Willie Bloomquist, leadoff hitter. Research has shown that the number two spot is where you maybe should put your best hitter, so naturally that’s where the Mariners put Endy Chavez. Mike Zunino DH’d in the three spot, the traditional place for the team’s best hitter. Justin Smoak and his .389 slugging percentage hit cleanup. Stefen Romero and Cole Gillespie joined Chavez to form the starting outfield, with John Buck starting behind the plate. That’s the mess that beat the Detroit Tigers by a score of 3-2.
That such a lineup got it done against an always-scary Tigers team is, of course, amazing. Bloomquist and Gillespie led the Mariners offense with two hits apiece, driving in all three runs in the process. The team only got one walk, but it was from Zunino. Zunino! Of all people. Nick Franklin struck out three times while going hitless. Franklin’s batting .128, or three points higher than Chavez. This lineup, I tell ya.
Chalk this one up to another incredible Chris Young performance. He struck out a batter per each of his six frames, including Torii Hunter (twice!) and Miguel Cabrera. Young walked only two and gave up only a Cabrera homer. The first batter of the seventh doubled, then scored on a Dominic Leone wild pitch. You know what, I’m on board. Young’s good. Or if he’s not good, he’s at least been good, from a results standpoint. Peripherals still tell us more about future performance, but guys have been known to pitch better or worse than their peripherals for extended periods of time. Seems Young’s doing that right now. Let the good times roll.
The rubber match comes today, with Max Scherzer scheduled to throw for the Tigers. Scherzer, you’ll recall, won the Cy Young award just last season. So far he’s been essentially the same, just with a few more walks than usual (3.0 BB/9 vs. 2.89 for his career). His homers allowed, while still under his career average, are coming a little more frequently than last season, and so it’s safe to say he’s off his Cy Young pace, if only barely. Roenis Elias starts for the Mariners, and we all know all about him. A win today means the M’s take another series over a top team, which makes all that Astros business a little easier to stomach. More importantly, it means .500 again.