The Mariners won their first series since the end of June today beating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 on an otherwise gloomy Sunday in August. On a day when traditionally the biggest sports event in the region is the Seafair Unlimited Hydro Races, the Mariners managed to get by the Royals behind the pitching of Jason Vargas who went six solid innings to get his 8th win. Vargas has been one of the few bright spots this season and he has proved that he belongs in the rotation next year leaving one less question mark for 2011. Kyle Davies pitched a nice game himself holding the Mariners scoreless till the bottom of the sixth when the Mariners scored two-runs on a clutch-hit by the much maligned Casey Kotchman.
A mostly subdued crowd of 24,078 sat through the first 5 innings of a dull game outside of the roar of the Blue Angels flying overhead on a day when Seattle fans could cheer for real Hydro Races on Lake Washington rather than just the big screen at Safeco. It is a testament to our loyalty as a fan base to still see a crowd this size coming out to the park to support our team. The top of the order once again provided the spark as Ichiro and Figgins scored all three runs and had a couple of hits each this afternoon. Figgins has gone 12-23 on this home stand and knocked in Ichiro in the eighth inning with a sharp single to left in what would prove to be the winning run in this contest. Figgins has moved his average up to .254 and with 50 games left could possibly finish-up with a respectable average of say .270 if he stays hot. This comes as rumors are swirling of a possible trade for the pesky switch-hitter. If you would have asked me a few weeks ago I would have agreed in trading him but after the past few days I believe he is another of the pieces of the future worth keeping around.
It looks like we have suffered another “Hotel Injury” as Jack Wilson apparently slipped in the shower and has a fracture in his right hand. This of course coupled with the Russell Branyan mishap a few weeks back where the big man smashed his toe in a hotel are just more “Footnotes” for a season where if anything could go wrong it has. In addition Shawn Kelley is out for the rest of the season with elbow issues and will require surgery. I’m hoping to see Mike Wilson get the call from AAA to fill Jack Wilson’s spot on the roster as Mike Wilson has 24 homers with Tacoma and deserves a shot before the September call-ups.
Brandon League was able to hold the Royals scoreless in the 8th inning by inducing the Royals into double-play to end a threat at a crucial moment in this game. League like Vargas has 8 wins and has proven to be mostly effective this year though the guy he was traded for Brandon Morrow pitched a great game today as well. Morrow was one out away from a no-hitter today but still went on to win 1-0 over the Rays in a game where Morrow struck-out 17!
The Mariners are actually in a stretch where they should be able to win some games to try to salvage some dignity this year as they have the A’s, Indians and Orioles up next before playing the Yankees one more time. The A’s are the closest thing we have to a rival and they are surprisingly still in the race after beating the Rangers today and now stand 7 ½ back of Texas. It would certainly be nice to play the spoiler role and take this next series from Oakland here at the Safe. One more note from the pits on Lake Washington; the “Oh Boy Oberto” has won the unlimited hydro races this year. Nice to hear the distinctive voice of Pat O’Day calling the race today as Seafair comes to a close.http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Brandon Morrow, Hotel injuries, Jason Vargas, Kansas City Royals, Mariners, Oh Boy Oberto, Seafair Unlimited Hydro Races
The Seattle Mariners started the Seafair weekend out with a nice well-rounded effort tonight, beating the visiting Kansas City Royals 7-1 in front of 20,411 fans at Safeco Field. Tonight’s game showed a glimmer of hope for the rest of the way against the Royals who have faded out of the race as well. Last year’s Cy-Young winner Zach Greinke, got the start tonight for the Royals and has owned the Mariners for the last couple of years. However tonight the Mariners seemed to have finally figured out that Greinke throws first-pitch strikes and instead of watching them go by they actually took some cuts and were rewarded. Ryan Langerhans who started in left for the injured Saunders went 3-4 including a homer, and each of his hits were a result of anticipating a first-pitch fastball and swinging. I know this sounds like a routine thing and actually at the Major League level good hitters seem to have a knack for anticipating the next pitch and unloading on it when it comes. Unfortunately it seems guys like Gutierrez and Lopez have not only been lacking in recognizing pitches coming out of the pitchers hand, but more importantly not being able to look for patterns and out-smart opposing pitchers. It was nice to see the veteran Langerhans leading by example tonight as far as anticipating pitches and perhaps it will wear-off on some of the regulars.
Luke French got the start tonight and went 8 innings giving-up only the one run and pitched what I thought was his best game since coming over from Detroit last year in the Jarrod Washburn deal. French did not walk a man, and though the Royals had 9 hits tonight French was composed and once he got the ever elusive run support from his team, settled into a nice groove. Chone Figgins has quietly moved his average up to .251 with a couple of hits tonight and 3 RBI’s. It is also fair to note that Casey Kotchman who has been disappointing at the plate, turned in another great performance defensively tonight and has yet to commit an error this season. Tonight’s game was a relief after watching the Mariners lose 9 of their last 10 games.
