a batter off with a first pitch breaking ball. He throws a nice slider and works in a 12-6 curveball, but it was odd to me that he didn’t start more batters off with a fastball seeing how he got away from his fastball prior to being sent down. Now, all that said, what he did against the Yankees was obviously effective, but it was still a little surprising.
Beavan is a quality guy to have in the clubhouse and looked awfully sharp Thursday night. Hopefully this is a sign of more good things to come.
Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. In this installment Aaron talks to rookie catcher Jesus Sucre about making his Major League debut, with his good friend Elvis Andrus in the opposing dugout.
There was a moment prior to Friday night’s game so brief, it was easy to miss. Before first pitch, Rangers leadoff hitter Elvis Andrus stepped inside the batters box and put his arm around Mariners catcher Jesus Sucre.
Andrus, a two-time American League All-Star, is from Maracay, Venezuela. Sucre, making his Major League debut, is a native Cumana, Venezuela.
Although the two grew up six and a half hours apart, baseball brought them together long before Friday night.
“Elivis is one of my best friends from back home in Venezuela,” Sucre said after the game. “He came up to me and made me feel good by telling me ‘have a good game, good luck, I’m glad you’re here.'”
Jesus and Elvis became good friends by once sharing the same clubhouse — in little league. They both played shortstop for the same team growing up and are now reunited on baseball’s biggest stage.
So who was the the better shortstop as a kid?
“Him, definitely him,” Sucre said with a smile. “He always made those plays he makes now in the Big Leagues.”
Fast forward nearly 20 years and, as Andrus was about to see the first pitch of the game, he had one final comment to Sucre.
“We were talking about my mom [who still lives in Venezuela],” explained Sucre. “Elvis said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to say hi to your mom for me.'”
A mom who has seen her son — and his good friend — come a long way since little league.
Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. In this installment Aaron talks to starting pitcher Brandon Maurer about returning to Southern California for the first time as a Major League pitcher and about pitching in front of his family tonight at Angel Stadium.
Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. In this installment Aaron talks to Kyle Seager about facing Yankees closer (and future Hall of Famer) Mariano Rivera.
Tuesday night in the Bronx, Mariano Rivera earned his 16th save of the season — and the 624th of his legendary career.
His very first save came way back on May 17, 1996 versus the California Angels. Fast forward to September 13, 2011 and that’s where Kyle Seager come in.
“I’m on the highlight reel,” Seager said with a sigh. “I struck out for his 600th career save.”
Monday night Rivera got the best of the Mariners third baseman once again, as Seager flew out to center field to begin the ninth inning. Of course, Rivera gets nearly everyone out and he does it with virtually only one pitch: the cutter.
“You know it’s coming and you really almost have to reverse your mindset at the plate,” Seager said from his locker.
“If, out of his hand, the pitch looks like a strike, it’ll probably come in and jam you, as a left-handed hitter. You really need to jump on the pitches that look like they’ll be outside of the zone. Those are almost the only ones you can hit.”
Rivera is 16-for-16 in save opportunities this year, the second-longest save streak to start a season in his career (2008: 28 consecutive saves). No matter their approach, opposing batters have almost never been able to figure out what has been nothing more than a four-seam fastball with some natural cut.
Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. Here is his first installment for the 2013 season talking about minor league prospect Stefen Romero moving to the outfield.
After spending virtually all of his career at second base, Stefen Romero is now making the switch to left field. With the Mariners surplus of infielders at both the Major League and Minor League levels, the decision to move Romero to the outfield seems like a wise way to get his bat to Seattle sooner.
The Mariners reigning Minor League Player of the Year is off to a nice start to the season. Romero is hitting a combined .288 with 1 home run and 8 RBI between Single-A High Desert and Triple-A Tacoma, following an oblique injury in Spring Training. During his breakout 2012 campaign, Romero hit .352 with 23 homers and 101 RBI in 116 games between High Desert and Double-A Jackson.
“Stefen is very receptive and coachable,” said new new Minor League outfield and baserunning coordinator, Brant Brown. “We’re working on not doing too much and allowing the play and his abilities to dictate what occurs.”
Brown, a former Major League outfielder with the Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins, has been in Tacoma recently working with Romero as he transitions to the outfield.
“Things are progressing well,” Brown went on to say. “I’m talking him through the basics of playing the outfield. How to set up, reads, angles to the ball, and ball security.”
I spent two years with “Brownie” in Frisco, Texas when he served as the hitting coach for the Texas Rangers Double-A affiliate. In addition to being a Major League veteran and an all-around great guy, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen another coach actually teach the game of baseball with more precision and clearer communication than Brownie.
Romero actually played 17 games in the outfield for Single-A Clinton in 2011 (his first professional season). A lifetime .316 hitter in the minors, and someone Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik once told me “can flat out hit,” Romero’s bat promises to make an impact in Seattle whenever it arrives.