The Mariners lost the second game against the Angels tonight by a score of 3-2. Felix Hernandez squared off against Jered Weaver and pitched well enough to win going eight innings, but alas even a King needs more than 2 runs and 7 hits from his loyal subjects. Weaver who now moves to 9-5 on the year, kept the Mariners off-balance tonight mixing his curve and fastball up and getting outs when he needed them. Both sides had a couple of dumb base running errors that could have altered the score slightly either way.
As this season moves along I am beginning to accept that we are in some sort of extended spring training mode and thus it is all about looking at young players with an eye on 2011. As depressing as that sounds, it is easier than looking at the standings or batting averages. So tonight I focused on the swing of young Justin Smoak and was pleasantly surprised. Smoak has a nice smooth easy swing, which he used tonight to go 2-4 including a 2-run homer in the 7th. Smoak does appear to get fooled on breaking balls, but does indeed have a natural sweet swing that should bode well in the future for this club.
Michael Saunders went 2-3 at the plate, though he did get picked-off at first in what could be classified as a rookie mistake in the 5th inning. Outside of that the offense was its usual sleepy self. Not sure who has the worse approach at the plate, Gutierrez who loves to look at first pitch meat-balls, or Lopez who always looks like he is guessing no matter what the count. Casey Kotchman was put in as the DH tonight and went 0-4. Not sure if that means Milton Bradley is being given a time-out or what. Apparently Russell Branyan stubbed his toe in a hotel over the All-Star break in another bizarre Mariner development.
Looking ahead at the schedule we have two more with the Angels, a series with the red-hot White Sox, then the Red Sox, and another Series with the White Sox. The month of July could be brutal indeed for our hapless sailors as we trudge towards Seafair week. There was a time when Seattle had no major league teams and the Gold Cup Hydro races on Lake Washington was the major sporting event of the year around here. This year it looks like it will be a nice distraction from this extended spring training….http://jeffsmariners.com