Doug Fister did what he does best (no jokes, please) and walked zero batters tonight, letting the skilled Mariner defense do its job. That defense is seventh best in the entire MLB at turning balls-in-play into outs, a stat called Defensive Efficiency, and that is exactly why a low walk, low strikeout guy like Fister can have success.
On the offensive side, Seattle put what was probably its best lineup up to the plate tonight, DHing the Monopoly Man and playing Michael Saunders in left and Josh Bard behind the plate. While Bard and Saunders didn’t get on base all night, we can forgive them as Tiger pitcher, Justin Verlander, is a tough matchup for anyone.
One side note, Jose Lopez needs to learn to take a couple pitches every once in a while. He saw just 11 pitches in four trips to the plate tonight. AL-average hitters see 3.86 pitches per plate appearance, and Lopez is taking just 3.44 this season. If at first that seems like a small difference, consider that a lineup full of Jose Lopezes would take an average of 2/3 to one full inning longer to get the starter to 100 pitches. Getting to the bullpen is important to scoring runs, ergo taking pitches is important to scoring runs.
If you want to argue that he’s a power hitter (25 HR in 2009), and should swing away to help the team in that department, consider the following data from HitTracker:
Looking at the HitTracker link above, in 2009 Lopez didn’t hit a single dinger anywhere but left field. Not even left center. Why? Likely because his average home run distance was only about 380 feet…not far enough to hit it out anywhere but left field (for a righty who can’t hit oppo). According to HitTracker, 6 of Lopez’s 25 homers were “just enoughs”, while none were “no doubters,” which is based on how much fence clearance he got on each bomb. What I take from this is that Lopez hitting 25 HR is somewhat of a miracle, especially playing half his games in the cavernous Safeco Field.
I think it’s time to move Lopez way down in the order…