UPDATE: Here’s the free t-shirt that the first 20,000 fans will get tomorrow. It was designed by Ichiro.
Well, it’s Merry Cliffmas for Mariners fans as Cliff Lee makes his first start in a Seattle uniform. Nice sized crowd tonight, I don’t know how much it has to do with the Lee debut, the weekend night or Felix bobblehead night. People were lined up at 1 p.m. when I drove by. That’s a little bit much for a doll.
Well Cliff Lee doesn’t disappoint in his Mariners debut. First of all he has “Run this Town” by Jay Z playing while he’s warming up (not sure if that’s his choice), but then he strikes out Elvis Andrus looking, gets Mariner killer Michael Young to ground out to second and then throws a nasty curveball to Josh Hamilton to strike him out.
Ichiro leads off with a “hit.” He handcuffed Elvis Andrus on a low liner. Andrus made the play – because he is that good with the glove – but then airmailed the throw in the photographer well by the dugout. If that throw is there, Ichiro is out by 10 steps. But they ruled it a hit, with an error for the extra base. Well that’s what you get when you play at home.
Of course, the Mariners don’t get him in. Figgins pops up to short, Gutierrez hits a decent ball to right and Lopez grounds out to third.
Cliff Lee continues to impress, he gets another 1-2-3 inning, but the Rangers didn’t make it easy as Ryan Garko, who was a Mariner for about 11 minutes, fouled off several pitches. The sequence prompted Kirby Arnold of the Everrett Herald, who was sitting to my right to say … “Ryan Garko just made more contact in one at-bat than he did all of spring training.”
Anyway Garko struck out to end the inning.
The Mariners get a few base runners in the second, even first and second with two outs, but Jack Wilson popped up to end the inning.
Another 1-2-3 inning for Lee, but the Rangers have fouled off so many pitches, he’s at 50 pitches. Wakamatsu said he was on 90-100 pitch limit.
Ichiro leads off with a legit single, but he gets nowhere as Figgins and Gutierrez both fly out and Lopez hits into a fielders choice.
Cliff Lee finally gives up a hit, and no he wasn’t jinxed by Dave Sims or anyone else. Jinx can’t be called until at least the sixth or seventh.
Apparently Colby Lewis is channeling his inner Cy Young, or the Mariners offense is just that bad. That’s three up, three down three strikeouts in the inning for Lewis.
Lee gives up a single to Ian Kinsler, but gets out of it by getting Garko to pop up to Jack Wilson, who makes a tough over the shoulder catch look pretty routine. Justin Smoak then hits a liner to second that Figgins catches and tosses to first to double off Kinsler.
The Mariners go 1-2-3 again.
Lee gives up a two-out single to Elvis Andrus but then strikes out Michael Young on a nasty curve ball.
Colby Lewis continues his domination of the M’s, getting Figgins to ground out and then striking out Gutierrez and Lopez.
Cliff Lee is making a lot of friends tonight, retiring the side 1-2-3 including a strikeout of Ian Kinsler.
He’s at 98 pitches, and appears done with Mark Lowe warming in the bullpen.
The Mariners get jobbed a little with a horrible call by home plate ump Jim Wolf on a play at first. CAtcher Matt Treanor made a bad throw to first on Casey Kotchman’s swinging bunt, but Wolf ruled that Kotchman interfered with the throw by running on the inside of the base line. However, Kotchman never really affected the play. First baseman Justin Smoak pulled his glove away trying to avoid contact with Kotchman well before the throw was even there.
Just awful. Manager Don Wakamatsu came and argued to no avail.
Mark Lowe gives up a walk , but gets out of the inning unscathed.
The Mariners go 1-2-3 yet again.