Mike Sweeney entered tonight’s game hitting for a .215 season average and .715 OPS. After a 4/5 performance featuring two bombs and six RBI, he’s sitting pretty at .276/.890. While there’s no reason to expect him to finish the season that high–a .270/.750 split would be better than expected–I think he made a good point tonight. He’s the DH to keep. His splits versus left and right handers over the last three seasons are nearly identical, meaning that making him our everyday DH is a wise decision given the alternatives.
With Sweeney’s huge game, the Mariners scored a season-high 15 runs and won the offensive shootout 15-8 over the Padres to kick off interleague play. Looking just at ERA, you might think Cliff Lee had his worst start of the year, going 6 1/3 innings while allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs. However, striking out seven and walking none, he upped his K/BB ratio on the season to a ridiculous 32K/1BB. It would be hard to say that he pitched poorly. Adrian Gonzalez managed three doubles off Lee that all seemed to come on good outside pitches. Gonzalez put together a nice piece of hitting on all three to slide them down the left field line (his opposite field). If Gonzo could do that on every outside fastball, his OPS would be six bazillion. It’s not quite that high, so we can assume Lee got unlucky with those well-placed pitches. Overall, it was just nice to see him get some run support and a win. In Lee’s first four starts this year, the Mariners tallied just nine runs.
On a side note, it was also nice to see catcher Josh Bard hit one out, in addition to walking twice. As USSMariner blogger, Dave Cameron, put it, I think we’ve found our catcher.