Bear with me today; I’ve contracted some sort of virus-y/germ thing that is putting me out of sorts. I was originally going to go over to my friend Craig’s house so we could smacktalk each other and watch the game, but my immune system has quite other ideas about where I should be spending my time. On Felix Day against Javier Vasquez, I am firmly planted on the couch in the same clothes I slept in. Glamorous.
Milton Bradley started us off today with a solo home run over the center field wall in the second inning. Franklin Gutierrez was removed from the game in the second inning and replaced by Ryan Langerhans. Langerhans took over in left field, and Michael Saunders moved over to center. Gutz was reported to be experiencing some sort of stomach pain, so hope that is short lived. Felix had a little trouble in the first inning, but seemed to find his groove by the bottom of the second. Michael Saunders not only robbed Robinson Cano of a single (or possible double) in the first, but took Javier Vasquez yard in the top of the third. The Mariners hit Vasquez pretty hard this inning, getting two men aboard, and then driving in another run with a single from Jose Lopez. Score at the end of the top of the third, 3-0 Mariners.
I’m not sure what was wrong with Vasquez today, but he and manager Joe Girardi got into what looked like a heated discussion in the dugout in the middle of the third. I don’t know much about Vasquez, but apparently he’s a 13-year veteran who has never been on the disabled list. His numbers from last year are pretty good, at least at first glance, so why he was having trouble with us today I’ll never know.
Vasquez continued to struggle in the 5th, taking a lot of time between pitches, and loading the bases by walking Jose Lopez with two outs. Ryan Langerhans was his last victim, and struck out swinging to leave all our runners unfortunately stranded. Felix, meanwhile, struck out Curtis Granderson, and Chone Figgins lost not one but two pop ups in the sky. The first one resulted in a double for Colin Curtis, the second resulted in Ichiro taking care of the catch for him. Not really sure what’s going on there – over the broadcast, the sky looked dark and blue enough that it should not have been an issue. I’m sure we’ll be getting the story on that tomorrow, if not sooner. He had just a little more trouble in the 6th on a Nick Swisher pop-up, but was able to actually put his glove on it that time.
With Figgins stealing second base in the 7th, Russell Branyan stepped up to the plate, took a look at some pitches from Vasquez, and sent the fifth one thrown to him over the center field wall. Fans in attendance booed as the two men ran around the bags for home, smiles all ’round in the dugout.
Utility Infielder Chad Gaudin* was brought in to relieve Vasquez for the last out of the 7th inning, and remained into the 8th. Rob Johnson was trying to avoid a completely failed night, and fouled a ball off the right baseline. Robinson Cano went after it and jabbed his glove out, but the ball fell just beyond his hand, bouncing into the crowd. RJ then managed to squeeze a walk out of Gaudin. Michael Saunders was the last batter – or, he would have been, if he hadn’t pulled the ball over the right field wall, jacking the score to 7-0, Mariners. This has been the first multi-home run game of Saunders’ career. May there be many more. The thing I love about Michael Saunders is that he’s so unassuming. He doesnt have a particularly imposing frame, he just looks like the guy who lives next door and works down at the docks on Harbor Island. But he can hit and he can field like a crazy person, and I love him. Long may his tenure here last.
Russell Branyan nearly made it over the wall in left field again against Gaudin in the 9th, but Colin Curtis was right at the warning track to meet the ball. Gaudin took care of our batting order, and with nobody warming up in the Mariners bullpen, Felix Hernandez put his hat on and picked up his glove as the game went to commercial. As expected, and as he’s been wont to do this year, Felix pitched his complete game. We are getting severely spoiled here. I so wish I’d been feeling well enough to go to Craig’s house – it would have made the Yankee shutout all that more satisfying.
I’m going to try and stay awake for the US Open Cup down in Portland for as long as I possibly can. Even though I’m not an active part of it, I’m keenly interested in the Portland/Seattle rivalry and the fallout that will inevitably occur next year when the Timbers go all MLS on us. The Sounders have not been doing well so far this year, so this should be an interesting game.
*Yes, I’m still on that kick. Sue me.