The M’s mashed the Rangers 10-2 tonight. Almost all the things I hoped I’d see from this team I saw at bat I saw. Iwakuma’s outing seemed like a struggle, though maybe it was just the Rangers’ talent for working pitches that made it seem so hard.
For me, the highlight of the game was watching Leonys Martin drive in Seth Smith in the seventh inning for the go-ahead run. I’m sure for others, it was the dismantling of Tom Wilhemsen in the 8th inning. The Bartender’s line for the season (one outing) 0 IP, 4 hits, 5 ER, infinite ERA.
Unlike yesterday’s offensive struggle, the M’s pounded out 11 hits. In the early going it seemed the Mariners were going to have a hard time against another lefty starter, and Martin Perez only allowed two hits with four walks. But when the Texas bullpen arrived on the scene to start the 7th inning, and Servais began rotating in more left handed bats against the right-handed relief corps, things really did break loose. Yes, there were the homers, but there was some decent clutch hitting as well by Martin, Iannetta, Aoki, exactly what we hoped we’d see.
The Mariners bullpen offered up three subjects to sacrifice on the altar of the bullpen gods. They were all great. Nick Vincent, Joel Peralta, and Tony Zych pitched four innings allowing 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 BB’s and 6 K’s. Though Zych wobbled a bit in the 9th, he was never in serious trouble.
When Wilhelmsen plunked Iannetta amidst the carnage of his outing, and Iannetta protested, Texas manager Jeff Bannister was inexplicably on the top step of the dugout hollering back at the Mariner catcher. Servais was immediately out of the dugout, on to the field, pointing at Bannister and the Texas dugout. The message to Texas: Enough of your bullshit. The message to his team: It’s Game two. We play these guys 17 more times, and I’ve got your back game two and every one of those 17 games.
Yeah, no homers for Iannetta tonight. All he’s done is get on base in five of his first six at bats, drive in two runs, and throw out Elvis Andrus trying to steal. I know it’s only the second game of the season, but he looks great out there working with pitchers and at bat. I’m going to enjoy it as long as I can.
The less than good
Iwakuma was not particularly sharp tonight. He uncharacteristically walked three batters and threw 90 pitches to get through his five innings. It sure seemed like his velocity is down a tick or two on both his fastball and breaking ball. Hope that isn’t a permanent thing.
I rarely criticize umpires, but Marvin Hudson’s strike zone really seemed to jump around, making it hard for pitchers and batters. I know it’s only game two for the umpires too, but c’mon, at least be consistent.
It was good to get this win, but the Mariners play again tomorrow, another day game, followed by another day game for the home opener. This is killin’ me.
I was truly sorry when the Mariners traded Wilhelmsen to the Rangers. He was one of those Mariners I really did enjoy, and when he was good, he was very good. At least for tonight, with Martin’s double and run, and Tommy’s complete undressing, the M’s, for today, appear to have won that trade. Round 3 tomorrow: Wade Miley vs. Colby Lewis.