May 4, 2011: A brief stop and Michael Pineda’s learning opportunity (2-5)


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A little bit unlucky day for Ichiro-san and everybody else. Just like the game in April 5, the first start and loss of Michael Pineda in an MLB game.

Julio Borbon, center fielder of Rangers, made a brilliant diving catch at Ichiro-san’s last at-bat to end the 7th inning scoreless (interestingly he had made a similar diving catch in April 5, too). I cannot help but saying “Appare!” (Up-PAH-ray) in Japanese to him (please stress the middle “pa”), an expression of the greatest tribute to an opponent.

You need not to be depressed, Michael. The two homeruns you gave up for the first time in an MLB game are just telling you that good hitters learn from every pitcher they’ve ever faced. This is an essential process for a Prince to become a King. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your next start. GO MARINERS!

APPENDIX: The last one run of Rangers at the 8th inning was nothing but the fault of reliever Chris Ray, who walked the lead-off hitter Ian Kinsler, let him reach 3B by SB and a sacrifice bunt, and finally sent him home by WP. This is best described by a Japanese idiom “hitori-zumo” (“he-TOE-REE ZOO-moe”, end with the lowest tone), which literally means “having a Sumo wrestling match with oneself to lose”.

May 3 2011: 40th hit and the season-5th 1-run victory (4-3)!


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It’s so good to follow you again Ichiro-san!! Your 40th hit was a lead-off single at the bottom of the 3rd to trigger the 1st-wave game-tying counterattack, resulting in Justin Smoak’s RBI double sending you home. You also sent Ryan Langerhans home to score the 2nd game-tying run at the bottom of the 7th, ironically with your GIDP.

Although David Pauley (replacing Eric Bedard) surrendered one run at the top of the 8th, Mariners’ offense responded differently from the last game that ended with 1-run loss: 4 consecutive singles to add 2 runs that ended this game with a beautiful 1-run victory! Congratulations David on your season-first victory! Also thanks to Brandon League for your excellent job as closer!

In AL west, four clubs are now in close contest with each other. The leaders (Rangers and Angels, .533) are only 2 games ahead of the cellar (Mariners, .467). There’s a chance for any of the four to lead the division. GO MARINERS!!

April 11, 2011: A walk-off victory after 7 consecutive losses (8-7)!


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How happy I am to be in time for the moment you scored the walk-off game-winning run, Ichiro-san!! When did I see last time all players and fans celebrating a single victory like this at Safeco Field?

Also congratulations, Touhoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, on your victory in the opening game postponed for two weeks, held outside your home town due to that disastrous megaquake, and even interrupted by a strong aftershok!! You are a Phoenix, rather than an Eagle, taking off the heaps of rubble to soar in the sky! Today is the best day for my opening of Season 2011.

Day 11 of Spring Training 2011: Fortune favored Mariners again (9-4)!


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Congratulations, Doug Fister! It’s your first victory in Spring Training 2011!
Fun to watch both starting veterans and replacing youngsters were active in offense. 11 hits from 6 of 7 opponent pitchers in 8 innings!

Our preemptive attack was quick in action at the top of the 1st: Ichiro-san reached 1B on fielding error, advanced to 2B on Figgy’s single, and returned home safely on passed ball by the opponent catcher. This catcher erased his fault with a CS (nailing Figgy at 2B to reduce the momentum of back-to-back singles by our Dual Lead-off) at the top of the 3rd and a solo homer at the bottom of the same frame, but Jack Wilson immediately smashed a tie-breaking solo homer at the top of the 4th and assured the victory of our starter Doug Fister. Thank you Jack!

After extensive defensive substitution at the top of 6th, Guti’s lead-off double and Jack Cust’s 2-run homer further extended our lead. Good job as DH, and congratulations on your first RBI with Mariners, Mr. Cust! And what did I see at the top of 7th? Two walks, one single, and a grand slam with no out! I am sure you will play your 3rd Futures Game in the coming July, Alex Liddi! Hope to see you at Safeco field soon! Also thanks to our 3 young players (Greg Halman, Matt Tui, and Mike Carp) for accumulating 3 singles to add the last insurance run after the grand slam!

We are currently at the 2nd place of AL (6-4, .600) and will face Angels tomorrow back in Peoria. GO MARINERS!

Day 11 of Spring Training 2011: Fortune favored Mariners again (9-4)!


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Congratulations, Doug Fister! It’s your first victory in Spring Training 2011!
Fun to watch both starting veterans and replacing youngsters were active in offense. 11 hits from 6 of 7 opponent pitchers in 8 innings!

Our preemptive attack was quick in action at the top of the 1st: Ichiro-san reached 1B on fielding error, advanced to 2B on Figgy’s single, and returned home safely on passed ball by the opponent catcher. This catcher erased his fault with a CS (nailing Figgy at 2B to reduce the momentum of back-to-back singles by our Dual Lead-off) at the top of the 3rd and a solo homer at the bottom of the same frame, but Jack Wilson immediately smashed a tie-breaking solo homer at the top of the 4th and assured the victory of our starter Doug Fister. Thank you Jack!

After extensive defensive substitution at the top of 6th, Guti’s lead-off double and Jack Cust’s 2-run homer further extended our lead. Good job as DH, and congratulations on your first RBI with Mariners, Mr. Cust! And what did I see at the top of 7th? Two walks, one single, and a grand slam with no out! I am sure you will play your 3rd Futures Game in the coming July, Alex Liddi! Hope to see you at Safeco field soon! Also thanks to our 3 young players (Greg Halman, Matt Tui, and Mike Carp) for accumulating 3 singles to add the last insurance run after the grand slam!

