By Jason Wojciechowski on April 10, 2012 at 3:15 PM
I don't want this blog to descend into the absurd of doing full recaps of games that were played a week ago, but I did finish watching this game last night (first minor-league baseball game of the season on Saturday and Easter plans on Sunday interfered), so here are some brief notes and thoughts, basically for the record.
Four runs + two base-runners in 6 1/3 innings against Felix Hernandez is, to invert the cliche, something to write home about. In 2011, Felix allowed that many runs or more in that many innings or fewer seven times in 33 starts, with the damage typically done by offenses like Texas, Boston, and New York.
Yoenis Cespedes hates defenses -- two whiffs, a hit-by-pitch, and a homer in this game aren't representative of the typical Three True Outcomes, but they're close enough.
And speaking of that hit-by-pitch, that's now the second time that King Felix has bopped him (although this was more of a nick job, brushing his arm), and there was a little bit of an extra stare from the batter's box out to the mound afterward. After Cespedes admired his homer against Jason Vargas the night before, bad blood could be brewing between these squads. I don't like beanballs (the name of this site notwithstanding) any more than Wendy Thurm does, but some fans might find a July brawl exciting.
Kila Ka'aihue pinch-hit for Brandon Allen with a right-handed reliever on the mound. I feel terribly for Brandon Allen.
New guys who I really like, non-Cuban edition: Josh Reddick (this was expected), Seth Smith (this was not).
The A's have been engaging in some aggressive shifting lately. I don't recall how much of this they did under Bob Geren, and it's hard to say without spending a lot of time watching lots of other teams how widespread this is beyond the well-known example of the Tampa Bay Rays, but it's something to note. Jesus Montero in particular hit a grounder that was nearly directly up the middle, but it went right to Jemile Weeks. What's most interesting about this is two things: Montero is a righty, and teams classically have reserved their most aggressive shifting for lefties due to infield alignment issues; and Montero is quite young, while my memory tells me that most shifting is done against guys who have a long major-league track record of pulling the ball.
The six-run fourth inning was entirely preventable and/or somewhat lucky for the Mariners. Dustin Ackley's leadoff single, while hit hard, was just out of Cliff Pennington's reach, Yoenis Cespedes misplayed an out into a triple for Ichiro, Justin Smoak's broken bat blooper to right might have been caught by Jemile Weeks were the infield not pulled in, Pennington narrowly missed Muenori Kawasaki's hard one-hop ground single, and Coco Crisp made two awful throws.
I'll note that many of the balls were hit hard (in particular, neither grounder that Pennington had something of a chance for was a little dribble-ball), so Bartolo Colon doesn't get to walk away blameless (anyone who lets Chone Figgins hit a ball as hard as he hit his double deserves mad scorn), but the frame didn't have to go the way it did.
Broader note: Kurt Suzuki appears to have worked on his throwing.