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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

April 17, 2007 at 9:19 PM

Twins 11, Mariners 2, final

Not much to say about this one if you’re a Mariners fan. The pitchers got rocked and the hitters were shut down when it mattered. All the talk tomorrow, I’m sure, will be about Mariners starter Jeff Weaver giving up the grand slam and leaving with a 7-2 deficit after six.
Weaver did not pitch as badly as his final line looks. He was within an inch or so of getting out of that fifth inning, which anyone watching television and having any lip-reading skills could have seen. He was miffed. It was that close.
All that said, that was still an awful lot of extra-base power allowed by Weaver. In two games so far, over a grand total of just eight innings, he has allowed eight doubles, one triple and two home runs. The hitters are connecting and a lot of it has to do with Weaver’s command. He falls behind in counts too often, then tries to come in and gets bombed.
Or, he gets ahead in counts and throws a mistake pitch like the one Hunter unloaded on. Control was plaguing him this spring and he has to figure it out. Would I give up on him now and start skipping the fifth spot? No, not yet. We have to remember, he didn’t make his debut until April 10. Now, he just pitched in his second game on six days’ rest. He is not on his regular schedule. It’s not a total excuse, but it’s still enough of one to let him go out again and see what he’s got. There were some positives from Weaver tonight after that rough first inning and before the five-run fifth.
He allowed just two hits — albeit doubles — in innings two through four. But he got out of those nicely. He was one strike away from pitching out of that rather tough jam in the fifth with only one run allowed. Had he done that, we’d be talking in the morning about how Weaver “showed us something”.
That won’t happen now. But it’s something to work off of. He still has a lot to figure out.
On the offensive side, Jose Vidro continues to swing a hot bat. Even his outs were being hit a long way and hard. That’s the good news. Not much else. Jose Lopez hitting his first homer and Ichiro continuing to swing well bodes nicely for the near future.
But this does not seem to be a team that can crawl out of a big early hole. When the Mariners have gotten behind early in games, they’ve shown little indication of being able to get back in it. Against the type of pitching Minnesota has, it would be very difficult even for a team that makes such comebacks a habit.
Ramon Ortiz is now 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA and all of those wins were legit. Who would have thought that? Tomorrow night’s game is huge for the Mariners. Felix Hernandez is having a special start to the season, but Carlos Silva of the Twins is no slouch either. This could be one whale of a game and it’s no gimme for the M’s, who face the prospect of Johan Santana on Thursday.
The Mariners can’t afford to have starters dig them these holes, plain and simple. When that happens, the team will lose.

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