They say about baseball, “Don’t look at the results,” and for the most part I’m inclined to believe ’em. You can pitch a terrible baseball game, yet come out with a quality start based on luck and amazing defense. Just as you can win a baseball series while starting guys like Olivo and Figgins more often than not.
But, when you go into another team’s stadium and sweep them in three games, I think you can let yourself be satisfied – if only for a minute – with the fact that your team won (regardless of how you got there or the logic behind some of the managerial moves).
Granted, the Mariners didn’t have to face Verlander or Smyly (who are both better than the three guys we DID face), and we dodged Fister thanks to his injury, but still. That was a serious Major League lineup we were up against. And in three games, we out-scored them 21-9. Hold your opponents to a 3-runs-per-game average and you will win more series than you lose. Of course, score 7 runs per game and you get the idea.
A lot to like about this series, starting first and foremost with our bullpen. NINE shutout innings! Hot damn! In game one, the offense staked us to a nice lead, but Vargas did everything in his power to give it right back. He went six, giving up four runs, and left with a 1-run lead. The bullpen shut them down over three innings, striking out three while scattering two hits and two walks.
In game two, things weren’t nearly as dire. Felix had a 9-1 lead when he left after 7 innings, but still. Nice job not letting them back into the game those last two innings (especially considering that Cleveland botch-job from last week).
Game three was the most impressive, because we had Hector Noesi going. He sucks. That’s all there is to it. He’s a long reliever at best in a starter’s role. For now. He went five, gave up four, striking out only two, walking one, and giving up five hits (including a 2-run homer in the sixth to seal his fate). Luckily, we had guys like Furbush, Delabar, Luetge, Wilhelmsen and League there to completely dominate. Four innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts.
Of course, you can’t talk about this sweep without praising the hell out of our offense. In game one, we jumped out to an early lead and played add-on in the later innings to make the save not-so-difficult. Game two, same thing. Early lead & add-on. And this morning, we jumped all over them once again, then let the lead get away from us, but in the end we got a run in the top of the 7th thanks to a Figgins RBI double and that was enough.
Individual efforts were critical. Ichiro had six hits this series, including a double. Montero had five, with 3 RBI. Alex Liddi of all people got the start in all three games and rewarded the team with two homers among his six hits. Saunders came through in the clutch in the first couple games. And Justin Smoak woke up today with a 3-run jack.
This was nice. We needed this, as Mariners fans. And, really, the team needed this. They need to be able to do this from time to time this season to prove to us and to themselves that they’re a team on the rise. Here’s to kicking Toronto’s shit in this weekend.