It was interesting to read earlier in the week about Zach Greinke and his statement that the Royals will not be ready to compete till 2012 after his contract is up. Basically Greinke is signaling that he wants to be traded to play with a contender. While I don’t blame him, it is still inappropriate to say it to the press while the season is still alive. I give credit to guys like Felix Hernandez and Ichiro who are both capable of starting anywhere, but keep their mouths shut and play the game. Our team has been through a lot this year and the players and their manager deserve a few more games like tonight, not to mention us fans!
I’m looking forward to heading down to the Safe this weekend and hopefully we can build on tonight’s game and win a series at home to celebrate Seafair……http://jeffsmariners
Tagged: Kansas City Royals, Luke French, Mariners, Ryan Langerhans, Seafair weekend, Zach Greinke
At long last we have reached that part of the season often called the “Dog Days of Summer’’ this term refers to the hot late summer months when teams in the pennant race need to cowboy-up, and teams like the Mariners usually melt into obscurity. If you happen to live in a city like New York, San Francisco, Atlanta or Philadelphia these hot and humid days offer some grueling and intense ballgames where the best teams will battle for a spot in the post-season. For us here in the NW it is the time when a lot of fans just check-out and head outdoors to enjoy boating, fishing, swimming etc.
For the players on non-contending teams this time of year can be particularly draining as they try to muster the energy to play with the intensity and enthusiasm necessary to compete with teams like the Texas Rangers who are focused and goal-oriented. Last night’s game our boys were holding their own until the melt-down in the 7th. In this case we had two down with runners on first and second when Jose Lopez fielded a little dribbler by the speedy Elvis Andrus of the Rangers with Benjie Molina slumbering into third. Lopez who often appears to be in La La land decided to throw to first rather than going for the easy play at third. To add insult to injury Lopez held on to the ball and double-clutched before releasing the ball allowing Andrus to reach safely and load the bases. At the time the score was 7-6 Rangers and we were still in this game so this mental error by Lopez was a critical mistake, had Lopez been thinking he would have either got the out at third or fielded the ball and come-up firing. As it was Michael Young proceeded to hit a grand-slam and this game melted away into the books.
This sort of play has been happening all year for the Mariners but as we drift further into the Dog Days, it could become even more common if that is possible. Last week of course we got to see Chone Figgins “Dogging it” when he didn’t back-up a throw leading to the scuffle in the dugout that seems to be still lingering in the hot August air. Of course like a lot of you I have begun to emotionally distance myself from this year’s dismal voyage even going so far as to going on my little Rehab assignment to Tacoma. But I am back now facing my own “Blog Days” trying to move beyond the blame-game into some sort of positive journalistic accomplishment beyond just “Playing for Stats” and watching my Google rating as I struggle to finish the season.
There are still a few interesting things to look for as this season wears on into the Dog Days such as the whole hoopla around the young players development, will Griffey come back for a send-off, will Wakamatsu make it the rest of the way etc. But for now I think I will head to Alki beach and soak-up some sun and decide if I will watch the game tonight…..http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Chone Figgins Dogging it, Dog Days of Summer, Jose Lopez La La land, Mariners
The Minnesota Twins won the opening game of the series tonight 5-3 thus continuing the woes of the visiting Seattle Mariners. The Mariners made their first visit to beautiful Target Field filled with 40,596 loyal and enthusiastic Twins fans. Doug Fister picked-up the loss tonight thanks in part to some shoddy play by the defense behind him. Fister now goes to 3-7 on the year and appears to be getting a bit sharper but still nowhere near the guy we saw in the early going. The Twins starter Scott Baker went to 9-9 with his performance though he started out looking shaky in the first few frames. In fact the Mariners had a golden opportunity in the second inning after working the bases full with only one down before both Wilson infielders choked and the M’s came-away with 0.
The Mariners were facing a pennant contending club that plays great defense and holds a .298 average with RISP, compare that to the Mariners who have a .236 average with RISP giving you a picture of the stark contrast in these two clubs. The Mariners did rally for three runs in the 6th inning thanks to a clutch double by Josh Wilson that drove in Saunders and Gutierrez. Branyan had one of his two doubles in the same inning and had come in earlier on a single by Gutierrez. Outside of that it was all Twins thanks to homers by Thome and Casilla.
