A few things to clear up about yesterday's missed sign from Rob Johnson. We talked with third base coach Lee Tinsley earlier and he also took some of the blame in the mistake.
Tinsley said he gave Johnson the hit-and-run sign and then wiped it off. Only Johnson didn't see the wipe-off sign.
"I need to make sure they know it is off," Tinsley said.
Tinsley admitted that if he isn't certain that the player on base has seen that the play has been wiped off, then he needs to make sure to get their attention and give the signal again or call time and talk to the player.
There was some surprise from Tinsley that Johnson thought the hit-and-run would be on in that situation with a 2-1 count, runners on first and second and a left-handed batter - Chone Figgins - at the plate.
But the Mariners are in no position to assume anything right now. And something as little as that can cost them a win. Sure in the course of a season, signs are missed. Some end up being meaningless, but with the Mariners you almost know a missed sign will end up being costly.
"Signs get missed," Tinsley said. "It's my job to make sure they don't."
I will say that coaches give signs differently. Obviously the signs are still the same, but the way they give them - the progression and order and fake signs can be different.
Manager Don Wakamatsu spent plenty of time at the Ballpark in Arlington and saw pitchers wilt in the heat, the home runs given up and the Rangers potent offense. So what's the secret of pitching success in this stadium?
"Strike one," Wakamatsu said. "It really is. Compare the two outings between Cliff and Felix. The mystique of this ball park, you come in here and the wind would be blowing and you get too fine and it gets your pitch count. To me, if you fall behind, you have to come up a little bit in the zone, and then you get hurt."
"You look at the other teams that have had success against them, it's when they can get them to swing early in the count," Wakamatsu said. "You have to establish that you are throwing strikes early in the count. I think that's going to be critical for Ian. If he gets ahead right away, then he can be a little bit finer, rather than the other way."
In his start, Lee threw 28 of 35 first pitch strikes in his, while Felix 17 of 31. We all know Snell can be very frustrating in the fact that he falls behind in counts. According to Fangraphs, Snell has a 55.2 first-pitch strike percentage, while Lee is 70.3 percent.
Josh Wilson is batting fifth in today's lineup, which says something about the roster of this team and it's challenges offensively. No offense to Wilson, who is hitting very well of late. But come on. He's not a No. 5 hitter, and he would say that himself.
"He's had great at-bats and been one of our most consistent hitters over the last couple weeks," Wakamatsu said.
- Ichiro RF
- Milton Bradley DH
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Jose Lopez 3B
- Matt Tuiasosopo 1B
- Eliezer Alfonso C
- Michael Saunders LF
- Chone Figgins 2B
RHP Ian Snell (0-4, 4.64)
- Elvis Andrus SS
- Michael Young 3B
- Ian Kinsler 2B
- Vlad Guerrero DH
- Josh Hamilton LF
- David Murphy RF
- Justin Smoak 1B
- Max Ramirez C
- Julio Borbon CF
CJ Wilson (4-3, 3.62 ERA)