Didn’t get much sleep Tuesday night (up late watching movies), so got home after yesterday’s game and completely crashed out. With today’s off-day, I figured this could wait, and would give me something to do in the gaps between classes today. It’s funny, I get so giddy at the word “sweep”, but when it’s used in conjunction with a two-game series, I can’t take it seriously. I’d rather sweep three or four games, but perhaps that’s just me being greedy. In the case of these last two games, I will take what I can get.
Yesterday’s game started out soggy, but alright. Rain has been a constant companion to the first two months of the Mariners home season. And if it hasn’t been raining, it certainly hasn’t been very warm. I’m absolutely positive I’ll complain, too, when it is. 75-80 is just peachy for me. Anything else is annoying. It being a day game, free street parking was not an option. Fortunately for my wallet, Jessica was ready to shell out, and shell out she did: $20 for a lot just down on Occidental (normally $10, but I guess they figure if you’re desperate, you’ll pay). Thankfully, outside of another Sunday or two, this is the only day game we have in our plan. A short bag check and a few hot dogs later, we were sitting on our mostly dry bench watching some members of the Tigers organization messing around on the field. Batting practice never seemed to happen – everyone who was out was mainly just playing catch or stretching.
One of those involved in playing catch was Detroit left hander Fu Te Ni. He was on the field with another teammate, messing around with a new delivery. My favorite! It appeared he was going more for form and location than for speed, but it was great fun to watch. Right below us!
There was a principal from some school who was responsible for throwing out the first pitch, and it looked like his school and several others had shown up to the game yesterday; the upper decks were teeming with children. After the On-Deck Show and National Anthem, we got down to the business of playing baseball. Again, I’m bad at taking notes during a live game, so bullet points, ahoy!
- The first 7 innings of the thing seemed to drag out endlessly. Both Jason Vargas and Jeremy Bonderman were taking their sweet time on the hill, and at one point Vargas had a balk called on him for no apparent reason that we could tell. Actually, all the pitching was slow, with the exception of David Aardsma’s relatively quick 9th inning.
- Mike Sweeney. Sweeney has started ripping the cover off the ball again, just like the second half of last season. How long will it last? Nobody knows. But he’s gone from unreliable to pretty impressive quite suddenly. I wish I could say the same for his defense – he was atrocious at first yesterday. Backing up for a catch, he actually fell over, and early in the game, he was nowhere near the bag for a play that should have been fairly routine. He got booed for both, and rightfully so. His 407-foot two-run homer in the 8th, however, well, that was just cake. Delicious victory cake.
- I had put up on Twitter that I was concerned about Ryan Rowland-Smith. He threw 11 pitches in the 6th inning, and allowed an RBI double, but for some reason while I was actually at the game, the situation seemed much worse. I’m sure part of that was the fact that we were losing at the time, so any run seems like a cause for concern. Truth be told, however, he didn’t do too badly. He struck out Brandon Inge, got Gerald Laird to line out to second, and it was Jose Lopez’s fielding error – not Hyphen’s pitching – that allowed Danny Worth to reach base. It was only Adam Everett’s double to left field that did any damage. So I take it back. RRS is fine.
- Michael Saunders. I love Michael Saunders. He needs to be a permanent fixture in left field. I really hope that the Powers That Be recognize that Milton Bradley is a far better designated hitter than a left fielder, and that batting him cleanup forever is the Right Thing To Do. I love Bradley, but he cannot cover the amount of ground that Saunders can. Being front and center for some of Saunders fielding antics has been a joy so far this year. Maybe some day I’ll actually be prepared to catch video of him.
- Josh Bard got hurt yesterday running. This is bad news. Josh Bard can hit. Rob Johnson and Adam Moore, not so much. Bard is better than either RJ or Moore at defense, and there is something slightly charming about seeing him walk across the field before games, loaded down with all his gear before he suits up in the bullpen. I haven’t seen any reports on whether he’ll be out or not, and if so, for how long. I hope it’s nothing serious. EDIT: calf strain. Not serious, but Rob Johnson will be our friend a little more frequently for a while.
Phil Coke warms up while Josh Wilson runs back to second from third. Other Tigers standing around in that uncomfortable emergency relief pitcher situation where nothing really happens, and the stadium is forced to play music while their mobile cameras take pictures of the crowd.
And of course, David Aardsma comes in for the kill:
It was the first game that we’ve come back from this year, and it was encouraging to see. I’ve actually been fairly fortunate so far this season, in that a lot of the games I’ve been physically present at have been wins. Yesterday’s game was a lot of fun to watch in person, though I lost a bad fight with a caramel apple – won’t be making that mistake again. How does one get caramel in their nose?! Also, it wound up on the front of my jacket because I was trying to carry it and three cups of hot cocoa. By the time all was said and done I had a massive sugar buzz, which explains my crashing so hard last night – was in bed by 9pm. Oops.
Rather looking forward to this weekend series in Anaheim. Maybe with these recent two victories over the second best team in the AL Central, the Ms can take on their AL rivals with a little more confidence. Really hoping to see more of this lineup, in any event.