This year’s Twins are once again in the thick of things in the AL Central as they try to make it into the World Series after being knocked-out last year by the Yankees. The Twins are marking their 50th year as a franchise with a new stadium and a well-rounded team that gives the folks in the Twin-Cities something to be proud of. Their big slugger Justin Mourneau was sidelined today with an injury but may be back soon as they battle away in a tight AL Central race.
As most of you know by now pitcher Roy Oswalt has been traded by the Astros to the Phillies and veteran Lance Berkman is leaving those same Astros for the bright lights of New York to wear a Yankees uniform. Apparently the White Sox are close to adding to their already powerful lineup with the acquisition of slugger Adam Dunn from the lowly Nationals. As all this is going on our Mariners appear to have a bunch of players that no one is too interested in at this point. However in August a few of our guys like Lopez and maybe Casey Kotchman could be put out on waivers allowing other clubs to finish the process of picking the last bit of meat off the carcass of our beached whale. We could have been the center of all potential trade attention still if Jack Zduriencik had not chosen to grab Justin Smoak for Cliff Lee. Smoak who is now batting .198 was not in the lineup tonight as either we were trying to showcase Casey Kotchman who went 0-5, or Smoak has another one of those mystery Mariners injuries.
Still thinking of heading down to watch the Tacoma Rainiers tomorrow as I’d like to watch my old friend Mike Sweeney and catch a glimpse of Dustin Ackley. Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather even as we watch the Mariners continue their voyage to the bottom of the Sea….http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Minnesota Twins, Scott Baker, seattle mariners, Tacoma Rainiers, Target field
The Mariners lost tonight 9-5 to the Chicago White Sox who completed the four game sweep using the long-ball once again to trounce our hapless sailors. I have been following this team since the early 80′s yet I never volunteered to write about them every day before 2010, and things are starting to get a bit gloomy between me and my keyboard. This season is grueling, with no end in sight as we head to Minnesota to face the Twins in their new stadium full of perky and invigorated Twins fans.
We seem to be falling into an endless abyss of bad games, sad games, terrible games and an occasional win. This team is now officially a candidate for a 100 loss season in a year that we all thought we would at least be as good as last year. There really is no sense in reviewing the list of who sucks, who is at fault, and who needs to go anymore. The only thing we can do is attempt to keep our heads up and move-on until October. Any hope of some sort of trade in the next few days to save this club is a bit ridiculous as well.
Of course we have the Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley watch to speculate on to keep our interests, but outside of that it appears barring a miracle we will have to trudge on….Of course for the more sane of my readers there is always Seafair, camping, soccer and even other teams to follow. I have tried to trick myself into thinking I’m going to root for the Atlanta Braves or maybe the Padres as we head down the stretch. But of course I know come tomorrow I will be glued to the TV like you hoping that our boys will awaken from this trance and go on a little run. If nothing else I am feeling obligated to stick it out for Dave Neihaus who deserves better than this as his career winds down.
I looked at the Tacoma Rainiers schedule today and saw that they are home Saturday night, I am thinking of heading down to watch them just to switch things up a bit. If nothing else I am curious as to what Mike Sweeney is still doing there. My only guess is that Sweeney will stay in Tacoma till the trade deadline passes just in case the Mariners manage to unload Jose Lopez or someone else,then bring him back up to Seattle. I cannot imagine that Sweeney would want to finish his career in the obscurity of AAA ball after all he has accomplished in the Bigs. These are the sort of intrigues that we have grown accustomed to this year where everything just seems to go from unclear to murky on a regular basis….http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Chicago White Sox, Dave Neihaus, Mariners, Seafair, Tacoma Rainiers
The Chicago White Sox beat the Mariners 6-1 behind the great starting pitching of John Danks who moves to 11-7 on the year. Felix Hernandez picked up the loss and his record now stands at 7-7 on the year which pretty much removes the Mariners Ace from any more discussion of him being in the running for the Cy-Young award. This game was lop-sided from the beginning as the Mariners offense never really got rolling and we were even spared the agony of watching base-runners stranded at third as has become customary this season. No this was just a flat-out beating by a superior team in late July of a season we all wish would just go-away.
Casey Kotchman was show-cased tonight at first and proved he has a golden glove with a beautiful leaping catch that he turned into an unassisted double-play in the bottom of the second. And my new hero Jack Wilson did manage to bring Michael Saunders in to score in the top half of the third giving the Mariners a short-lived lead. Saunders has moved his average up to .242 after tonight, and is indeed looking like he has earned his spot in the outfield as of late.
But mostly this was just a dumb, boring game that was difficult to focus on unless of course you are Dave Sims who has a way of rooting for the other team in a not so subtle way these days which is dumb but surprisingly not as irritating as it was earlier in the year. Speaking of irritating has anyone else heard the radio commercial with Cliff Lee in it where he starts out saying “I know I have moved but”…. Now this is irritating. Can we just move on and let it go already, I mean it is one thing to read about Jamie Moyer in the local papers 5 years after he is gone, but Cliff Lee was here for only half a season and we don’t need anymore painful reminders that we suck.
Ok so I am a little grumpy tonight, maybe I have just used a hyphen too many times in my post and it’s starting to drive me crazy along with my loyal viewers, many of which are probably placing bets to see if Jeff will make it through his Rookie Year as a Mariners Blogger without giving up or completely losing it….
Well I have written every day since the end of March on our Mariners and have actually enjoyed writing most of my posts. This is perhaps the first one after tonight’s Yawner, where it actually felt like work so I think I’m going to call it a night and hope for a better game tomorrow in the Windy City……http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Chicago White Sox, Felix Hernandez, John Danks, Mariners, Mariners Blogger, Yawner
For the second day in a row the Mariners rallied in the eighth inning to come back and beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2, giving the hometown boys a split for this four game series. This series was indeed an interesting one and at the end of it all the Mariners actually came out of it in better shape than the Red Sox who are now 8 games back in the AL East. Of course the Mariners are not really in any sort of pennant race but would like to finish strong and give their fans a reason to come down to Safeco on beautiful afternoons like today.
The fans today got to see Doug Fister pitching a lot more like he did in the early part of the year as he went 5 innings giving up 7 hits and 2 runs before yielding to the suddenly efficient bullpen. Fister got some help from his defense today including a dramatic diving catch by Jack Wilson in the 4th to help stop a rally. Jack Wilson has played better in the last couple of weeks then at any time since coming over from the Pirates last season. His .255 batting average is nothing to sneeze at on this year’s club, and he seems to have a knack for getting hits when they count. I’m glad we have him for one more season as that is one less question mark on a 2011 team that is up in the air in several areas. And just as we were all ready to write Casey Kotchman off as a lost cause, he goes 3-3 and has been producing at the plate pretty well himself for the last three weeks.
Michael Saunders picked-up another clutch-hit today driving in a couple of runs in the big eighth inning rally that featured 6 hits in a row. Granted a couple of the hits were bunts that managed to sneak by the Sox, but hey it’s not like we aren’t due for a few lucky breaks in a year where everything possible has gone wrong…..and then some.
The Mariners bullpen has a new look as well with guys like Chris Seddon stepping-up and doing their job . As I mentioned a couple of days ago in my post, sometimes a little dugout scuffle can sort of clear the air for a team. Yes I know Chone Figgins has said he still may want to say his piece on that wild night, but really who cares let’s just move forward and play some good solid ball like the last two games.
I am curious about Mike Sweeney and when and if he comes back how will he be used. We seem to have a lot of DH’s these days with Branyan, Smoak, Bradley and Sweeney all sort of qualifying as the DH on this squad on any given day. Yes there is still a chance we may trade Lopez , Kotchman or even Aardsma before the deadline, but I don’t expect anything too dramatic as this team has been through enough turnover and turmoil this year.
We now move on to play the White Sox again with Felix on the mound. Call me crazy but I have a hunch we may parlay some of the energy from this last series with the BoSox into a little more fun against Ozzie Guillen and his boys….http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Boston Red Sox, Chris Seddon, diving catch Jack Wilson, Mariners, Mike Sweeney comes back
Tonight’s game let us all go through the entire emotional roller-coaster of this season in one game. We got to be apathetic, angry, hopeful, excited and then terribly disappointed all in one game. Actually this was more like three games rolled into one. First we had our normal outing by Ryan Rowland-Smith allowing 5 runs on 8 hits, while the Red Sox starter John Lackey pitched a no-hitter all the way to the bottom of the 8th with two down. This appeared to be another dumb yet ordinary Mariners game.
But then magically in the bottom of the 9th a second game developed that was fun and exciting as the Mariners rallied for 5 runs to tie this game. As I sat with my friends watching this inning we kept looking at each other as if to ask each other if it was ok to believe again in this team. After all didn’t Franklin Gutierrez just deliver a two-run bomb? Of course he did, followed by a series of hits and errors by the brash boys from Bean Town and all of a sudden we were alive and cheering in the restaurant just like the faithful down at the Safe.
And for a few innings as our relievers did their job we relished in our near-death experience like comrades in a lifeboat. Yes the second game of tonight’s game was wonderful indeed knowing that we had busted-up Lackeys no-no and even came back to tie the game 6-6! Who cares if this season is a bust we are going to push the mighty Red Sox out of the AL East race and let them suffer a bit, as we have paid our dues this year thank you very much.
The third game of tonight’s game was worse than the first game of just getting beat by a better team. And though round three of this 13 round prize-fight was terrible, the fight itself felt ok as at least we indeed did throw some punches, just not the knock-out punch we needed. As we headed into round 12 this one was starting to feel like a play-off game with every pitch, and out, magnified by the sheer drama of the earlier rounds. And we really had a shot in the 12th as Jack Wilson blooped a lead-off single to start the frame, followed by an infield single by Ichiro that ex-Mariner Adrian Beltre mishandled. Figgins then laid-down a perfect bunt to give the Mariners runners at second and third with one down. This is the moment when the ghosts of the 2010 season started to creep into my mind whispering to me names like Eric Byrnes, Jose Lopez etc. I brushed the demons aside however until half-way through the Gutierrez intentional-walk as I realized that it would indeed be the Mariners poster-child for dysfunction ……Jose Lopez up with the bases loaded and one out. And yes he did what Lopez the loper does best…He choked with a weak pop-up. Our other wayward teenager Milton Bradley followed Lopez and popped out himself.
At this point we knew it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox put us out of our collective Mariners-Misery so we got up and left the restaurant. Of course part of being a Mariners fan, especially this year is you actually can’t believe it is happening so you have to subject yourself to the actual dismal reality to believe it is actually happening. So after watching through the window outside for a minute we came back indoors for the final round. The only good part of the top of the 13th was watching Adrian Beltre’s long home run shot go foul by a couple of feet. I noticed he did not do his little dance at the plate or appeal his own check-swings like he did when he played for us, and alas he did not drive in the go-ahead run. And no the other ex-Mariner Mike Cameron didn’t put the dagger in our hearts tonight. No, the death-blow came from a double with two outs and two runners aboard by Eric Patterson who had come in to relieve ex-Mariner Bill Hall. The bottom of the 13th we had a classic Mariners 1,2,3 inning and the tide sucked another chunk of the souls of me and my fellow Mariners fans out to sea once again……http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Adrian Beltre, Frankling Gutierrez, John Lackey, Jose Lopez choked, Mariners, no-hitter, Red Sox
The Mariners avoided a sweep by the visiting Chicago White Sox winning this one 2-1 thanks to a clutch two-run single in the bottom of the 11th by Franklin Gutierrez. Felix Hernandez pitched 8 strong innings of 2-hit shutout ball before reluctantly handing the ball off to David Aardsma in the 9th. The Mariners needed this one bad and it was nice to see the smiles on the faces of the hometown boys as they celebrated their third victory in extra-inning affairs in this dreary campaign.
The Mariners who had not scored a single run since the first inning of the Monday opener executed brilliantly in the 11th inning rally. Of course keeping with their running theme of making dumb base running mistakes, Jose Lopez got doubled-up off first in the bottom of the 9th in a play that looked like Little League. In this case Milton Bradley in to pinch-hit for Kotchman dropped a little liner into right that Andruw Jones made a diving play on. The winning run was on second and instead of going halfway with his eye on the ball, Lopez turned his back on the ball and ran to second only to allow Jones to lob the ball after he caught it to get the absent-minded Lopez. Dave Niehaus went ballistic on the radio over this one, as once again this was clearly a mental error attributed to a lack of focus.
It looked like this game was over in the top half of the 11th when 43 year-old Omar Vizquel lined a single to right off Brandon League scoring the go-ahead run from third. But alas after going 27 innings without scoring, the Mariners pulled-off a sweet victory in the bottom of the frame. The inning started-off with Jack Wilson beating out a perfect bunt down the line and moved to second on another bunt by Ichiro. Figgins moved Wilson to third with a sharply hit single to center which Wilson watched closely before advancing to third when the ball landed. Figgins then stole second and showed us a flash of the Chone Figgins we have been waiting for all season long. With two strikes on him Franklin Gutierrez then delivered in the clutch hitting a laser shot into the gap in left center scoring the speedy Figgins to end the game and the scoring famine.
This was a fun and interesting game outside of the Lopez goof and the 21,529 fans that were at the game celebrated along with the players as if we had just won the pennant! Now the Red Sox come in for a four-game series. The Red Sox suddenly find themselves in a bit of a jam as they are 7 games back in the AL East due to injuries and some tough losses like today’s against the A’s. The good news is the Mariners have a chance to play spoiler with clubs like the Red Sox, and the bad news is there will be 10,000 rabid Red Sox fans attempting to drown out the mellow Seattle fans for the next four games. East Coast transplants complain all the time about our weather, passive-aggressive behavior and lack of culture here in Seattle. Of course when I hear one complain I usually offer to buy them a one-way ticket home on the spot and that usually shuts them up. If the Mariners could come-away with a split of this series I would be elated, so how about joining me down at the Safe this weekend as we show some pride in our city and club. http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: base running mistakes, Chicago White Sox, Dave Niehaus went ballastic, Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners
The Chicago White Sox took the first game of a three game series against the Mariners tonight by a score of 6-1. The Chisox are the hottest team in baseball and have gone from being 10 out in the AL Central to first place where they are a game and a half up on Detroit. The White Sox feature a veteran squad that can go yard on you up and down the line-up. Tonight’s Mariners starter David Pauley gave-up a bomb to Alex Rios in the fifth with one aboard, and veteran reliever Jamie Wright got tagged by Andruw Jones for a solo-shot in the eighth. For Jones it was home run #401 in his long and successful career.
