Well, it was pretty uneventful travel day. Catching coordinator Roger Hansen and pitcher Miguel Batista along with the FSN guys were on my flight. I sat with Roger and Batista in the airport for awhile. Batista was talking for a long time about pitching philosophy. Not so much to me, but to Roger.
I got in about 8 p.m. local time and grabbed something to eat, conversed with Geoff Baker for awhile at the restaurant/bar at the Renaissance Marriott in Detroit and then had to write my off-day story, which centers largely on the un-met and higher expectations for the Tigers ...
Check out this story from the Detroit Free Press... apparently the Tigers are having issues.
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I spent part of my day off watching baseball. I went to the Rainiers game. Yeah, I have a problem, but actually I was there to just hang out, have a few beers and sit out in the perfect weather. Here's Grant Clark's game story from the game.
A few things from the Rainiers game. R.A. Dickey pitched and his knuckleball was really moving. It made it difficult for catcher Rob Johnson who had a few passed balls, but did admirably considering. Dickey seemed to have trouble spotting the knuckle at times and a couple walks hurt him. Tucson started Doug Davis, who's coming back from Thyroid cancer surgery. Davis looked like a major leaguer throwing in Triple A. He was absolutely dominant at times.
Let's get to grading the homestand...
I said earlier that winning 2-of-3 would be acceptable. And it was. But I didn't think it would be such a fight just to win two. The Mariners' offense hardly looked dominant against the starting trio of Chris Young, Randy Wolf and Shawn Estes. But thanks to a fantastic performance from Erik Bedard and the overall play of Jose Lopez the Mariners got back-to-back wins for the first time in a month.
Speaking of Jose, John McGrath had a nice column about Lopez as well.
We'll do this quickly...
Look they won two of three and won a series for the time in nine tries, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that the Padres are anything but a poor team at best. I don't know what they'd do offensively if they didn't have Adrien Gonzalez. Still, the Mariners got two wins that they needed, not just for the record but for their waning confidence.
Lopez was solid with some clutch hits, and Ichiro had a few hits as well. This team is still far from where it can be offensively. Clement was struggling, and really Balentien isn't hitting that well, but doing enough to stay viable. Lopez, Ibanez and Ichiro have been the most consistent. But they definitely need more. I think Sexson's five games off messed with his timing a little, look for him to hit a little better (not hard to do) on this trip.
It would have been an A if not for Batista's no show on Friday. Every pitcher is afforded a few bad starts, but Batista's had three poor one's in a row. You wonder if it's a trend? Bedard pitched like the guy they expected when they traded for him, and Felix competed and fought even if he didn't get a decision. JJ is looking a little more polished, but his first appearance in four days was a little shaky at first.
I guess I look at it this way --- they didn't make any huge, costly errors, and they made the bulk of the plays they are supposed to make. Lopez had a few nice plays in the field, and Richie also showed some decent glove work with nothing to show for it, also Beltre had a few highlight reel plays. Everybody knows that Raul is a step slow in the outfield, but he's not going to move to first base, and he doesn't really enjoy DHing, so you better get used to him out there. He costs some hits and base runners, but I have yet to see him lose a game.
I'll have more in the morning, including my thoughts on Jeff Clement being sent down.