Well, manager Don Wakamatsu will have some tough decisions to make over the next nine days. With Cliff Lee scheduled to return to the rotation for the April 30-May 2nd series against the Rangers, it means someone will have to be kicked out of the rotation.
- Tonight's winner Jason Vargas, who pitched 7 innings, allowed one run on three hits, struck out five and walked just two.
- Doug Fister, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of last nights game and also finished with 7 innings pitched, one run on three hits, with three strikeouts and one walk.
- Ian Snell, who has struggled a little bit with his command and consistency, but also has had some personal issues to deal with. But Snell has the best stuff of the three and he's also had to make starts against the Tigers and Rangers, in comparison to the A's and Orioles for the other two pitchers.
Who gets the boot?
There a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, not just the record or ERA or the early performances. Upcoming match-ups against certain teams, how the rotation slots out are also concerns and what to do with the ousted pitcher (roster moves, Triple-A option availability) will all be taken into consideration.
I'm guessing it will come down to Vargas or Fister. But I've been wrong before.
“All we care about is getting guys better,” Wakamatsu said. “We’ll make that decision as we go forward.”
Vargas didn't have much to say about the numbers game with Lee returning.
“That’s not something the pitching staff is really concerned with,” Vargas said. “We’re excited for (Lee) to be healthy and he’s going to bring a lot to this team.”
But has he done enough to stay in the rotation with this outstanding start and decent outings in the other two?
“That’s not up to me,” he said. “I don’t really have an answer for that. I’m going to throw a bullpen in a few days and we’ll go from there.”
Vargas didn't completely dominate. He had a shaky first inning, giving up a run. And he also gave up lead-off doubles in the second and sixth innings. But he pitched out of them.
"You watch his body language and he doesn't get really rattled," Wakamatsu said.
How? Was it his new pitch, the cut fastball? No, he only used that a handful of times. Actually it was just solid fastball location and his changeup. He relied on both heavily.
"His ability to locate his fastball and his ability to change speeds was the key," Wakamatsu said. "His changeup can be a pretty devastating pitch."
Down 1-0 after the top of the 1st, the Mariners rallied immediately, scoring two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Ichiro led off with a single, Chone Figgins walked and both moved up on a horrible wild pitch from O's starter David Hernandez. Franklin Gutierrez hit a sac fly to score Ichiro. And later in the inning, Jose Lopez scored on Milton Bradley's single.
The Mariners also got a huge insurance run in the seventh as Adam Moore doubled to left-center to lead-0ff the inning. He really needed that hit, coming into the game with an .091 average. His 1-for-3 night at least got him to .120.
“I forgot what those white things were out on the field,” Moore joked.
Moore scored moments later as Jack Wilson doubled down the left field line to push the lead to 3-1.
One quick note: Milton Bradley's got a slight left calf strain. Wak will sit him on Wednesday and with the off day, he figures Bradley should be ready for the White Sox on Friday. I wonder if he'll be ready for the Chicago media. The Cubs beat writers might not be there, but you can bet TV, radio and columnists will be there waiting for his return trip to the Windy City.
A few brief thoughts ...
- Dave Trembley might not make it through the week as the Orioles manager. Some of the guys in the postgame press meeting tonight, said he talked like a man than knows he's going to be fired.
- Adam Jones is trying to hack his way out of his early batting slump. I think he saw about 12 pitches total in four at-bats. While he's not been a high walks guy, I know he's a better and more patient hitter than what he's shown.
- Watch Adam Moore's front foot. That's been the issue with his struggles lately. He hasn't been getting his front foot down and it's messing up the timing in the swing and making him late on fastballs.
- Jose Lopez should be treating Casey Kotchman to an expensive meal at least once a week. Kotchman might not have been able to handle one of the short hop throws from Lopez, but he makes a sub-par throws from Lopez look like easy throws to catch.
- If I had to pick from Snell, Vargas or Fister to be the odd man out right now? I'm still debating. Give me about six days.
- David Hernandez retired 10 straight after allowing 4 of first 5 batters to reach base…has allowed 4 of his 9 ER this season in the 1st inning (44%)... tossed a season-high 6.1 innings in his second quality start of the year…dating back to Aug. 17, 2009 he has lost 9 straight decisions, during the losing streak he has a 6.79 ERA (45 ER, 59.2 IP) in 12 starts…in 3 starts against Seattle, all at Safeco, he is now 0-2, 5.09 ERA (10 ER, 17.2 IP)
- Baltimore lost for the 11th time in the last 12 games, and have lost each of their 5 series this season.
- Set a season-low in hits for the 2nd straight night with 4 hits…previous low was 5 from Monday’s game…haven’t managed more than 3 hits against a Mariner’s starter this series…3 of 4 hits were doubles.
- Starter Jason Vargas tossed a season-high 7.0 innings…was his 2nd consecutive quality start…retired 19 of 23 batters faced after giving up a run in the 1st inning…in his career at Safeco Field he is now 4-1, 2.60 ERA (15 ER, 52.0 IP) in 12 appearances including 8 starts…has allowed 2 earned runs or less in 7 of those starts and 1 or less in 6 starts…in four career starts against Baltimore he is now 1-1, 2.35 ERA (6 ER, 23.0 IP).
- In the last 7 games, Mariners starting pitchers have allowed only 10 ER in 45.2 IP (1.97 ERA).
- David Aardsma tossed a scoreless ninth inning to record his 16th consecutive save (dating back to 8/24/09)…has a 0.56 ERA (1 ER, 16.0 IP) with 3 walks and 18 strikeouts in 16 save opportunities.
- Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 6 games with a single in the 6th…went 1x3 on the night with a sacrifice fly…hitting .545 (12x22) during the streak…24 hits on the season.
- Jack Wilson had his 3rd double in 2 games with an RBI extra base hit scored in the 7th inning…has 4 doubles on the season…has a 4-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .462 (6x13).
- Ichiro and Chone Figgins have reached base in back-to-back at-bats 6 times during this homestand…both reached in the 1st inning, leading to a Franklin Gutierrez sacrifice fly RBI (10) that scored Ichiro.
- Milton Bradley went 1x1 before leaving in the 2nd inning with a tight left calf …His 1st inning RBI single gave him 8 RBI for the homestand and 10 RBI on the season…other Bradley offensive notes from the homestand include 4 R, 2 2B, HR and 3 BB.
- Ichiro recorded his 7th multi- hit game of the season, including 5 of the last 6 games and 3 straight…finished the night 2x4 with 2 singles and a run scored.
- Chone Figgins is hitless in 5 straight after a 0x3 night…last hit came against Oakland on 4/14…has drawn 6 walks during that stretch and scored 4 runs…3rd longest hitless streak of his career…longest drought was 7 games while with the Los Angeles Angels from 9/23/07-9/30/07.