The Mariners only run came in the first off the bat of Russell Branyan who drove in Chone Figgins with a double to left giving the Mariners a brief lead. The rest of the night our guys just could not pull the trigger when it counted, twice they had the sacks full and came-away with nothing late in the game. Nothing too shocking or surprising about this one or the results when you consider the two teams involved. It was nice to see the ex-Mariner Omar Vizquel over at third tonight though he did some damage against his old club with a couple of hits and a RBI.
It is getting kind of odd as this season moves along to watch all of the players on the other teams and realize you are more familiar with many of the players on the opposing squads than our own team. While I still am loyal to whoever is wearing a Mariners jersey it all feels quite odd as guys come up and down, quit, get traded or sort of fade away. Most of the contending teams have a solid core of veteran players who have been together awhile and look and play like a team. With our squad the veterans outside of Ichiro don’t quite look like they belong here and the younger players seem to not quite know what their role is without a core group of veterans to set the tone.
Last year Griffey and Sweeney were able to add that veteran feel to the club, and for the first half Cliff Lee was able to set the tone, but now there just seems like a big void. I have talked to a few other fans recently who agree however that this idea of dumping all the established players and playing only the young bucks is not fair to the fans. We still deserve to see a Big League club facing off with teams like the White Sox and Red Sox. If we want to see AAA ball we can drive to Tacoma. Yes we are out of the pennant race but we have some talented guys like Jack Wilson, Chone Figgins, Russell Branyan and even Milton Bradley who the Mariners have a lot of money invested in and are all Big Leaguers.
Of course Michael Saunders should get playing time along with Justin Smoak but unless another team is ready to give us some Major League ready players in trade, any talk of just dumping guys because they are not part of the future is folly. We have already given some of our best AAA guys a chance and they proved they were not ready. When and if Dustin Ackley or Michael Pineda are ready then of course bring them up, otherwise let them continue to develop so when they are called up they are ready to compete at the higher level.
I want to give a special thanks to Helen up in Alaska who is a regular reader and sent me a message because my font was too small for her to read. As you can see I changed it and I am open to any suggestions to help make this Blog user-friendly in keeping with my motto of “Where the fans call the plays”. This site is not affiliated with any blog network, has no advertising and is an open and free forum for frank discussion about the Mariners. I am not planning on selling out so that I have to watch what I say, as I love this game too much.
In closing tonight I want to remind you that I will be doing a live Podcast with another member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance on August 10 at 7pm PST. The BBA is a group of bloggers from around the country like me who are passionate about baseball and do this for free; I will be doing the show with a blogger for the Dodgers. There will be a call-in number and I’d love to hear from some of you loyal readers. The web address is: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/baseball-bloggers-alliance till we meet again…..http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Andruw Jones, Baseball Bloggers Alliance, Chicago White Sox, Dustin Ackley, Mariners, Michael Pineda
The Mariners managed to salvage the final game of the four game series with the Angels today, winning 2-1 in extra-innings behind an outstanding performance by Jason Vargas. Vargas has proved himself to be one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dull year. Unfortunately for Vargas he walked away with his eighth no-decision on the year as he left the game with the score still tied with two-outs in the bottom of the 8th. Vargas allowed a single run off a homer by Mike Napoli in the 2nd but otherwise kept the Angels in-check fanning 9 and only allowing a single walk. Vargas was sporting a fresh haircut on this sunny day in Anaheim as he went up against Ervin Santana who pitched well himself.
The Mariners managed to scratch-out a run in the top half of the 5th inning, scoring on a wild-pitch. Ryan Langerhans who drew a walk and stole second with one down, was then moved to third on a single by Rob Johnson setting the table for the wild-pitch that brought Langerhans in to score making it 1-1. Langerhans like a lot of our boys has a batting average that is awful but at least he does manage to get a lot of walks. The veteran journeyman got the start today in left as Michael Saunders injured his fingers the other day diving back to first.
