Mariners Insider

Saunders & Iwakuma not enough against Angels

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on June 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm with 6 Comments »
June 5, 2012 10:39 pm

Against Angels rookie right-hander Garrett Richards, Michael Saunders went 3-for-3 tonight – a single, double and home run – while the rest of the Seattle Mariners managed only one hit.

By the end of Seattle’s 6-1 loss, Saunders was 3-for-4, and everyone else in the Mariners lineup was a combined 2-for-28.

“The kid was throwing 96 mph all night, he cut the ball, he made it sink and had great movement,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Then he mixed in an 89 mph slurve and late in the game showed us a changeup.

 “That kid threw one heck of a game.”

So why was Saunders so successful?

“We tried to find video on him and got a little from last year, but it wasn’t much,” Saunders said. “I watched how he pitched the guys in front of me and had an idea what to expect.

“The first at-bat, he threw all fastballs – cutters, sinkers – and after that I saw off-speed stuff, sliders and a curve, and in the last at-bat against him, he threw me a changeup.”

Saunders hit ropes with all three, and his sixth home run of the season, good for  his 20th RBI, produced Seattle’s lone run on the night.

Starter Blake Beavan gave up 10 hits, including three home runs, in five innings. With Hector Noesi starting tonight on short rest, Wedge asked Hisashi Iwakuma to save the bullpen. Iwakuma did, throwing three shutout innings.

So Richards won his first major league game and the Mariners dropped eight games under .500 at 25-33.  Tonight, they’ll have Noesi starting, a full bullpen to help him hold a lead – and hope they get the chance to hold one.

They’ll likely need more than three hits from Saunders to do so.


Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. timeout says:

    Hope Noesi has a good outing. I thought Iwakuma would get the start; he has his sinker back, and his velocity is a bit better than Beavan’s. Something is going on there that I don’t understand. Maybe it’s as simple as, they don’t feel he’s stretched out enough to start…

    Saunder’s is beginning to look like the player I’ve hoped he would be. He has the athleticism, but that doesn’t always translate to baseball ability. Now my hope is that his recent performance isn’t just a flash in the pan. His hitting on a night when others aren’t connecting is a good sign.

  2. SandlotSam says:

    Iwakuma is doing a good job battling his way back from the nether regions of the bullpen. It’s almost like they wanted to send him to Siberia, but he’s battling back.

  3. timeout says:

    As far as I know, Iwakuma never relieved in Japan. So he has been cast in a new role mid-career, and is doing respectably at it. Still needs more warmup time than the average reliever, I gather, which must have something to do with how infrequently he has pitched.

    Just another long reliever? I don’t know… He never looks intimidated out there against Pujols, etc., even though he has been touched up at times. Good pitcher’s mentality, from what I’ve seen.

  4. I’m starting to think that when FG comes back, Carp may go to Tacoma & Saunders to left; or Figgins ufa’d, Carp to the bench & Saunders to left.

  5. timeout says:

    Heard on the radio today that Carp has no options left, so Tacoma is out unless he passes through waivers.

  6. That would seem to mean bye bye Bilbo; Carp is at least cheaper!

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