2009 MLB American League West Notebook
Considering that the Seattle Mariners were 101-loss team in 2008, a quick start in the Pacific Northwest was not only welcomed but hopefully, a sign that this team actually has a chance to be better in 2009.
The Mariners had a six-game winning streak that featured very solid starting pitching and without really much contribution from Ichiro.
Left-handers Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn have been exceptional to begin the season with 1.29 and 2.03 ERAs respectively. The two joined the rotation last year and struggled. But their dominance shows that they appear ready to turn to previous form.
As for Ichiro, he didn’t rejoin the team until April 15 because of an ulcer that landed him on the disabled list to start the season. However, Ichio became Japan’s all-time hits leader with a single on April 16 to give him 3,086 for his career. He surpassed Isao Harimoto, who was in attendance at the game.
Plus, the feel good story of Ken Griffey Jr.’s return has been met very well. He hit his 400 th career home run as a Mariner earlier in the week. He had 213 with Cincinnati.
The Angels’ fledgling offense took a blow when Vladimir Guerrero learned he will miss a month with a torn chest muscle.
A day after an MRI showed a strain, orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum found the pectoral tear. The injury is just another indication that Guerrero is breaking down. He had yet to play the field this season. As the DH, he had one home run and three RBIs.
The Angels had been the one of the more anemic offenses in the American League as they had scored only 36 runs in the first nine games.
Meanwhile the late Nick Adenhart was laid to rest on April 17 in Williamsport, MD. Adenhart was killed by an alleged drunk driver on April 9 following his first start of the season and fourth in his career. He was only 22.
The shocking part to the A’s start this season has been the lack of power. Prior to the weekend series in Toronto, Oakland had hit only three home runs including two by Jack Cust.
Power producers in the lineup have not emerged yet. Matt Holliday, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Giambi have combined to hit only one home run. Holliday should warm up when the season progresses, but the management was not expecting this. He does, however, lead the team with seven RBIs.
The all-hit no-pitch Rangers had plenty to look back fondly upon from their 19-6 April 15 win over the Orioles.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler became the fourth player in club history to hit for the cycle and the first to collect six hits. The other Rangers to do it were Oddibe McDowell in 1985, Mark Teixeira in 2004 and Gary Matthews Jr. in 2006.
Kinsler’s six hits in the cycle were the first in a nine inning game since Sam Thompson of the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 17, 1894.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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