The only other run of the game came in the top of the 10th when the Mariners overcame another goofy base-running mistake this time by Ichiro to score only their 2nd run in extra-innings this year. Ichiro got on with a lead-off walk and manager Don Wakamatsu called for the bunt today unlike yesterday’s similar situation. After reaching second on the sacrifice bunt by Figgins, Ichiro temporarily lost his senses and attempted to advance to third on a ground ball by Gutierrez to short. Ichiro got thrown-out in a run-down leaving Gutierrez at first with two men down. At this point I began to prepare emotionally for another loss but was pleasantly surprised to see Gutierrez steal second and then come home on a clutch two-out single by Lopez.
After Brandon League managed to hold the Angels in the 8th and 9th, Wakamatsu again went with the orthodox move and brought in his closer when his team had a lead. Several times this season Wak has brought in David Aardsma with the game tied in the 9th rather than using him for the save situation like every other manager in Baseball. And guess what….it worked! Aardsma who has been shaky for much of the year actually mixed his pitches up today instead of throwing all fastballs and managed to pick-up his 17th save. I am not sure if Jack Z. has had a talk with Wakamatsu about getting back to basics, or if our beleaguered manager has finally learned from his mistakes, but I guess it is a case of better late than never.
The Mariners now head back to sunny Seattle to face the red-hot Chicago White Sox who find themselves in first-place in the AL Central. We certainly can play the role of spoiler the rest of the way and we owe these guys a few losses after the heart-wrenching losses we suffered to them earlier in the year. As a side note I will be attempting to get down to Cheney Stadium sometime this month to take a look at Ackley and Pineda who are still in AAA playing for the first-place Rainiers in Tacoma. Also please mark your calendars for August 10th as yours truly will be doing my first live podcast on the internet along with a fellow member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, stay tuned for more details on that event. Ciao….http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Angels, Chicago White Sox, David Aardsma, Don Wakamatsu, extra-innings, Jason Vargas, Mariners
The Mariners got a moral victory tonight (doesn’t count I know) in their game with the Angels by at least battling back from a 6-1 deficit to tie it up before going on to lose 7-6. Ryan Rowland-Smith got slammed for 6 runs and 8 hits in another ugly outing for him. Joe Saunders went 6 innings tonight for the halos giving up 5 runs and 10 hits to the Mariners who have lost three games in a row since the break. One has to wonder how long manager Don Wakamatsu will keep sending Rowland-Smith out to the mound after this latest showing by the kid from down-under.
Tonight was another great night for Justin Smoak who went 3-4 including another home run in the sixth. Smoak had an opportunity to tie the game in the top of the 8th with Lopez on third but couldn’t pick-up his fourth hit to bring in Lopez. Either way I’m starting to like this kid Smoak who now has 10 homers on the year and looks comfortable at the plate. Josh Bard knocked one out of the park himself to tie the game in the 7th, and for a minute it looked like we would finish the comeback victory. But unfortunately Brian Sweeney gave-up a homer to Juan Riviera in the bottom half of the 7th to put the Angels up 7-6 which was the final tally.
Chris Seddon recently called-up from Tacoma, looked sharp in relief pitching out of a jam in the fourth and eventually going an inning and 2/3 of scoreless relief. I would like to see this youngster get a shot at Rowland-Smith’s spot in the rotation since it seems we are basically holding try-outs for next year at this point. One guy who really should be concerned about his job, is manager Don Wakamatsu as he continues to make questionable decisions. In this case in the top of the 9th after Langerhans received a lead-off walk in a 1-run game, Wakamatsu chose to have Josh Bard swing-away rather than lay down a bunt. Although Bard had hit a home run earlier, he was unable to advance the runner and instead hit into a double-play. This was a poor decision by the manager and adds to his list of questionable calls this year.
So the Mariners have a chance to avoid the sweep in a day game tomorrow before heading home to face the White Sox. This game did not feel so bad as by now most of us are pretty numb. Not sure how or why I’m still managing to make the time to watch the Mariners games at this point in the year with the summer weather here, but I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading! http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Chris Seddon, Don Wakamatsu, Justin Smoak, Mariners, Ryan Rowland-Smith
The Mariners lost the second game against the Angels tonight by a score of 3-2. Felix Hernandez squared off against Jered Weaver and pitched well enough to win going eight innings, but alas even a King needs more than 2 runs and 7 hits from his loyal subjects. Weaver who now moves to 9-5 on the year, kept the Mariners off-balance tonight mixing his curve and fastball up and getting outs when he needed them. Both sides had a couple of dumb base running errors that could have altered the score slightly either way.
