The Mariners completed a three-game sweep of the A’s to close out the season series with a 14-5 record, tying a club record for most wins against the A’s, since going 14-5 against Oakland in 2007.
Remember in 2006 when they went 2-17 against Oakland.
Of course, this year’s A’s can hardly be construed as a juggernaut, or a even a good team. And the line-up they rolled out looked an awful lot like the Sacramento River Cats opening day line-up. But manager Don Wakamatsu pointed out that this group had come into Seattle swinging hot bats of late. They scored 32 runs in a four game series against the Rangers and then 22 runs in a three game series with the Angels. But in three games against the Mariners, they managed just six runs.
“This Oakland team came in swinging it awfully effectively,” Wakamatsu said. “They had some great games against both Anaheim and Texas before this series started. So I’m awfully proud of the pitching performances to negate that – Morrow yesterday (Wednesday), Felix (Hernandez) the day before that and obviously Fister tonight.”
Fister will never be confused with Felix or Morrow in terms of stuff. While those guys throw mid to high 90s, he’s usually sitting around 89 to 90 with his fastball. And his breaking stuff isn’t nearly as explosive. But he’s shown that he can be effective at times. When he’s able to spot that fastball, and use his changeup and breaking stuff effectively, he gets hitters out. He isn’t going to blow hitters away. He’s a pitch to contact type of pitcher.
“It’s just the way it is for me,” Fister said. “Every day I have to go out there and focus on location and not worry about what the radar gun says.”
It’s what earned him the promotion from double A to triple A early in the season and the promotion from triple A to the big leagues late in the season. And it will be what keeps him in the big leagues.
“The reports coming in were always about the command,” Wakamatsu said. “It applies even more so up here. When the command is there, he has plenty of stuff to get good offenses out. He has the ability to change speeds and with his height, he gets a good angle on his pitches. In his inconsistent starts, he was trying to do too much.”
Fister admits to doing so, particularly trying to find added velocity instead of relying on hitting his spots.
“I go back and look and I hurt myself by trying to throw hard,” he said. “Coming back and focusing on location is where I need to focus.”
He’s 3-4 and had some solid games. Does it make him a darkhorse candidate for the rotation next season?
“He’s pitched some great games for his first year,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s an awfully good feeling. And we’ll take that into this winter.”
Obviously, Felix, Rowland-Smith and Morrow seem like locks for the rotation next year. Leaving Ian Snell (most likely in) and Carlos Silva, Luke French, Fister and whoever else Jack Zduriencik may bring in as possible candidates.
Let me put it to you this way: Would you rather have Doug Fister or Carlos Silva as your fifth starter next year?
Then it doesn’t seem so unlikely.
Also Adrian Beltre absolutely hammered a fastball from Brett Anderson to center for his 250th career home runs. You wonder how many more he would have in his career if he played in some place other than Safeco for the last four years. It seems highly unlikely that Beltre will return next year.
While he’s frustrated me at times with his pitch selection, I still think he’s a fabulous defensive third baseman and a solid hitter. And I think people tend to underestimate how much he contributes to a team. I bet he puts up big numbers for whatever team he signs with next season, possibly, gulp, the Los Angeles Angels.
With Scott Boras as his agent, the feeling is that Beltre may just sign a one-year free agent deal with a team and look to put up better numbers and sign a multi-year deal after that. With his injuries this year, he may have to prove to a team he can stay healthy for the bulk of the season.
Here’s a few postgame notes from the Mariners …
- Brett Anderson had his 4-game win streak snapped… allowed just 1 ER over 5.0 innings and since the All Star Break, has lasted 5.0 innings or more in every start (14), allowing 34 ER in 88.0 IP for a 3.48 ERA over the span.
- Jack Cust snapped an 0x9 streak by going 2×4 with a HR, his 3rd straight year with 25 or more home runs… despite the hitless streak, is batting .333 (13×39) with 3 HR, 8 RBI and 10 runs scored over his last 12 games.
- Daric Barton went 1×4 and over last 22 games, is batting .339 (21×62) with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR and 14 RBI.
- Seattle got their 4th sweep of the year (3rd against OAK) and finish the season series against the A’s with a 14-5 record (8-1 at Safeco Field), tying the most wins Seattle has recorded against the A’s since going 14-5 in 2007.
- Seattle enters the last homestand of the season 3 games behind the Rangers…if the Mariners can sweep Texas, they will both finish with identical 86-76 records and tied for 2nd place in the AL West.
- Ichiro has hit safely in all 13 games against Oakland that he has played this season and has a 20-game hitting streak vs. OAK, since Aug. 24, 2008 (longest of his career vs. OAK), batting .386 (34×88) with 11 runs, 4 2B, 1 3B, and 7 RBI…had a 26-game hitting streak against the Royals from April 14, 2005-April 15, 2008.
- Doug Fister snapped a 3-game losing streak, got his first win since Sept. 1 (vs. LAA) and became just the 22nd Mariners pitcher to record at least 10 starts as a rookie (last: Felix Hernandez, 12 in 2005)…game marked his 4th start of at least 7.0 innings this season, recorded 7 starts of at least 6.0 innings…at Safeco Field finished 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA (16 ER, 37.1 IP) in 6 starts, tossing at least 6.0 innings in 5 of those 6 starts.
- David Aardsma converted his 37th save of the season, tying Kazuhiro Sasaki (2x) for 3rd place on the Mariners all-time saves list…has recorded 34 saves since May 15, 4th most in the Majors.
- Adrian Beltre hit his 250th career home run… entered the game 0x7 against Brett Anderson but went 2×3 against him… 3rd straight multi-hit game vs. OAK and batting .303 (84×277) over last 68 games (since 5/21) after hitting .200 (32×160) in first 40 G.
- Jose Lopez extended his season-high hitting streak to 10 games (13×41/.317), T3rd longest streak of his career.
- Mike Sweeney extended his hitting streak to 6 games (9×23) with a 2-out, 2 RBI, bases loaded single… since Aug. 20, has hit safely in 18 of 24 games, batting .386 (32×83) with 6 2B, 4 HR and 15 RBI.
- Adam Moore has a 4-game hitting streak (5×14/.357) and has hit safely in 4 of 5 games since making ML debut on 9/17… also recorded his first career stolen base.