Three in the morning. Bleh. I’ve never written this early. At least not on this side of my day. I’ve also never swung a bat this time of day, or thrown a ball this time of day. This isn’t just an “Oh those pampered athletes” kind of thing. Not many players are awake at this point, I predict, and if they are they aren’t swinging any bats. But they’re in Japan. I am not a fan of Japan right now.
Spoiler prevention here. The rest of the post is after the jump. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone that DVR’d it.
The first couple things I noticed were that there was no radar gun, the turf in the Tokyo Dome is very bouncy, and there is no visible bullpen. Hopefully Mariners relievers weren’t eating sushi and drinking Sake while away from plain sight.
I also noticed Jen Mueller get air-humped by some Japanese guy right after the first inning. Oh televised sports, you’re great in any language.
The game started off pretty much as expected: Figgins gets out, Ackley gets out, Ichiro hits an infield single, Justin Smoak gets out.
In the first inning I was a bit worried about Felix Hernandez. The King didn’t seem to have leverage on any of his pitches, and was leaving his fastball high. Obviously with no radar gun I don’t know what his velocity was like, but it didn’t look concerning. Felix would figure it out though and turn in eight great innings, with his only real mistake being a double he gave up Cliff Pennington. The double he gave up to Mac Suzuki was less of a mistake because while Mike Carp didn’t field it, an average left fielder may have.
Jesus Montero has this song by Jay Z and Kanye West as his walk-up music. I’d have been thrilled to see what happens in the stands when that song plays. I imagine mass confusion. Montero probably has more pressure on him than any Mariner because he got traded for fan-favorite Michael Pineda. That’s good news for Justin Smoak.
Smoak seemed to come up a little lame after a 9th inning at bat where he fouled a ball off his ankle, and then hit a ball off the first base bag that popped into the air, inducing hustle on Smoak’s part because what may have been a routine out became a much tougher out.
Justin Smoak also looks like a little kid. He really looked like a little kid when Root Sports showed him in a helicopter. I want a helicopter.
Carp made a catch against the wall that didn’t require great athletic ability, and was a very good catch. Saved a double. Now everyone can say Mike Carp has improved his defense.
Dustin Ackley’s defense may have come into question in the bottom of the 10th, but his offense shouldn’t. He went deep to dead center in the 4th inning, and drove in the game winner in the top of the 11th. Redemption is sweet. Ackley’s swing is sweeter.
Then after his fourth hit Ichiro got into a run-down which scored Ackley. I’ve called Ichiro selfish for many years, but this was a significant play that was completely unselfish, and helped the team. It was also a pretty savvy play. Insurance runs beat discount double checks any day of the week.
And Brandon League got a save.
I’ll revisit this again later, but I’m going to try to get a nap in before work.