Not exactly a stellar showing by the Mariners pitching staff tonight. They walked 10 hitters and of those 10, six of them scored runs.
The oft-used cliche is "there's no defense for a walk." But cliche holds some level of truth. And manager Don Wakamatsu wasn't above using the cliche after the game.
""You cannot defense walks," Wakamatsu said. "You talk about playing fundamental baseball and that's a key one. You have to make them put the ball in play."
The free passes started with starter Ian Snell, who walked the first batter he faced - Jason Bartlett - on four pitches. From there things only got worse. Snell walked four hitters in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded.
To be fair, I thought Snell looked a little tight in the first inning. He was making his home debut for his new team and he wanted to have a good outing. Instead it worked in the other way.
"To be honest I was a little nervous, a littler jittery, probably a little too excited and the adrenaline was rushing to much. That caused me to keep the ball up in the zone," Snell told the AP. "I dug us a hole that we couldn't get out of."
Wakamatsu thought Snell needed to adjust in the first inning.
"He was trying to force a pitch he didn't have," Wakamatsu said of Snell's fastball "I think the first inning was 35 fastballs or so out of the 42 he threw. It's recognizing when you might need to got to another pitch."
Pitch FX had Snell at 41 pitches, and look at the location of the fastball from the Pitch FX tool from Baseball by Brooks
Snell didn't make it out of the second, getting an out, then giving up a walk, a double, another walk.
"I think this kid has got tremendous stuff, but you have to be able to throw the ball over the plate," Wakamatsu said.
Snell made it just 1 1/3 innings allowing three runs on two hits but walked six batters.
Snell has always has stuff, but harnessing it has been a concern. If you look at his walks per nine innings during his past seasons, they are a little on the high side. Wakamatsu is looking to his staff to do for Snell what they did for Jarrod Washburn and others.
"I believe in Rick Adair and John Wetteland, our pitching coaches," Wakamatsu said. "It might take a little bit of time. The thing you can't always deal with is a pitcher that doesn't have quality stuff."
Still, the Mariners did rally and tie the game as Franklin Gutierrez hit his 13th homer of the season and a two-run shot, and Michael Saunders coaxed James Shields to throw a pick off away to score a run.
Chris Jakubauskas did a pretty solid job in long relief, but his second time through the line-up Evan Longoria hit a solo homer to center. Jakubauskas then walked Ben Zobrist on four pitches and served up a two-run homer to Carlos Pena.
"The mistake he made was that after he gave up the home run not settling down and walked the next guy on four pitches," Wakamatsu said. "That's immaturity a little bit."
But Wakamatsu thought the first two innings of work by Jakubauskas were "two of the best" he's thrown in a long time. And Jak kept the Mariner in the game.
Even at 6-3 it was workable. The Mariners probably had a chance to tie it up in the sixth. Gutierrez led off with a double and later scored on Saunders RBI double to right. The Mariners had runners on second and third with one out, but Ichiro and Russell Branyan each grounded out weakly to end the inning.
"I thought that was a critical point in the ball game," Wakamatsu said. "The sixth inning was where this game was lost."
The Mariners first four hitters - Ichiro, Branyan, Jose Lopez and Ken Griffey Jr. - combined to go 0-for-16 with two walks and four strikeouts in the game. Of M's eight hits, Saunder and Gutierrez accounted for six with three each.
Gutierrez was a triple away from the cycle and Saunders seems to be gaining confidence with each game. Wakamatsu lauded how he grinded out at-bats and worked the counts.
Even at 6-4, the Mariners could have done some things, but it got out of hand as Olson walked two hitters to start the seventh and a bloop, a broken bat single and another hit got his replacement Sean White in some trouble. Tampa pushed the lead to 10-4.
One positive is that Doug Fister made his debut. He did walk a guy, but struck out Gregg Zaun on a nice curveball. It was basically a throw day for him and he's still the likely starter on Tuesday. He even got a bit of a soft landing to help him out.
&bull Despite failing to last 6.0 innings for just the 5th time this season, James Shields snapped an 8-game winless streak, recording his 1st victory since June 20th @NYM and had one of his higher strikeout totals (6) of the season, tied for 3rd-highest strikeout total of season and 6th time he has fanned 6 or more… allowed 3 earned runs and came up just 2 outs short of taking the team lead in quality starts (14 with Matt Garza).
&bull Evan Longoria clubbed his 24th home run of the season…has 8 HR in his last 24 games after previously going 18 games without.
&bull Carlos Peña is tied for 1st in AL with 28 home runs (Mark Teixeira, Justin Morneau) after smacking a 2-run home run in the 5th.
&bull Carl Crawford went 1x4 with a double and now has a 5-game hitting streak (.346/9x26).
&bull Tampa Bay batters were walked a season-high 10 times.
&bull Seattle pitching allowed a season-high 10 walks (previous: 9, May 10 @ MIN) while giving up 10 runs, the 4th time allowing 10 or more runs in their last 8 home games.
&bull In his Safeco Field debut, Ian Snell lasted just 1.1 innings, walking 6 batters (T-2nd most in his career).
&bull Ichiro had his 22 game home hitting streak snapped… the streak is tied-2nd in club history (with Alvin Davis, Harold Reynolds leads with 25) and the longest in Safeco Field history… during the streak Ichiro batted .460 (46x100) with 16 runs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, and 9 RBI… was also the first time in 6 consecutive games that Ichiro failed to record a multi-hit game.
&bull Franklin Gutierrez put Seattle on the scoreboard with a 2-run home run in the 2nd… his 13th HR of the year, ties his single-season career-high (2007)… finished just a triple shy of the Cycle… his 30th multi-hit game… in 38 games since June 23rd, he has 16 multi-hit games, batting .356 (53x149).
&bull Rob Johnson extended his hitting streak to a season-high tying 6 games (9x23/.391)… has hits in 15 of last 18 games (19x62/.306) to raise his season average from .195 to .xxx
&bull Ken Griffey Jr. went hitless but after his 81st career game at Safeco Field (equal to a full home season) he is batting .281 (78x278) with 23 home runs and 53 RBI.
&bull Michael Saunders is batting .429 (9x21) in August… went 3x4 with a double and RBI… his 4th multi-hit game and 2nd 3-hit game since making his ML debut on July 25.
&bull Adrian Beltre doubled in 2nd, and scored on Gutierrez HR…his 1st extra base hit since coming off DL Aug. 4th. (last: 6/25 vs. SD).
&bull Doug Fister made his ML debut in the 9th inning, holding the Rays scoreless while giving up a hit and BB… is the 4th Mariner to make his ML debut this season (Mike Carp, Shawn Kelley, Michael Saunders).
In the seventh, Garrett Olson reverted to his old form walking the first two hitters and his replacement Sean White