Tacoma won their game 7-2 against the Iowa Cubs, while the Seattle Mariners lost 3-0 to the LA Angels.
First, a few roster moves. Miguel Olivo wasn’t with the team, and was activated from the DL to the MLB roster. Casper Wells was sent down to AAA. Wells was leading the team’s position players in strikeout percentage, striking out in almost a 3rd of his at-bats. The real problem was that he wasn’t getting at-bats with just 53. Only Kawasaki has less and Mike Carp already has more. With a relatively young player like Wells and the position the Mariners are in, one wonders why he wasn’t getting more at-bats. It made very little sense to keep him on the bench. Considering the Mariners below average offense, and Wells power potential, there was no reason for him to not be getting more at-bats. The way they have handled him makes one wonder why they even traded for him in the first place. I don’t really hate the idea of sending him to AAA, because at least this way he will be getting regular at-bats. Obviously I would have rather seen him out in the field for the Mariners, as his glove has been rated positively so far this year (and they have used him as a defensive replacement a few times) and he has shown that he can hit a little bit. A better solution would have been to quit playing Justin Smoak, moved Carp to 1st and had Wells out in the outfield. Perhaps an even better solution would have been to just release Chone Figgins. It is pretty obvious he is no longer even a replacement player, and even with his big salary, not worth a roster spot. This move was actually anticipated, but Eric Wedge has said that this isn’t even an option.
Tacoma put Brandon Bantz (who was hit by a foul tip) on the DL, along with Johan Limonta (who is still trying to get his American citizenship). They brought up Ralph Henriquez from AA Jackson (Andrew Giobbi took his spot on the AA roster, he played 25 games at High Desert last season, this will be his first action of 2012. Daniel Carroll was placed on the DL with a broken hand, and Joe Dunigan returned from the DL) and activated Brain Sweeney, who pitched on Thursday. He was displaying a 87 MPH moving fastball along with a change-up. He was keeping the ball out of the center of the plate, working both sides, and still throwing strikes. In the first, he got a ground-out, watched Mike Wilson get a horrifically bad jump on a ball in front of him for a single, and then got a double play. He got a strikeout on a 88 MPH fastball, then got a weak foul that should have been caught but wasn’t by Luis Jimenez who was playing first. Vinnie Catricala out of all people made a good play on a grounder to get the out, and Sweeney got a fly-out on a change-up to end the 2nd. He was getting a lot of grounders, lot of weak contact, and even got a few swing and misses. He even made Anthony Rizzo look bad. He finally gave up a hard line drive hit in the 6th, but he got out of that inning scoreless as well. He needed just 67 pitches to face 20 batters in 6 scoreless innings.
Carlos Peguero was the DH, and he hit a homer on a low breaking pitch. He did the other Carlos Peguero thing in the next at-bat by striking out, but he did walk in his next plate appearance. Luis Jimenez worked yet another walk (he has more walks than strikeouts this season) and had a single off the wall. He has a .422 OBP in 43 games, or a .346 MLB OBP according to our AAA projections. This would be well above league average, and would lead the team. Of course, this is a reasonably small sample size, and he doesn’t provide you any other tools than his bat. But this should be something the Mariners should consider. Guillermo Quiroz continues to have some good at-bats, with a long at-bat with some fouls before banging a single off the wall. He also had a walk in the 3rd. Chiang scored on a Trayvon Robinson SAC fly, after he reached on an error. Carlos Triunfel had a pretty good at-bat before doubling (he had a lucky ground-ball hit in his previous at-bat. Vinnie Catricala had a walk to load the bases (he also had a 2B off the wall and was driven in by Mike Wilson, followed by an RBI hit by Chiang, all off Nate Robertson). Mike Wilson then hit a double just out of the reach of Blake Dewitt in left field. Trayvon Robinson stole another base, while Luis Rodriquez had a double.
Chance Ruffin then took over to pitch the 7th, and immediately gave up doubles to Rizzo and Valbuena. Valbuena scored on a ground-ball by Brett Jackson (who amazingly didn’t strikeout) as the only two runs allowed by Tacoma pitching was in that inning. Josh Kinney pitched in the 8th, throwing 92 MPH. He capped off an easy 1-2-3 inning by getting an infield pop-up. Oliver Perez pitched the 9th, and was throwing 94 MPH. Perez is interesting as he has given up some really hard hit balls despite some really looking stuff. He has a June 1st opt-out in his contract. He gave up a deep fly-ball for an out, and gave up a double off the wall. Amazingly, he got out of the inning scoreless, making it a 7-2 Tacoma win.
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Favorite general sports moment: The Texas versus USC college football national championship comes to mind, as does Gary Matthews Jr. catch on July 1st 2006.
Favorite Seattle Sports Moment: King Felix throwing a perfect game against the Rays
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