Well, that was incredible, and I’m really not sure how this post is going to turn out as I’m in a very strange state of mind right now. I’ll start with the negatives, I suppose. Rob Johnson really needs to start catching the ball. Yeah, I understand that he’s Felix’s personal catcher and that he’s going to get a significant amount of playing time – I’ve learned to live with that. I also understand that he hasn’t been too bad offensively so far this season – not that I think he’s going to keep it up, but hey, it’s there. However, he can’t just keep dropping everything. Not only did he almost cost us the game tonight but dropping a very catchable (although not very good) throw from Chone Figgins, but he also had a ton of trouble with several of Felix’s pitching. I don’t know if there’s a coach that can help him with this or what, but something really need’s to be done.
Secondly, I know it turned out well, but Don Wakamatsu should not have pinch hit Griffey for Chone Figgins. Not only is Figgins a better hitter, but Griffey is a huge double play risk, hitting in a situation in which a double play would have ended the game. It’s easy to say, “hey it worked out so who cares?”, but it isn’t going to work every time, and Jack Zduriencik may need to have a little talk with him about some of the decisions he’s making early on.
The only other negative I can think of would have to be the offense through the first 8 innings, and really, what else is there to say? Yeah, the offense doesn’t look very good right now, but we’ve been over that. We’re 6 games in, they aren’t going to stay this bad. It just isn’t possible.
Alright, now onto the good stuff. Felix looked excellent today. He was getting ahead of everyone, he was hitting his spots, and his curveball looked absolutely nasty. The only real mistakes he made were the Josh Hamilton triple (which was severely misplayed by Milton Bradley), the Nelson Cruz long ball, and a few pitches to Joaquin Arias. I know it’s cliche, but he really looked like he was in mid-season form out there today.
Franklin Gutierrez is absolutely incredible. I have never enjoyed watching a player anywhere near as much as I enjoy watching this man. He’s the only guy on this team that’s gotten off to a good offensive start, he’s getting the hits when we need them, and his defense remains just unbelievable. There’s a pretty good chance that he stole a game tying home run from Elvis Andrus in that ninth inning, and at least a double. Please don’t ever leave us Guti.
All in all, this is just a fantastic day, because the Mariners absolutely needed this win. Yes, I’m aware that it’s still very early in the season, but in baseball, things tend to snowball in a hurry, and I just don’t think this team could have afforded to go 1-5 to start the season. You also have to figure that this type of a win gives some much needed confidence to the offense – they’ve been struggling like no other in this first week, but they showed that they still have the ability to put up a fight. Milton Bradley still probably isn’t feeling too great, but much like the fans that have already started to panic, he needs to calm himself down, avoid pressing, and realize that he’s a good hitter who’s inevitably going to figure it out.
Rubber match tomorrow, folks, and at least now we can go into it without feeling like it’s absolutely imperative to get a win.