Here are tonight’s lineups:
12 Jason Ellison CF
19 Kevin Frandsen SS
14 Frederick Lewis LF
7 Pedro Feliz 3B
21 Ryan Klesko 1B
56 Chad Santos DH
68 Justin Leone RF
50 Eliezer Alfonzo C
43 Tomas De La Rosa 2B
LHP Jonathan Sanchez
51 Ichiro CF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
5 Jose Vidro DH
28 Raul Ibanez LF
44 Richie Sexson 1B
64 Jeff Clement C
12 Mike Morse RF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
3 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
RHP Jeff Weaver
Now, we know how those Cubs fans felt today when the M’s stiffed them with a skeleton crew. But hey, it’s all worth it if I can watch one of my name favorites, Eliezer Alfonzo, in action for a few innings. Love those Biblical monickers from Latin America. Where’s Abraham Nunez when you need him?
WHERE’S PUTZ WHEN YOU NEED HIM?
Ah, another fine question the Mariners will be asking if their closer isn’t back on a mound soon. J.J. Putz threw 25 pitches off a mound today, but unfortunately, it was only in the bullpen. The normally talkative Rafael Chaves, pitching coach extraordinaire, was unusually tight-lipped when I asked him about it. I practically had to pry the 25-pitch part from Chaves’ lips, as well as the fact Putz threw only fastballs.
Is there something else going on here?
The Mariners say they will re-evaluate Putz tomorrow morning. Here’s what they didn’t say: “J.J. looked great! Felt strong! Should be back out there in a few days! All went well!”
Any of the above cliches would have done the job. But Chaves didn’t do that. Maybe he is just being overly cautious. The team loves to cite new federal medical regulations surrounding injury information disclosures, but that doesn’t really seem to apply here. Doesn’t prevent a pitching coach from saying what he saw from a pitcher in a bullpen. Or how many pitches were thrown. Or when that pitcher will get another bullpen session — assuming Putz has a normal, post-throwing recovery by tomorrow.
Bottom line is, until the team clears things up, I’d put this one under the “still worried” heading.
UPDATE: WEAVER TAKEN DEEP
The best thing that can be said about Jeff Weaver’s first inning is that he got ahead of the hitters. Problem is, he was 1-2 on Frandsen before the latter lined a ball into right field. Weaver then got up 0-2 on Pedro Feliz, then saw the next offering blasted well beyond the fence in left.
His very next pitch was then drilled to the deepest part of center by Ryan Klesko. But Ichiro was there to make his second catch of the inning. So, it’s 2-0 for the Giants heading into the bottom of the first.
By the way, if you thought today’s 9-3 loss taken by an unofficial Mariners’ “B” squad is sitting well with the team, think again. M’s manager Mike Hargrove was in a rather foul mood after the game. Something about too many defensive lapses and miscues. Seattle is 4-11 in Cactus League play, 4-12 if you count the Charity Game loss to San Diego. It doesn’t matter as much when the scores are close, but too many ugly ones and it wears on the nerves.
Mariners loaded the bases with only one out against Sanchez, but Sexson popped out to second base on the very first pitch he saw. Lots of moaning and groaning in the stands. Sexson is now 2-for-22 this spring. Clement then struck out on a 1-2 fastball up around his ears to end the first. It’s only March 15…
YUNI TIES IT UP
This has the makings of a high-scoring affair, as Betancourt got hold of a 1-0 pitch from Sanchez and deposited it on to the grassy slope beyond the fence in left. Lopez was aboard at the time, having drawn a one-out walk, so it’s a two-run shot for Betancourt and a 2-2 game after two. The inning ended with Ibanez taking a called third strike with runners at the corners.
Weaver had a much better second inning, retiring the side in order and fanning name-guy Alfonzo to end the frame. Beltre now has two hits, a double down the left field line in the first inning and an infield single towards shortstop in the second.
Vidro has reached base twice his first two plate appearances with a walk in the first and a single to right in the second. He entered the night with a .387 on-base-percentage.
Here are tonight’s lineups: