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

June 27, 2007 at 12:35 PM

Mariners vs. Red Sox, series finale

Wow, did Richie Sexson ever go from hero to goat in the span of 24 hours. He’s been a black hole today and none more so than in that ninth inning when, with runners at the corners and only one out, he hit that pop-up in foul territory out behind first base. On the first-pitch at that. Ichiro had no choice but to hold at third, where he ended the inning on a Ben Broussard ground out.
I thought that third base coach Carlos Garcia made the right call in not waving Ichiro around on that single to right by Jose Vidro. Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew threw a rifle-armed shot to home plate that almost certainly would have nabbed Ichiro in time. The ball hit by Vidro was a bullet. Any softer and Ichiro might have had a chance to score. But not in this case.
Jason Davis continued the excellent bullpen work by pitching through the 10th. On to the bottom of the inning, Seattle’s third crack at extras this year. Jason Ellison leads off. Not exactly your prime choice in an extra-inning affair, but that’s what happens. Could be interesting if he gets on, quick as he is. It’s the getting on part he has trouble with.
This is a different Mike Hargrove we’ve seen manage the past six weeks than the one who began the season. Earlier this year, Hargrove seemed loathe to use his late-inning relievers in high leverage situations before the eighth. Not lately and today was the latest case in point. Boston finally tied the game, 1-1, after a throwing error by Sean Green in the seventh.
But when Green walked Dustin Pedroia — and you guys are right, that’s a very silly thing to do ahead of David Ortiz — Hargrove went to George Sherrill right away with Ortiz up. Sherrill got Ortiz on a flyout and then Hargrove brought Brandon Morrow in to retire Manny Ramirez on a flyball.
Only thing is, Hargrove now needs Morrow to work multiple innings. He’s not always at his best in such cases. Let’s see how the eighth goes. Daisuke Matsuzaka just got through the seventh and still has a two-hitter.
That was nearly a lethal mistake made by Ryan Feierabend in the fifth inning when, with two out, he walked No. 9 hitter Julio Lugo — a guy mired in an 0-for-30 slump. Feierabend then yielded a double to left by Coco Crisp that took a funny hop off the short wall in foul territory. The M’s are fortunate that the Red Sox played things conservatively and didn’t wave the speedy Lugo around third to test Ben Broussard’s arm from left. But they had some pretty good hitters due up. Dustin Pedroia drew a walk to load the bases.
David Ortiz came up next and worked the count to 3-1 in his favor. Feierabend threw a pitch right down the heart of the strike zone to put the count full. Ortiz didn’t like the call, but it looked good to me. With the stadium crowd then on its feet, Feierabend got Ortiz to chase ball four and bounce out to second. It was the 99th pitch of the day by Feierabend and the way Manny Ramirez has scorched two lineouts to center off him today, I wouldn’t bring the lefty out to face him again to lead off the sixth.
So, that should be it for Feierabend today. Goes five innings and has a 1-0 lead. I think he’ll take it. That Ortiz grounder, by the way, was the first out Feierabend recorded on the ground all day. The M’s should be feeling fortunate to have shut out their opponents to this point but there remains a lot of baseball to be played. Just think about this though: how many of you would have thought the Mariners could sweep the Red Sox with no starter making it through at least six innings? That won’t happen too often. The Angels, by the way, are down to their last half inning in trying to avoid a sweep to the Royals.
That was a huge third inning for Ryan Feierabend, dodging a major league bullet when he got David Ortiz to pop out to left with two on. Manny Ramirez was standing in the on-deck circle and you don’t want a southpaw facing him with the bases juiced. Ortiz narrowly missed hitting a three-run homer, then worked the count full before Feierabend got him on his 53rd pitch of the day. Feierabend will be fortunate to go six innings today. He’s had trouble putting away some of the better Boston hitters and has benefitted from some solid defense and that caught-stealing play on Coco Crisp in the first inning.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is the real deal here this afternoon. Breezed through the first six Seattle hitters, striking out four, and looks like the guy we all thought we were going to see in those first two outings at Fenway Park. So, the M’s won’t be able to rely on shoddy Red Sox pitching in this one — at least not as quickly as they did the past two games.
Interesting that Kenji Johjima isn’t playing, given that there’s an off-day tomorrow. I also wonder about the communication thing and whether they want Feierabend working with Jamie Burke. Because Johjima does have good numbers off Dice-K, both in Japan (32-for-118, five homers and 11 RBI) and so far this season — with two doubles in six at-bats. Burke just notched Seattle’s first hit, a two-out double in the third, and Ichiro drove him home with a single flared into center.
So, forget all about that Johjima talk and make it 1-0 for the M’s in the third.
Seattle goes for the series sweep this afternoon against Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Boston Red Sox. We’ll see whether Ryan Feierabend does better when his own fans aren’t booing him for throwing over to first base. Hey, it’s been at least 24 hours since I reminded you all how the M’s dropped that series finale in Anaheim a month ago. Thanks to “Kaz” for the reminder.
Mark Lowe threw a one-inning, 15-pitch simulated game here this morning, about an hour ago. No one swung at any of Lowe’s 88-89 mph fastballs. He’ll throw another simulated game on Saturday and then go out on a rehab assignment. He’ll have at least three rehab outings of an inning apiece. While he could rejoin the M’s before the all-star break, he’ll most likely do so afterwards. No, he’s not throwing 97 mph yet, but that’s going to take time.
“I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all,” Lowe told me afterwards. “It didn’t seem like I hadn’t faced one (a hitter) in nine months.” Listen to my chat with Lowe
in this audio clip.
Interesting news on the Mark Buehrle front, with the Chicago Sun-Times reporting that he’s about to be offered an extension by the club. This wouldn’t necessarily rule out a trade. In fact, it could make Buehrle more attractive to potential suitors, since they’d know the parameters of any future deal beyond 2007. Of course, both sides (Buehrle and a new team) would have to agree to keep that deal in-place after a trade, since Buehrle would technically be able to opt out of any contract after 2007 if dealt to another club. But I suspect we haven’t heard the last of him. Here’s what the rival Chicago paper had to say.
Here are today’s lineups:
CF Coco Crisp
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
LF Manny Ramirez
1B Kevin Youkilis
3B Mike Lowell
C Jason Varitek
RF Wily Mo Pena
SS Julio Lugo
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka
CF Ichiro
2B Jose Lopez
DH Jose Vidro
1B Richie Sexson
LF Ben Broussard
RF Jose Guillen
3B Adrian Beltre
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
C Jamie Burke
LHP Ryan Feierabend
HP Brian Knight
1B Tim Welke
2B Jim Reynolds
3B Gary Cederstrom



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