I guess we’re ready to concede that Lloyd McClendon was right about Erasmo Ramirez not being a No. 2 starter.
Or, at the moment, Nos. 3 through 6.
Regardless, e-RAM put the M’s in a pretty deep hole early on Tuesday night. Then a strange thing happened. The offense hit its way out of it.
We’ve gotten so used to seeing good starting pitching performances without any run support, that we almost forgot that sometimes a bad starting performance can turn out OK with enough offense.
One big piece was provided by re-emerging shortstop Brad Miller, who had two hits and a walk, and drove in the initial run after Seattle had fallen behind 4-0.
Six hits in five games, and Miller is starting to look like a blue-chipper again.
Then came the Pencil.
The M’s were down 5-2, and e-RAM was clearly struggling. When two men got on in the top of the 4th, McClendon made the call to go to the bullpen, and pinch-hit Stefen Romero for Ramirez. Romero said he was expecting to be asked to bunt, but instead got the sign to swing away, which he did to the tune of a three-run homer.
That made it 5-5.
Then came John Buck. But first, Dustin Ackley beat out a two-out single, which set up Buck’s game-winning two-run shot.
And the homer-happy M’s had come all the way back.
Of course, the bullpen had to stop the Braves from adding on to their run total.
Tom Wilhelmsen, Dominic Leone, Danny Farquhar and Fernando Rodney put up this collective line:
6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K
Sort of a back-end “quality start.”
Both the walks were from the Barkeep (not a huge surprise), but Wilhelmsen has actually been quite effective except for one messy outing against Houston on May 24. Note the order in which those four entered. If Wilhelmsen is only expected to be the fourth-best right-handed reliever, then the pen should be OK.
So much interesting stuff in the minors, that we’ll give them their own post.