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June 11, 2007 at 4:01 PM

Mariners vs. Indians, makeup game

Some of you have asked about the availability of J.J. Putz. We asked Mike Hargrove about it before the game and he said it would depend on how Putz felt. Seeing how Hargrove left George Sherrill in for one batter too many to start this eighth inning off, I’m thinking he really doesn’t want to use him.
But if push comes to shove, will he? I think he will. Brandon Morrow just walked the bases loaded with nobody out in the eighth. It’s going to be awfully tough for him to close out the ninth at the rate he’s going. We may see Putz yet. Then again, if Morrow keeps this up, it may all become a moot point.
Some of you are wondering why Sean Green was pulled so early. The answer is that the Mariners could not afford to have Cleveland’s best hitter, Travis Hafner, make it a one-run game, or put the Tribe ahead, with another hit. So, George Sherrill comes in, gets a pop out, and the Mariners bullpen show survives another inning.
That’s three relief pitchers used so far, with three innings to go, because Baek lasted only 5 1/3 frames. He gave up five runs after taking a 7-0 lead into the fifth. This is not effective starting pitching. A contending team needs better than this. We could see five relievers work tonight’s game for the win and that’s too many. The question now is, do you bring Brandon Morrow in to work two innings, or give George Sherrill 1 1/3 innings? I’d go with the latter. Sherrill has shown he can be effective going more than one and you don’t want to burn out Morrow’s arm. There’s a lefty due up third next inning. I’d say Sherrill works the seventh, Morrow the eighth and J.J. closes it out. But that’s nine tough outs in a 7-5 game at the moment. By the way, Raul Ibanez just led off the seventh with a triple. Make that 11 total bases for him in this game. Boy, does Seattle ever need another run here.
Well, that was an interesting fifth inning. Not just because the Indians scored three runs to make it a 7-3 game, Seattle still leading. Also because Cha-Seung Baek’s pitch count is already at 96. I suspect we’ll see him back out there in the sixth, at least until another runner gets on or he gets up to 110 pitches. The Mariners had Brandon Morrow up and throwing in the bullpen that inning. Probably was going to come in to shut down the situation had the Indians managed another two-out hit and brought the tying run to the plate. The Mariners can’t go through another five-inning, or 5 1/3-inning start from a pitcher after he took a 7-0 lead into the fifth.
The situation is still under control right now. I wonder if Jake Woods sees any action in this game. Probably not what you want if it’s only 7-3. Why are there so many seagulls in the outfield tonight? Maybe because Trot Nixon is playing like crap? Seriously, I don’t know. And Nixon’s error here in the top of the sixth was only his first in 114 games, so yes, I’m just using him to be funny. Mariners chased Paul Byrd after four innings. First time all year Byrd hasn’t gone six. The 11 hits off Byrd tied his career high, done three other times. This one isn’t over yet, though. Get “Jim” back from Vegas before it’s too late.
M’S UP 7-0
Indians are wondering what hit them. It’s 7-0 for the M’s, who are outhitting the Tribe 11-2 after just 3 1/2 innings. Raul Ibanez and Jose Lopez homered off Paul Byrd in the third inning and Ibanez did it again in the fourth. Hey, if this is how Byrd pitches when he’s steamed, the Mariners should get him angry more often.
Cha Seung Baek looked a whole lot better the last two innings. Except for when he bobbled the grounder in the second, but he got away it after only a few more pitches. He’s up to 56 now, much better than 27 through one.
Nice of you to check in down below “Jim”. I liked the Lopez grounder the other day as well. Thing is, Jose Vidro hits that type of ball to the right side several times per week when his team needs it. If all we’re looking for is a contact guy who can move the runners over, Vidro does a nice job. And Lopez did hit the homer in the No. 8 spot tonight. Had none in the No. 2 spot. Does that mean anything?
To answer your other questions, no I am not bullpen obsessed. But I also know the team cannot continue on this path of having the bullpen pitch 20-to-25 innings per week. You’ve got three relievers on the DL, one of them, Reitsma, who might have been rushed back too quickly from his last DL stint because the bullpen was desperate. Things are so bad that a guy with an ERA higher than 7.00 at Class AAA is in the bullpen tonight. So bad that Mike Hargrove used a starter in relief on his throwing day for the first time in his 16-year managerial career. Believe me, a few people in the Mariners front office and coaching staff are very preoccupied with the bullpen these days.
By the way, the M’s winning big here would be an upset. Maybe not Jets over the Colts in the Super Bowl kind of upset. But the Indians are 21-7 at home. They beat the Mariners here the last time and were no-hitting them in that snowed-out game in April. I realize winning one game is far easier than a series, but the Mariners have had a far tougher travel sked than the Indians and this was no gimme.
Hey, I hope you did bet the game in Vegas. You’d have made some money. Who do you like in the Cubs series?
So, just your typical 27-pitch first inning delivered by Mr. Cha Seung Baek. The big difference tonight is, he didn’t yield any runs. Left the bases loaded when he got a fairly deep flyball out to left center. The fact that Raul Ibanez caught it, rather than Ichiro, tells you the ball wasn’t hit all that dangerously. But right fielder Jose Guillen had a much more troublesome screamer hit his way to lead things off and he did a terrific job of catching it despite the early evening shadows here. Another out was recorded at the warning track in left.
Normally, I’d be very worried about the starter at this point. But hey, it’s Baek. That rally might be the best one the Indians get off him all night. Let’s see if he settles down, changes speeds a little more and moves his pitches around. Usually works for him. But he does need to cut down on his pitches or we’ll be seeing three or four more innings by the bullpen. Still 1-0 for the M’s, who have four singles off Paul Byrd already with two out and one on in the top of the second.
The Mariners are one tired bunch heading into tonight. They didn’t land here until 12:15 a.m. this morning and are naturally a little jet-lagged. They also are not looking forward to the prospect of having to go to Chicago tomorrow. You already know the story on Chris Reitsma. Here’s another: Jose Lopez is out of the No. 2 spot in the order. That’s right, Jose Vidro is back in the lineup for this AL game and gets his spot back. Lopez will likely be back to hitting second tomorrow. He is 13-for-33 (.394) with two doubles and 10 runs batted in as the No. 2 hitter since being put there eight days ago.
This first inning will be a key for Cha Seung Baek, who has allowed 11 of his 32 runs in the opening frame.
By the way, Ichiro just led off the game with a single. That’s one more hit for the M’s than they had through nearly five innings off Paul Byrd in that snowed out game back in April. And…a “tired” Jose Guillen just drove Ichiro home with a one-out single for a 1-0 lead. That was the final score of yesterday’s Cleveland loss to the Reds. They got a real tongue-lashing from manager Eric Wedge about their offensive approach in that game. Let’s see how Baek does. But a good start by Seattle.
The lineups:
CF Grady Sizemore
LF Jason Michaels
3B Casey Blake
DH Travis Hafner
SS Jhonny Peralta
1B Ryan Garko
RF Trot Nixon
2B Josh Barfield
C Kelly Shoppach
RHP Paul Byrd
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
LF Raul Ibanez
C Kenji Johjima
1B Ben Broussard
3B Adrian Beltre
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
RHP Cha Seung Baek



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