Player of the Game: Ichiro (2.597 NRuns: 2.066 hitting, 0.531 fielding)
Pretty close: Franklin Gutierrez (2.108 NRuns: -0.028 hitting, 2.065 fielding, 0.107 running)
Angels Player of the Game: Torii Hunter (1.681 NRuns: 0.713 hitting, 0.968 fielding, many birthdays ruined)
Jason Bulger and Kevin Jepsen: 1.903 NRuns pitching
Fernando Rodney: -0.657 pitching NRuns
Goat: Starting Pitching
Joe Saunders (-2.031 NRuns: -2.283 pitching, 0.252 fielding)
Doug Fister (-2.027 NRuns: -2.172 pitching, 0.145 fielding)
Number of Mariners with more than -1.000 hitting NRuns: 0
Number of Mariners with positive hitting NRuns: 1 (Ichiro)
Mariners defense: 4.710 NRuns
David Aardsma: -1.170 NRuns
Unlike several of the other Mariners' losses in this 8 game skid, this one at least had some interesting details.
- This was easily Doug Fister's worst start of the season by EXERA, and still he only allowed three runs. I'd be hard pressed to find a pitcher whose defense has helped him more than Doug Fister's.
- If the Mariners were going to bust out again anyone in the foreseeable future, it was going to be the painfully hittable lefthander Joe Saunders... and yet the M's could only manage three runs off a couple of rallies. The average team would have scored five runs off of Saunders' 5.2 fitful innings today. Did his defense have his back? Well, somewhat... the infield had most of the positive defensive value for the Angels today (2.364 NRuns). Groundouts and double plays saved Saunders from trouble time and again.
- The two Angels relievers with negative EXERAs earned those by coming in with men on base and striking guys out to escape the jam. A negative EXERA means the reliever's performance not only was worth a 0.00 ERA, but saved the potential runs that the preceding pitcher left on base.
- The potential meltdown of David Aardsma's role as closer may not be a matter of if, but when: Even when he gets the job done he gives up enough line drives and walks to indicate his days may be numbered as Seattle's closer. However, if/when that happens the Mariners won't need to go far to find a suitable replacement: Brandon League has run solid EXERAs most of his times out thanks to a healthy diet of groundballs and strikeouts and a lack of liners. Hitters pose a consistently weak threat to score with League on the hill.
- No one hitter kept sinking the Mariners' critical rallies. Rob Johnson did come up empty with two outs twice, but the team's chances of scoring on that 2nd and final K were slim. His -0.998 hitting NRuns were the low mark at the plate. Most of the roster (save for Ichiro's terrific day at the plate) contributed negatively but, while several hitters meekly killed a few key rallies, none of the hitters were a complete black hole for the team. The Mariners scored three runs, but they still didn't hit well. However, their hitting wasn't as bad as the playing-dead outings of the last few days.
But one more however: This "improvement" came against Joe Saunders, arguably one of the worst starting pitchers in MLB (if not for a depleted Angels farm system he'd have been replaced). If three runs and a bunch of dead rallies are all they have to show against Saunders, it still doesn't bode well for their chances in coming games. They need to score 3-4 runs against better pitchers for the death-slump to be officially over.