Mariners Insider

Mariners 3, Angels 0 — Bill Hall and Felix Hernandez bail out the Mariners

Post by Ryan Divish on Sep. 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm with No Comments »
September 2, 2009 10:03 pm

Angels Mariners BaseballObviously, a great outing from Felix Hernandez. But was it a Cy Young type of outing?

“We got some tough games ahead of us,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “But if he pitches like he did today, he’s going to be an awfully strong candidate.”

Hernandez pitched eight shut-out innings allowing just four hits with eight strikeouts and three walks against an Angels team that came into the game leading the American League West in hitting and second in runs scored.

“I thought it was a dominating performance,”  Wakamatsu said. “It was probably one of the tougher games he’s pitched, where I’ve seen him battle.”

It was a far cry from the last time Hernandez faced the Angels in Safeco on May 19th.  On that night, he gave up 11 hits and six runs in 6 1/3 innings and having the Angels steal five bases on him. After that game Wakamatsu called him out saying: ” Felix wasn’t sharp. Sometimes you ask guys to step up, and I don’t think he stepped up today.”

But that wasn’t case on the Wednesday. Hernandez stepped up in a big way.

“That feels like a long time ago,” Hernandez said. “This was a different game today.”

It’s different in large part because Felix is a different pitcher. He’s just better, more focused, more polished, more like the pitcher he’s expected to be.

A big key to Hernandez getting the win was Bill Hall, who made a start at second base – the first time he’s played there since June of 2008. And he was solid. His first play in the first inning, he gloved a ball up the middle from Bobby Abreu and then threw him out from the seat of his pants. I am pretty confident in saying Jose Lopez doesn’t make that play. He simply doesn’t have the speed or athleticism or range that Hall does.

I thought Hall looked pretty comfortable defensively and he isn’t known for being the greatest glove.. Offensively, Hall had the RBI double to score Mike Sweeney in the seventh. And he later swiped third off of reliever Kevin Jepsen. On the attempt, Mike Napoli spiked his throw into the ground and Hall scampered home.

“Usually when those pitchers are behind in the count, they don’t want to look back at you,” Hall said. “I try to take advantage of them because I can get a nice running lead.”

Stealing third can be a dicey proposition since a runner is already in scoring position, but Wakamatsu was pleased with the effort.

“We talked aboAngels Mariners Baseballut pressurizing situations,” Wakamatsu said. “I’d like some guys to steal more bases. But he steals that bag pretty easy. I like aggressive baseball. You look at how we manufactured runs and you need to do that against a ball club like this.”

Before the game, Wak said that Hall is turning into that “super-utility guy” for the Mariners. Which is a nice compliment but not exactly what Hall wants to hear.

“Nobody ever wants to be labeled a utility player, because utility players don’t play every day,” he said. “I feel like I can move around, but I want to be in the line-up every day.”

Basically this month will be his chance to show the Mariners or another team he is capable of that. He knows people have their doubts.

“I feel like I got a lot to prove this year especially the way things ended in my last couple years in Milwaukee,” he said. “I don’t want to be forgotten about.”

He’s know it’s up to him.

“I just want to find a way to be in the lineup every day,” he said. “I don’t mind where I play. I just feel like I’m a ball player – Bill Hall, the ballplayer. Just put me in the lineup, and I’ll try to do something, defensively or offensively or both, to help this team win.”

Kind of like he did on Wednesday.

Mariners Game Recap
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ANGELS NOTES:

  • Making his Angels debut, Scott Kazmir got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 1st inning, retiring the next 18 consecutive batters he faced…Kazmir struck out 8 and has K’d 18 batters in his last 2 starts…was his 10th quality start in 21 appearances and 7th time he’s allowed 1 earned run or less in a start this season.
  • The Angels are now 5-9 over their last 14 games following a 5-game winning streak.
  • Chone Figgins went 2×3 with a walk…now has 7 multi-hit games in his last 10 games…has now been caught stealing in his last 3 attempts after being successful in 8 of his previous 9…Figgins has been caught in 3 of his last 5 attempts in Seattle and 15 total times this season, 1st in the American League and 2nd in the Majors…remains 3rd in the AL with 39 stolen bases, 1 shy of reaching 40 SB for the 4th time in 5 seasons.
  • Kendry Morales went 1×4…has now hit safely in 21 of last 25 games, batting .386 (39×101) during the span…is a career .400 (10×25) hitter vs. Felix Hernandez.
  • Mike Napoli ended an 0-16 skid with a single in his 1st at-bat, going 1×3 for the day.

MARINERS NOTES:

  • Felix Hernandez earned his first win against the Angels since April 11, 2008…8.0 innings marks his longest outing against the Angels since Aug. 1, 2007…ranks 1st in the American League in quality starts with 23…needs to pitch 7.1 innings to tie his career-high innings pitched of 200.1 in 2008…has struck out a career-high 185 this season…was his 8th start of the season with at least 8.0 innings pitched, the rest of the team has combined for 5.
  • The Mariners have won 4 of the 5 series against the Angels this season…marks the first time the Mariners have had a winning record at home against the Angels since 2003 when Seattle went 6-4.
  • The Mariners have a club record and American League leading 21 wins this season when scoring 3 or fewer runs.
  • The Mariners have now gone 10 straight games without committing an error, the longest errorless streak since 10 consecutive games on June 2-13, 2004.
  • Ichiro Suzuki went 2×4 with his Major League leading 52nd and 53rd infield hits…is now 12 hits away from his 9th consecutive 200 hit season and 7 short of 2,000 for his MLB career…if he reaches 200 hits this year, it will break the all-time record currently held by Willie Keeler (1894-1901).
  • Ichiro is batting .444 (68×153) in day games this season, 1st in the Major Leagues…also ranks 2nd in the ML and 1st in the AL in day game hits (68) and on-base percentage.
  • Franklin Gutierrez went 2×4 and has hits in 48 of last 65 games, batting .315 (76×241) during the span dating back to June 23…has multi-hit games in 23 of last 60.
  • Bill Hall went 1×4 with an RBI double…stole 2nd and scored on a throwing error by catcher Mike Napoli…was his 1st stolen base as a Mariner…he now has 4 doubles and 6 RBI in his 11 games with the Mariners.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • Tomorrow’s away game vs. Oakland will be broadcast on 770 AM and 100.7 FM due to a conflict with ESPN 710.
  • The start time for the Mariners vs. Yankees game at Safeco Field on Saturday, September 19 has been changed from 6:10 to 7:10 pm.
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