The Mariners came into the game not scoring a run in 23 straight innings. The Mariners faced Travis Blackley on Tuesday. The same Travis Blackley that used to pitch for the Mariners. The same Blackley that was terrible. The same Blackley that pitched in South Korea. There is nothing wrong with Korea, and there is solid baseball being played in Korea. Sean Henn is in Korea, and I like Sean Henn. Byung-Hyung Kim is also in Korea. Thankfully for Kim, Bob Brenly is not in Korea. Brenly is part of a good television crew for the Chicago Cubs. But enough about Alfonso Soriano. The first three Mariners flew out. 24 innings with out a run. In the 2nd, Jesus Montero broke his bat but got on base anyway. Justin Smoak hit the ball all the way to the catcher, and Casper Wells and Michael Saunders struck out swinging. 25 innings. To be fair, Blackley has been really good this year. In AAA this year, Blackley had a 2.51 FIP. More impressively, Blackley had a 2.88 FIP and 3.85 SIERA in the Majors coming into the game. For comparison, Cole Hamels has a 3.17 FIP this year. The Mariners weren’t facing Andrew Brackman. For whatever reason, Blackley has been really good. So when Ackley hit a line drive single, followed later by an Ichiro single, it was a big deal. Even a bigger deal, Franklin Gutierrez hit his 2nd double of the year. That ended the streak. They couldn’t score a run against Brad Brach, Alex Hinshaw, Edinson Volquez, Joe Thatcher, Luke Gregerson, Huston Street, Tommy Milone, Grant Balfour, or Ryan Cook. Even more amazing, Kyle Seager hit a Sac fly to make it 2 runs in 1 inning.
Jason Vargas showed why we shouldn’t take Eramso’s 10 strikeouts the night before too seriously. Through 6 innings, Vargas hadn’t allowed a run and needed just 87 pitches to tie his career high strikeout total at 10. He came apart in the 7th and Brandon League came in to help the A’s and tied it at 2. 6.2 innings, 10 strikeouts and 2 walks should give your team a lot of wins. His start produced a 3.36 FIP and 2.27 xFIP. Too bad he pitches for the Mariners. Too bad Travis Blackley went 7 innings, striking out just 3 with 1 walk giving up just 2 runs. Too bad Brandon League faced 3 guys, gave up 2 line drive hits (one was considered a soft line drive by GameDay) and got just one out. Too bad that Justin Smoak plays 1st base, supposedly the easiest position to get offense from.
Luckily for the Mariners, that wasn’t the game. Still tied at 2, Casper Wells got his first steal (he has 69 speed according to Baseball Cube, so this is sort of surprising) of the year when the Mariners had Dustin Ackley trying to bunt for some strange reason (perhaps Wedge forgot that Interleague play was over). For some reason, Brendan Ryan was at the plate against Jim Miller. Jim Miller is a right handed pitcher, but he is a reverse split pitcher (meaning he is better against lefties than righties). So you obviously wouldn’t bring John Jaso off the bench, but Ryan has just a .530 OPS against righties. You would like to be able to bring someone off the bench to hit for Ryan. However, your choices if you were Eric Wedge was Figgins, Olivo, and Kawasaki. These guys are all worse. This is what happens to terrible baseball teams. They have no one to hit for your defensive shortstop in key situations. However, something else happens to bad baseball teams. They get lucky. Brendan Ryan got a hanging slider in the 6th pitch of the at-bat and hit a line drive single. This put the Mariners ahead, and Tom Wilhelmsen shut the door with awesome curveballs.