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May 18, 2007 at 11:10 PM

Sexson move coming?

That makes three straight home losses by the Mariners and frankly, they keep looking worse with each one. I think it was “Kyle” that kept mentioning the dreadful runners-in-scoring position totals and it really was abysmal in tonight’s 8-1 defeat to the San Diego Padres. Nothing “brought me around” on Richie Sexson. I never advocated leaving him in the clean-up spot all year. Just didn’t want to see him benched in favor of Ben Broussard and I still don’t.
But for me, Sexson’s shortcomings tonight hurt the team more than in other games I could remember. This was a very winnable game for the Mariners before that outburst off Chris Reitsma in the eighth. Remember, the Padres didn’t score their first earned run until the seventh inning. So, all of those runners left on by Sexson strikeouts in the first and third really did hurt.
A lot more so than in other games where the score wasn’t so close at the time, or when he hit the ball hard at somebody. Sexson didn’t hit anything all that hard in this one, other than a fly ball. He barely made contact in three of his four at-bats.
Sexson was one of the few Mariners who showed their faces in the clubhouse afterwards when the media was around. That included manager Mike Hargrove, who refused to speak to reporters.
My guess is that Hargrove knows everyone will be asking him the obvious questions about Sexson and doesn’t want to reveal his next move until he talks to the slugger. Not apologizing for Hargrove, just trying to figure out his reasoning. The only question I’d have asked him was about Sexson, so if he’s not going to answer it, might as well save us all some time.
Sexson knew the boos were coming when he struck out for a third time.
“You can’t shut it out,” he said of the crowd’s reaction. “I deserve it. I’ve played horribly. All I can do is continue to work hard. It’s their right. They pay money to come to these games and watch us do well and watch us succeed. And I’m not playing well. They deserve to do whatever they want to me.”
He also isn’t sure whether a drop down in the order will help him hit better. But he figures it could help the team.
“If you get a hotter guy in there, sure it could help,” he said. “I’ve been leaving a lot of guys on base. There’s no excuse for the ways I’m leaving guys on base.”
Sexson made it clear he’d never ask Hargrove to demote him. This one is strictly Hargrove’s call to make and the move is begging to be done. He has given Sexson all the leeway he possibly could, so this isn’t a case of abandoning a slugger.
But if a demotion further down was good enough for Adrian Beltre, it should be good enough for Sexson. At least until he gets his confidence back.
The Mariners are now four games behind the Angels, who are slowly starting to pull away. You don’t want the gap to become five and then six. Statistics show that once that happens, regaining the ground becomes very difficult for about 90 per cent of teams. This isn’t 1995 and the Mariners have to find a way to keep pace.
“We’ve got to start playing better baseball,” said Jose Vidro, who drove in the team’s only run. “(Thursday) night was really ugly and tonight, we ran into a guy throwing the ball pretty good and couldn’t put much offense out there.
“But yeah, we’ve got to start playing better baseball if we want to compete.”
And they have to do it with their biggest bat having gone AWOL.



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