|Dustin Ackley tripled and scored the first run in Sunday's 2-0 win over the Phillies.|
The M's continue to be a very interesting team this year. Some aspects of their game continue to function very well. They aren't needing to replace a struggling starting pitcher, and their bullpen is throwing very well. Ichiro's day off seems to have paid gigantic dividends as the 37 year old right fielder had his fifth consecutive multi-hit game, and is scoring the runs the team needs. His slash line for the last seven days is .520/.538/.720 with four doubles and eight runs scored. Ichiro only has 13 doubles and 38 runs scored for the entire season, so you can see what a difference his week has made. Ichiro needs to remain Ichiro for the M's to stay in the chase.
|Brendan Ryan congratulates Ichiro for a great play in the field. They're also becoming quite a team at the top of the M's batting order.|
Other players on the team continue to have a few days at a time that inspire confidence in a bright future. Ryan's defense, hustle, and his periodic streaks of clutch hitting just make me smile. He's a dirt in the mouth player that makes big plays on defense and has driven in some big ones without once hitting a ball that's left the park. Adam Kennedy is another player whose bat has been surprisingly potent. I predicted that his acquisition would be important and he has been a great role player. Justin Smoak and Miguel Olivo have both had their moments, supplying power to a team that remains sorely in need of a few big bats. Though they've both been kind of streaky, when they've been on they've really lifted the team.
The starting pitching from one to five continues to exceed expectations. They're not perfect. Each of them, Felix, Pineda, Bedard, Vargas, and Fister have struggled at times. Each of them have also had moments of brilliance. Pineda mesmerized the Phillies on Friday with a blazing fastball, and Sunday Vargas dazzled them with great control and his usual arsenal of sliders, fastballs and off-speed pitches. At this moment, Erik Bedard may be the most consistent of the lot. The great thing, however, is that all of them consistently pitch deep into ball games and give their teammates an opportunity to win it, even if scoring a run or two seems hopelessly beyond their ability. The bullpen has been awesome, though Jamie Wright has looked a bit creaky recently.
|Erik Bedard may be the M's most consistent starter at this moment in time. They're all pretty damn good.|