As this season moves along I am beginning to accept that we are in some sort of extended spring training mode and thus it is all about looking at young players with an eye on 2011. As depressing as that sounds, it is easier than looking at the standings or batting averages. So tonight I focused on the swing of young Justin Smoak and was pleasantly surprised. Smoak has a nice smooth easy swing, which he used tonight to go 2-4 including a 2-run homer in the 7th. Smoak does appear to get fooled on breaking balls, but does indeed have a natural sweet swing that should bode well in the future for this club.
Michael Saunders went 2-3 at the plate, though he did get picked-off at first in what could be classified as a rookie mistake in the 5th inning. Outside of that the offense was its usual sleepy self. Not sure who has the worse approach at the plate, Gutierrez who loves to look at first pitch meat-balls, or Lopez who always looks like he is guessing no matter what the count. Casey Kotchman was put in as the DH tonight and went 0-4. Not sure if that means Milton Bradley is being given a time-out or what. Apparently Russell Branyan stubbed his toe in a hotel over the All-Star break in another bizarre Mariner development.
Looking ahead at the schedule we have two more with the Angels, a series with the red-hot White Sox, then the Red Sox, and another Series with the White Sox. The month of July could be brutal indeed for our hapless sailors as we trudge towards Seafair week. There was a time when Seattle had no major league teams and the Gold Cup Hydro races on Lake Washington was the major sporting event of the year around here. This year it looks like it will be a nice distraction from this extended spring training….http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Felix Hernandez, Hydro races, Jered Weaver, Justin Smoak, Mariners, Seafair
The Mariners picked up right where they left-off before the All-Star break losing 8-3 to the Angels tonight. Doug Fister who got the start tonight against ex-Mariner Joel Pinero went five and 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on 12 hits moving his once stellar ERA to 3.50. It may be time for folks to stop talking about Fister as if he is still recovering from his stint on the DL and realize this is perhaps the real Doug Fister. I know this may be a bit harsh but the reality is that sometimes pitchers are in a zone for a period of time during a season then they revert to their normal selves. Of course if the offense on this team could provide more than three runs for any of our starters we wouldn’t be discussing this matter. In reality unless Fister has pinpoint accuracy like he did earlier in the year, his stuff is mediocre and the good clubs like the Angels are going to score runs like they did tonight.
My highlight of the evening was when I jumped in the car and heard the voice of Ron Fairly who apparently was filling in for Dave Niehaus who is on vacation. It took me a number of years to adapt to Fairly and never thought I would miss him, but tonight it was refreshing to hear the old veteran give the play-by-play. Ron Fairly has the experience of a former player and kept the listeners informed of the basics like the score, inning, outs and little recaps of earlier developments in the game. I thought for a minute that Dave Sims had been released but soon realized that he like a lot of the players is part of the “Belief System” and gets to hold his job no matter what.
Justin Smoak went down on strikes three times tonight and finished 0-4. I know he is young and part of the bright future along with Michael Saunders and Rob Johnson, but he needs to have a decent game soon before he drops below the Mendoza line. The local media seem to believe that if you are young and are hitting .202 it will always get better at some point later on. Perhaps the truth is that certain players like Smoak have been labeled “can’t miss prospects” for so long that we all must just go along with it until it happens, no matter what the numbers say. Don’t get me wrong veterans such as Milton “Choir boy” Bradley would be sent down as well on a contending team, but we are in the official re-building phase now. Of course that is unless you are a relief pitcher as the Mariners proved today by grabbing veteran Jamey Wright out of the AAA scrap-heap in Sacramento. Chris Seddon was also brought-up from AAA Tacoma and Sean White and Chad “Flat Hat” Cordero were shown the door.
In another astounding development Phillips Castillo the 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic received $2.2 million to sign with the Mariners! Now this kid supposedly is a phenom, but $2.2 million for a 16-year-old? This game is rapidly becoming globalized much like the rest of the world economy which is fine but somehow you have to wonder how we the fans fit into the picture. We have an apathetic owner in Japan, lots of prospects and players from Central and South America, and a lot of people out of work due to offshoring of jobs.Will fans be coming out to Safeco field on Tuesday night games if we are 20 back? Only time will tell… Oh well times are changing and I guess I will have to get hip to the scene or get left in the wake. Speaking of getting hip, I hope you noticed my new “social networking” features such as the little blue Twitter bird and the Facebook box so you can follow me around. You can also receive RSS feeds or email alerts that I posted by clicking the appropriate boxes. I am perhaps most enamored with my little Blue Tweety bird and hope to continue to update and modify this site with the help of my new tech. helper so I can keep up with the sabermetrics-crowd bloggers. Hope you are enjoying the sun, we will talk tomorrow I’m sure. http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Jamey Wright, Phillips Castillo, Ron Fairly, sabermetrics-crowd