Monday, July 12, 2010

MARINERS: NYY Weekend Series Review

By: Nathan Parsons

From July 8 – 11 the Mariners faced arguably the best team in baseball, the New York Yankees. During the series, though, there was some drama between these two teams regarding Cliff Lee and trade possibilities. Since the deal fell through, the Yanks made it evident that they were frustrated by not landing the potential 2010 Cy Young winner.

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Last Friday morning, it was almost a done deal. The Yankees would receive the dazzling Cliff Lee, and the Mariners would receive the best prospect in the Yankees system, Jesus Montero, and a couple additional guys. But literally minutes before Jack Zduriencik was to sign on the dotted line, the Rangers swooped in and offered THEIR best prospect, first baseman Justin Smoak for Cliff Lee. That was an offer the M’s couldn’t resist and left New York in the dust to complete the Smoak trade.

Before the trade drama even started, there was Game 1 on Thursday evening. Even though the Mariners were facing Andy Pettitte, the M’s held their ground and took a 1 – 0 lead in the bottom of the 6th thanks to a sac bunt by Ichiro, who actually reached 2nd base thanks to a throwing error by Pettitte. But the Bronx Bombers countered with a RBI groundout in the 8th inning and it looked like that we could be going extra innings. In the top of the 9th though, David Aardsma took the mound and choked for the 6th time this year, giving up two runs thanks to a walk to Derek Jeter, a double to Nick Swisher, and a 2 RBI double to A-Rod. Yankees win 3-1.

In Game 2, the game Cliff Lee was supposed to start but didn’t, thanks to the trade with the Rangers. So instead of Lee, Dave Pauley took the mound for the Mariners and had a decent night, pitching 5 innings and only giving up 1 Earned run. But unfortunately, thanks to a Mariner error and some bad pitching by Rick Cordero, the M’s eventually lost this one 6-1.

Game 3 was the one game in this series I actually thought we had a realistic chance of winning because Felix was on the mound. And I was right; He did not disappoint. Felix went all 9 innings, earned 9 strikeouts, and the only run he gave up was a solo home run. Amazing! Thanks to an emotional grand slam by Jose Lopez in the bottom of the 8th, the Mariners won 4-2.

Game 4, maybe one of the poorest games I have ever seen by the Mariners. With Ryan Rowland-Smith on the mound, I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty. He went a measly 4 innings, giving up 4 earned runs (6 total runs given errors by Lopez and Figgins), and only 1 strikeout. We just looked sloppy.

So what did we learn from this series? (1) We need to send Rowland-Smith back on a boat to Austrailia. (2) Felix has the Yankee’s number (1 ER in 2 complete games in his last two starts against NYY). (3) We need another bullpen man (Aardsma was fool’s gold last year, 6 blown saves already this year, which is two more than all of 2009).

To sum this series up, it really was the season in a nutshell: Great pitching by Vargas and Hernandez; blown leads; minimal hitting; and hugs all around by Mariner players in the dugout.

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