The Seattle Mariners edged the Cleveland Indians tonight by a score of 3-2 giving David Pauley the M’s starter his first win as a Major-League pitchers since being drafted in 2001. Pauley in addition to spending 9 years in the minors has started 10 previous games in the show, 5 with Boston, and 5 with the Mariners without a win. But tonight on Friday the 13th David Pauley finally got lucky against a young team of Indians who much like the beleaguered Mariners are suffering through a long losing season on the road to rebuilding. Pauley went 6 innings giving-up 7 hits, walking none and striking-out 5 tonight in front of 26,424.
The Mariners looked as if they were finally playing a team that they were better than, it is just too bad this is the first time we have got to play the Indians with this season 2/3 over. But hey a win is a win and not only was this a great win for David Pauley, but for the whole team and especially “Downtown Daren Brown” the new manager who is 3-1 since taking the helm. The Mariners offense managed to get a run in the first by playing small-ball in its purest form. Ichiro got on with an infield single, stole second, and then advanced to third on a ground ball by Figgins. The Indians put the big shift on their former slugger Russell Branyan but he managed to score Ichiro with a grounder to Donald at second. Nothing fancy but it worked.
In the fourth Russell Branyan started things off with a double off the wall and later scored from third on an infield single by Casey Kotchman that should have been an out, but the ball was bouncing our way tonight for a change, and after all the bad luck we have had this year we are overdue for some lucky breaks, I know David Pauley is. The Mariners tried to score Kotchman from second on a single by Saunders, only to have the lumbering Kotchman thrown-out at the plate with a laser throw from former Mariner Shin-Soo Choo to end the rally. What Lee Tinsley was thinking at third by sending Kotchman home knowing full well that Choo has a cannon of an arm I will never know. After scoring a run in the second, the Indians came back to tie the game in the 5th inning with a two-out single by Shin-Soo Choo bringing home Michael Brantley son of another former Mariner Mickey Brantley who played for Seattle in the late 80’s and I remember quite well.
David Pauley does not have overpowering stuff but tonight he was able to mix his 91mph fastball in with his change and occasional breaking-ball to keep the Indians at bay. Pauley had been receiving less than 1.5 runs per game in support from his offense till tonight’s game, so when the Mariners picked-up another run in the 6th Pauley and the bullpen were able to convert it for the win. The Mariners got their run in the 6th in an odd manner as Jose Lopez lead-off with a single, followed by a double to left off the bat of Franklin Gutierrez. Once again Lee Tinsley got greedy and waved Lopez around third only to have him gunned down at the plate on a great relay from Crowe to Cabrera to the catcher Gimenez. But with two down on David Pauley’s lucky night, the Mariners caught another break when Adam Moore scored Gutierrez from third with an error by Donald at second.
Manager Daren Brown is old-school in a lot of ways, one of which is that he seems to be setting some firm roles for his relievers so they know what their job is. For instance David Aardsma is the closer which he did well tonight, Brandon League is the set-up man coming in to pitch usually in the 8th like he did tonight, and Sean White along with a couple of the others will come into the game early like he did tonight. It sounds basic and it is, but Wakamatsu just seemed to have things muddled-up as far as roles for our relievers for most of the season adding to his own demise.
It was odd watching a game where I actually felt somewhat confident tonight. Partially because the Indians have fallen on rough times, and partially because there does seem to be a slight difference in the way the Mariners are playing since Daren Brown has taken over. Maybe it’s just the back to basics, keep it simple stuff like the use of the bullpen but it feels different and I think we should be able to win this series if we keep it up. http://jeffsmariners.com