I didn’t wake up this morning to see the game live. Instead I set up my DVR and woke up at about five o’clock. I was just hoping for a game that didn’t include extra innings like yesterday’s game. And such is what I got.
For most of his time in the game Jason Vargas looked really good. A’s hitters were behind his fastball and looked foolish on his changeup. He was locating well inside and out, and had a really impressive sequence of pitches against Coco Crisp in the first inning that ended in a broken bat fly ball. Vargas’ willingness to pitch inside is going to be the key to sustained success for him. While Jamie Moyer’s recognizable pitch was a changeup low and away, he set that pitch up with fastballs that progressively further off the plate inside. Jason Vargas isn’t Jamie Moyer, but he should aspire to be more like Moyer.
For the second straight game Dustin Ackley was struck out on a pitch that looked like a ball. That’s annoying. Dustin Ackley has a good eye, and while Jason Vargas wasn’t exactly getting squeezed, Bartolo Colon seemed to get a few pretty generous strike calls as he carried a perfect game into the fourth inning.
Jesus Montero got his first hit as a Mariner, and while the “it looks like a line drive in the box score” adage may apply here, this isn’t the box score. He hit a chopper to the right side that should have been fielded, but Jemile Weeks was inexplicably out of position, and playing very close to second base. The A’s appeared to be pitching Montero inside, which may have been why they were shaded to the third base side, expecting Montero to pull the ball.
One of my favorite things about baseball is the unwritten, and generally unspoken rule that takes care of the catcher. Jemile Weeks fouled a ball off of Miguel Olivo at one point during the game and decided that he needed some pine tar on his bat for about 45 seconds in the middle of the at bat. I think this move is one of the most underspoken shows of sportsmanship that exist.
It’s not always limited to the batter though, even the umpire decided he had to brush off the plate and otherwise waste time. I play in a Seattle-based adult baseball league, and last year while I was on the mound the catcher took a foul ball off the cup. The catcher is a fairly vocal member of the team, and the umpire had somehow drawn our games for about the fourth straight weekend. At various points during the course of those weeks he and the catcher had encountered a few disagreements, and may not have been the best of friends. Despite that, after seeing the catcher’s cup shot the umpired walked out to me rubbing down a new ball. I had a much better relationship with the ump, and said “damn, that looked painful.”
The ump responded “I’m just glad it shut his damn mouth.” What a game.
I’ve kind of wondered if Kyle Seager would be able to succeed defensively at third base long term. He isn’t so slick with the glove, and doesn’t have such a strong arm that he’s immediately an obvious choice at third base. He made a play on a chopper in the 3rd inning that was nice though, where he got the ball out of his glove quickly and made a strong throw to first base.
Speaking of Seager, at one point he put a swing on a ball that ended up being a fly ball to dead center field. It wasn’t a particularly deep fly ball, but nonetheless when it left the bat the fans let out a collective “ooooooohhhh.” Japan hasn’t seen much Kyle Seager.
In the 7th inning Justin Smoak put an easy swing on a ball and poked it over the 13 foot wall in left field. Safeco field doesn’t necessarily cater to opposite field shots from left handed hitters, Smoak must make that part of his game to keep pitchers honest.
Yoenis Cespedes looks like Vladimir Guerrero to me. He is so powerful, so athletic, and just looks like he shouldn’t be as fast as he apparently is. He absolutely destroyed a Shawn Kelley pitch in the 7th inning, and hit a line drive to right center that looked like it may still be rising when it snuck over the fence. Kelley was taking over for Vargas, who went 86 pitches, and looked good for about 5.2 innings. He looked really bad for those last two outs though, and seemed clearly fatigued. So much for the best shape of his life, or well, maybe.
George Sherrill looks weird on the mound now. Maybe I don’t remember George Sherrill that well. But he had his shoulders at about a 45 degree angle down the first base line. He looked really shitty giving up a home run to Josh Reddick, because Josh Reddick isn’t that good.
The Mariners lost 3-1. They are hitting between 2-6 AM the last two days. How many guys do that? I’m not saying that the Mariners offense is going to be stellar this year, but no matter what happened today this wasn’t going to be an accurate depiction of what the A’s and Mariners looked like.
But these games still count, and the Mariners are still tied for first place in all of MLB. Good Morning, see you in a week, when the rest of the season starts.