If you go only by the numbers, this gets confusing, but Ian Snell is back in the Seattle Mariners rotation and starts tonight against San Diego.
In four starts earlier this season, Snell lasted 19 1/3 innings and compiled a 4.66 earned run average - which earned him a trip to the bullpen. There, in nine innings, his ERA was 5.00.
Which got him back into the rotation when Ryan Rowland-Smith admitted he was out of ideas.
It's Snell vs. left-hander Clayton Richard, who was a 2.94 ERA.
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Against Richard, manager Don Wakamatsu is riding the hot hands of DH Mike Sweeney (5-for-13), left fielder Milton Bradley (5-for-12), shortstop Josh Wilson (5-for-10) and catcher Josh Bard (5-for-9).
The Mariners must hope those home stand numbers are good enough to offset those of Ichiro (3-for-13), Chone Figgins (2-for-11), Jose Lopez (1-for-7 and Franklin Gutierrez (3-for-13).
Nuturing a two-game winning streak, a victory tonight would get the Mariners to within nine games of .500. Baby steps, yes, but that's the only way this team is going to inch its way back to respectability.
- The one thing the Mariners asked of Snell was to bring the aggressiveness he showed in relief to his start, and he certainly did that in the first. He got the first two Padres on six pitches, then got Adrian Gonzalez to ground out on his 11th.
- Ichiro opened the first with one of those ground balls to short that became a hit because he simply outran the throw from Everth Cabrera. Ichiro, however, was then caught stealing when Richard picked him cleanly off first. Figgins legged out an infield single. Gutierrez singled, Figgins just beating Tony Gwynn's throw to third base. Sweeney struck out on three pitches. Lopez popped out. Three consecutive hits to open the inning - and no runs.
- Gwynn doubled with one out and Will Venable walked on Snell's 48th pitch. David Eckstein popped out. Gonzalez flied out to left, with Bradley tracking the ball to the fence, then jumping to make the catch. In the third: No score.
- Josh-not-Jack Wilson doubled. Ichiro popped out attempting to bunt - and it's games like these that drive some folks nuts. He was picked off first, now flubbed a sacrifice bunt. Figgins flied out, deep enough to score a runner from third, except Wilson was still at second. Gutierrez flied out. After three: No score.
- Matt Stairs hit a one-out home run off the signs on the second level in right field, his first of the year. In the fourth: San Diego 1, Seattle 0.
- Snell is done after five innings and 82 pitches, replaced by Kanekoa Texeira. Chase Headley slices an excuse-me double the other way and Stairs - playing small ball - grounds to the right side, getting the runner to third. Headley scored on a wild pitch. Mariners take note - that's how it's done. In the sixth: San Diego 2, Seattle 0.
- Ichiro singled leading off the sixth and took second when Figgins singled. Gutierrez grounded into a double play, Ichiro to third. Sweeney singled in a run. After six: San Diego 2, Seattle 1.
- Shawn Kelley pitching for Seattle in the seventh.
- Bottom of the ninth, one out - and Sweeney lines a double to left field. Michael Saunders ran for Sweeney, and took third when Lopez picked up an infield single. Matt Tuiasosopo ran for Lopez. Bradley struck out. Kotchman grounded out. It's a final: San Diego 2, Seattle 1.