Mariners Insider

Game 148: Felix vs. the Evil Empire

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Sep. 18, 2009 at 7:08 pm with 11 Comments »
September 18, 2009 9:44 pm

Of all the teams that have pounded the Seattle Mariners over the years, few have pounded as long and hard as the New York Yankees.

The Yanks are 5-2 vs. the Mariners this season, 196-155 all-time – and 29-19 in Safeco Field.

Felix Hernandez hasn’t been able to slow them down. In his career, he’s 1-3 with a gawdy 5.92 earned run average against New York.

Tonight, Felix faces New York in a game that may be the only time some Cy Young Award voters on the East Coast see him. For some of those writers, what happens in baseball begins and ends with the Yankees – and a victory tonight would go a long way toward legitimizing his candidacy.

Fair? Of course not. But the world isn’t.

It’s Felix vs. A.J. Burnett.

Cy Who?

Derek Jeter blooped a hit into center field, Johnny Damon bounced a ball into the right field seats for a double and the Yankees didn’t seem to care who was pitching against them.

Felix, however, got Mark Teixeira on a ground ball to first – the runners holding – and got Alex Rodriguez on a fly ball that scored Jeter.

With a runner on second, Hideki Matsui grounded out, and Mr. Hernandez had limited the damage to a run.

In the first: Yankees 1, Mariners 0

One run won’t be enough

Felix has settled in nicely, and the Mariners rallied in the third to get him even – although they could easily have taken the lead.

Ichiro singled for the second time, but was caught stealing when Burnett threw quickly to first base.

Franklin Gutierrez then doubled and Jose Lopez singled, picking up his career-high 90th RBI. Ken Griffey Jr. drew his second walk of the night, but the rally died there.

After three: Mariners 1, Yankees 1

That man Damon

New York has four hits – and Johnny Damon has three of them, including a double to open the sixth inning.

Catcher Rob Johnson was charged with a passed ball, sending Damon to third and Teixeira hit a fly ball plenty deep enough to score him.

Small mistakes – a passed ball, getting picked off first leading off an inning – can be the difference between winning and losing against playoff teams. An unearned run tonight is the difference so far.

In the sixth: Yankees 2, Mariners 1

More trouble for Felix

Nick Swisher dropped a pop fly double into left field to open the seventh, instantly creating a Yankee threat.

Hernandez struck out Robinson Cano – then wild-pitched Swisher to third while walking Melky Cabrera.

Felix got out of it by getting a ground ball double play from Jose Molina.

In the seventh: Yankees 2, Mariners 1

Another Seattle mistake

One-run game, Ichiro on first base after his third hit and -for the second time tonight – he leans too far off the bag and is picked off by Burnett.

To paraprhase Jerry Seinfeld: “Getting on base isn’t the most important thing – staying on base is the most important thing.”

After seven: Yankees 2, Mariners 1

Ichiro magic!

Two outs, ninth inning, no one on.

Against Mariano Rivera, pinch hitter Mike Sweeney doubles – and Ichiro follows with a two-run home run.

That’s a final, folks: Mariners 3, Yankees 2

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. xarmyguy78 says:

    Why is Bill Hall playing LF if he can’t even run down simple fly balls?

  2. Larry Larue says:

    Hall is in the game primarily for his offense, but if you mean Swisher’s pop fly double, it wasn’t a simple play.

  3. dave8557 says:

    This is exactly why you let your starter go the distance, especially your #1 starter. Makes for a much more exciting game.

    On the flip side, too bad AJ Burnett didn’t stay in. What a great pitching duel it could have been. Nice job Joe Girardi, keep overusing Mariano.

  4. Re-sign Griffey for another year. I don’t care if he hits a buck ninety. This team is too much fun with him around. Half this game is ninety percent mental and the difference he makes in that regard is everything.

  5. That’s why I keep saying I’d love to see him coach.

  6. Larry, I couldn’t watch the game, but it sounds as though there was some question about one of the Ichiro pickoffs. Any comment?

  7. xarmyguy78 says:

    I have to disagree with you Larry, If Hall wasn’t playing hurt that fly ball by Swisher in the 7th was a routine play

  8. Moo, I’d take him as coach too, but I do think that changes the dynamic a bit. No ice-cream face pies if he’s a coach – I think the position requires more decorum than that. I know it’s a tough decision and could be made tougher if Junior decides he has another year in him. If that’s the decision he presents you with, I’d go ahead and sign him. He IS that valuable as a clubhouse asset. Also, not sure Ken even wants to be a coach.

  9. I understand your opinion, dave, but I don’t understand its relevance in this particular thread, since Felix went 9…unless you’re making a comment on Mo Rivera.

  10. This game, coupled with Justin Verlander’s meltdown Saturday afternoon against the Twins makes it pretty much Felix against Greinke for the Cy Young. Next year as we are heading into the playoffs on this date, remember this game as a major turning point for this team.

  11. I saw the last inning in Fox’s replay. Obviously one difference between this & last year: This team likes each other. The only person who looked serious after Ichiro’s walk off was Felix, & Ichiro was grinning ear to ear. Did we EVER see that in 2008?

    Scary thing is knowing Ichiro he decided to go for an HR & succeeded.

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