We are currently at the 2nd place of AL (6-4, .600) and will face Angels tomorrow back in Peoria. GO MARINERS!

Day 10 of Spring Training 2011: Valuable victory over World Champion 2010 in a pitcher’s duel (1-0)!


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Thank you, Jason Vargas, for 3 scoreless inning in your 1st start in Spring Training 2011!! Deeply sorry we could not score any run while you were pitching…
Remember, Jamie Wright (pitching only the 4th inning in this game), you owe your first victory to at least three of your teammates. The first two is Justin Smoak (lead-off walk) and Ryan Langerhans (RBI triple) for offense at the bottom of the 4th, and the 3rd is pitcher Mauricio Robles struggling with command but successfully getting out of the base-loaded jam at the top of the 7th.
After today’s victory, Mariners are going 5-4 (.556) at the 4th place in AL, leaving Oakland Athletics (5-6, .455) behind. Our Dual Lead-off will be back tomorrow, and Doug Fister will have the 3rd starting occasion for his first victory in this spring training. GO MARINERS! Keep on flying over .500!

Day 9 of Spring Training 2011: All is well that ends well (6-3)!


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Fortune favored Mariners throughout this game. Hope this will be the springboard for the next victory.
Top of the 3rd: Reaching 2B on fielding error (Michael Saunders), RBI double (Chris Gimenez), groundout (Matt Mangini), RBI single (Ichiro-san!)
Top of the 4th: Two consecutive walks (Mike Carp and Jack Wilson), flyout (Brendan Ryan), walk (Michael Saunders), RBI walk (Chris Gimenez, today’s “lucky boy”), strikeout (Matt Mangini), wild pitch (sending Jack Wilson home)
Top of the 5th: Lead-off walk (Figgy!), single plus throwing error (Guti), strikeout (Mike Carp), RBI single (Jack Wilson), RBI groundout (Brendan Ryan)

We are just happy with your first victory in your first start in Spring Training 2011, Felix Hernandez! Also thanks to 3 relievers (Michael Pineda, Aaron Laffey, and Josh Lueke) for 5 scorelss innings you accumulated! (You need not hang down your head, Jose Flores, 2-run homer you gave up in the 9th inning is the tuition for your first MLB colllege class)

BTW why on earth Jack Wilson had to play 2B in this game? I believe he joined Mariners as SS, not as a utility player. I love to see him play SS, not 2B!

Day 8 of Spring Training 2011: Yet another Season-2010-like game against World Champion 2010 (1-6)


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We got 1 run with 6 hits (3 in the first 4 innings, 2 in the 6th and 1 in the 7th).
They got 6 runs with 7 hits (2 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, and 3 in the 5th) off our 2 pithcers during the first 5 innings.

There were two scoring chances: one with loaded bases (top of the 3rd) and the other with 2 on (top of the 4th). But both ended scoreless. Typical Season 2010 style that should not be carried over into Season 2011.

Yet YOU should keep on your Season 2010 style, Felix Hernandez, 2010 AL Cy Young Awardee and tomorrow’s starter! I believe you will.

APPENDIX: Call-up Umpire Barry Larson called his first Major League Spring Training game at HP. Congratulations!

Day 7 of Spring Training 2011: 2nd DH start and a gorgeous victory (7-2)!


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Wow, Ichiro-san is playing DH again! How many times will we see you as DH in this Spring Training?
Anyway, it is always good to see our offense active and efficient! 7 runs with 8 hits from 5 pitchers of Indians!

Ichiro-san’s lead-off double and Figgy’s sacrifice bunt made the first scoring chance at the bottom of the 1st, and then Guti sent Ichiro-san home with an RBI groundout to score the first run in this game. Guti later doubled with 2 on, one out in the bottom of the 3rd to score 1 more run, and got his 3rd RBI with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 5th. Three RBIs in one game! I cannot thank you enough, Guti!

Another hero of this game was prospect catcher Steven Baron. He replaced the starting catcher Miguel Olivo leaving the diamond due to injury on scoring the 2nd run in the bottom of the 2nd and yielded thereafter no runs except for 2 runs given by the 4th pitcher Dan Cortes at the top of the 5th. He also reached 2B by a lead-off double, advanced to 3B with a grountout by Michael Saunders, and finally sent to home by a hit by pitch at the bottom of the 6th. Good job, Steven!

Such a game fun to watch is sufficient for a fan to concentrate her hope on her favorite team and look forward to see the next game. GO MARINERS to win the next game and lift the average to over .500!

Day 6 of Spring Training 2011: Another game in the Season 2010 style? (1-3)


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Welcome back, Ichiro-Figgins dual leadoff! Although Figgy was silent today, Ichiro-san marked the sole RBI with a sacrifice fly with 2 on (Dustin Ackley and Adam Moore) and no out in the 2nd inning, and added a single in the 5th inning.
Poor Doug Fister, it looks like you need some more time to get out from the shadow of the 2nd half of Season 2010. I know your loss today is not the fault of you alone. It’s our offence that is to blame. No hits and no BBs from 3 bullpen pitchers of Reds in the last 4 innings…

APPENDIX: Congratulations, ex-Mariner Randy Messenger, on your first victory in the second Spring Training with Hanshin Tigers! You pitched 4 scoreless inning in this game, your second start in Spring Training 2011. Your partner Kenji is working hard at the final stage of rehabilitation after left knee surgery. Hopefully he’ll be back in the lineup next week.

APPENDIX 2: What’s the matter with you, Ryan Rowland-Smith? With 2 out in the 2nd inning, 3 earned runs with one BB and back-to-back three hits (single-triple-single) leading to the first loss in the second start!?

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