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June 16, 2007 at 4:35 PM

Mariners vs. Astros, Game 2

Another poorly pitched outing by a starter, with Cha Seung Baek chased after only four innings. The fact that Mike Hargorve felt it more important to pinch-hit Jason Ellison for Baek with one out and nobody on in the fifth, rather than have Baek work another inning, shows you just how bad he looked today. Baek was nearly out of the fourth with his pitch count in the high 60s, but by the time he was done, he’d thrown nearly 20 more and was probably not going to make it through the sixth even if his spot in the order hadn’t been due up to hit.
It was a 7-1 game at one point, but the M’s have scored three in the last two innings. That Jose Guillen homer in the sixth was an absolute bomb. The outfielder never moved. So, we’re now at 7-4. This is still a winnable game, but Ryan Feierabend absolutely has to get through the heart of the order this inning. Any more runs against and Seattle is cooked. Remember, this is not a good Astros team. Hard to tell, I know.
Honestly though, from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t look good. You can’t win with a starter who goes four innings.
Are we having fun yet? Looks like that whole Jose Vidro, Jose Lopez infield switcheroo might wind up a one-game experiment. The idea was to get Vidro’s bat into an offense that’s sleepwalking to the finish line of this road trip. So far, the M’s have gone six-up, six-down against Woody Williams.
Defensively? Don’t ask. Lopez muffed the first grounder sent his way at third base by the first Astros hitter of the night. Hunter Pence then tripled off Cha Seung Baek to score an unearned run. Pence later scored that inning to make it 2-0. The second inning began with Vidro ranging well to his left at second for a Mike Lamb grounder. Vidro got that part down well but his throw left a little to be desired. It was scored an infield hit. Brad Ausmus then singled, Williams bunted both men over and Craig Biggo crushed a Baek offering into the left field seats for a 5-0 advantage. That’s where things now stand.
Baek had another weak first inning. I asked Mike Hargrove about it and he said Baek’s numbers are being skewed by a handful of bad early starts. Run-wise perhaps, but he threw a ton of pitches in Cleveland last week despite escaping with nothing on the scoreboard in the first inning.
The Mariners are, Hargrove admitted, working with Jeff Weaver to figure out where his first innings keep going wrong. There’s definitely a problem there and they want him to put some effort into changing it. Not a good start to this game. By the way, Ichiro just drove home a run for Seattle with a single up the middle. That makes it 5-1.
These are games the M’s will look back on with regret if they don’t start turning things around. This is not a very good Astros team. But without the offense firing on all cylinders tonight, scoring seven or eight, this is not a game Seattle will win. And so far, minus Ichiro, the offense has gone AWOL.



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