Saturday, April 9, 2011
Indians crush Mariners 12-3 in home opener!
The Cleveland Indians(5-2) ruin their former manager Eric Wedge's home debut with his new ball club the Seattle Mariners by destroying them early. The Indians put the Mariners away with a 10 run fourth inning to defeat them 12-3. On a day where the Mariners honored legendary announcer Dave Niehaus who passed away this offseason the team put up a performance that Niehaus was used to from the 1980's. The Mariners will never be able to replace the voice of Niehaus but must find a way to snap this five game losing streak. The Mariners still aren't hitting which is putting too much pressure on the starting pitcher. When the starting pitcher has an off night the game is essentially over since the team has scored just 24 runs in seven games and just 13 in the last five games.
Before the game had begun the Mariners honored Dave Niehaus when rapper Macklemore rapped a tribute song for Niehaus. Then there was a plaque for Niehaus above the announcers booth forever that read "Niehaus 1977-2010". The Mariners also presented gold gloves to Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro. Ichiro was presented with an award from Edgar Martinez for breaking Martinez Mariners hit record. The Mariners then presented Felix Hernandez his Cy Young award. Then the game began and it was all down hill. The second batter of the game and former Mariners product Asdrubal Cabrera took Jason Vargas deep to left field for a home run to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. In the bottom half of the inning Ichiro led the inning off with a hit but was quickly cancelled out when Chone Figgins lined into a double play. Vargas would put up zero's the next two innings but then the fourth inning happened.
In the fourth inning the game quickly got away from Jason Vargas. The inning began with a simple single by Shin-Soo Choo and moved to third on a Carlos Santana base hit. The Indians then scored on a Travis Hafner single to shallow center field scoring Choo and moving Santana to second base to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. Orlando Cabrera then got a base hit scoring Santana giving the Indians a 3-0 lead. Austin Kearns then finally got an extra base hit ripping a double scoring Hafner and giving the Indians a 4-0 lead. Then the Mariners got their first out of the inning when Matt LaPorta hit a sac fly scoring Cabrera giving the Indians a 5-0 lead. Former Mariner Jack Hannahan recorded a base hit scoring Kearns giving the Indians a 6-0 lead and ending Jason Vargas night after just 3 1/3 innings pitched. Wedge brought in Tom Wilhelmsen who turned a blowout into a disaster. After allowing another base hit Wilhelmsen struck out Asdrubal Cabrera for the second out. Santana then got an RBI base hit scoring two guys to give the Indians an 8-0 lead. To cap the inning Hafner hit a three run home run to give the Indians an 11-0 lead and scoring 10 runs in the inning. Most of the Seattle crowd had left at that point in the game.
The Mariners at one point trailed in this game 12-0 but would score three meaningless runs throughout the game. Ichiro drove in two of the runs to pad his stats. Overall this was a disasterous game for the Mariners as they have now lost five games in a row. Despite being 2-5 this was the first poorly pitched game by the Mariners. The Mariners just can't get any consistent offense going. They have scored just 13 runs the last five games(2.6 per game) which is putting too much pressure on the pitching staff. The Mariners look no better than the team who lost 101 games last season. The team will have to start scoring some runs or fans will lose interest by May.
All in all, this is going to be a long rebuilding season for the Mariners. The Mariners roster right now most likely will be totally different than in June. The team lacks hitting and unfortunately other than Dustin Ackley there is no hope on the horizon for this team. The Mariners have to stay patient with Eric Wedge unlike previous managers. This team simply isn't good and wasn't good last year. The Mariners when they make the youth movement at least will be sort of exciting. Until then you have to just grit your teeth and ride through the pain. The Mariners on a day they honored Dave Niehaus put up a pathetic performance. This wasn't the proper way to say thanks to our hall of fame announcer.
- Jason Vargas struggled pretty bad after such a great start against Oakland. Vargas wasn't hit hard just gave up base hit after base hit. Vargas finished the game pitching 3 1/3 innings allowing nine hits, seven earned runs and just one strikeout. Vargas on most teams would be your fourth or fifth starter. In reality he is the Mariners fourth best starter. Most games Vargas won't be the problem and is proof that signing guys like Jarrod Washburn to big money is stupid. You can always find effective fourth and fifth starters at Safeco Field.
- The hitting was led by Ichiro who went 2-5 with two RBI's. The team is struggling is an understatement. The Mariners had four guys in the lineup yesterday hitting .200 or worst. Figgins(.100), Brendan Ryan(.167), Ryan Langerhans(.154) and Jack Cust(.200). The Mariners only .300 hitter is Adam Kennedy who is hitting exactly .300 on 3-10 for the season. The hitting has just been horrible this season with only two home runs so far this year. The team is going to struggle scoring runs all season long and will challenge last year's team for worst offense in franchise history.
- Wedge is in for a long season. I like what he is doing so far with the Jack Wilson situation. For those who don't know Jack Wilson after committing two errors in Wednesday's loss to the Texas Rangers asked out of the ball game. Wedge called the move unthinkable and is benching Wilson in response. Good chance Wilson may have played his last game for the Mariners.
I also like how Wedge isn't afraid to call out his team. His quote speaks volumes to the entire team "I don't care if you make 18 million or $450,000 you have a job to do. That job is to always play hard no matter. Some guys think because they are making a lot of money they can get away with that well they are in for a rude awakening". I love that Wedge isn't afraid of this team and is standing up for himself. Wedge might not be the guy but at least he is showing some fire and ruffling the feathers on this team.
Overall, this was a disappointing way to open the 2011 season in Safeco Field. This was supposed to be a great day as we saw a sell out crowd, honored Dave Niehaus, gave Felix Hernandez a Cy Young award. Instead the team laid an egg and reminded fans we have a long ways to go. This team is going to struggle for a while. The Mariners sadly will have more games like this until things change. I just don't see where the changes will be made as long as Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong are here this team will continue to fail. Just remember fans we have a great ball park, some great pitchers but don't think for a second this is a good product. This opening day was a cold hard reality check to the fans that this team still stinks.