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July 5, 2007 at 9:13 PM

Hurting M’s lose tough one

There was a whole lot of hurting going on in the visitors clubhouse here that wasn’t only about a 3-2 loss to the Oakland A’s. Richie Sexson looked like he just played Aussie Rules Football, his sore left hand wrapped in ice along with his left foot — which he’d fouled a pitch off of early in the game.
What did his manager think about Sexson?
“He couldn’t have scored on a base-hit tonight if his life depended on it,” John McLaren said.
McLaren wasn’t dissing Sexson. He knows just how much pain some of his players are in. Raul Ibanez has his leg wrapped up tight after every game to offset a sore hamstring. Kenji Johjima’s hand is still sore and it looked it tonight on that bunt attempt he fouled out on in that critical fourth inning situation. He also hit into a double play and he and Sexson grounded out to the wrong side of the infield after a leadoff double by Jose Guillen in the sixth.
When Guillen is one of your healthiest players, you know the team is in trouble. The Mariners are trying to make it to the All-Star Break without giving back all the ground they just gained in June. Three losses in the last four nights aren’t helping and Seattle faces a challenge to win any games here before Sunday. Dan Haren takes his league-leading ERA into tomorrow night’s game, while Rich Harden makes his first start Saturday since coming off the DL. I’m told that Harden has looked great in his relief outings and that does not spell good news for the Mariners.
They do play these games on the field, as we’ve learned from watching the M’s these past few weeks. But they will need to turn their game up a notch from what we saw here and in Kansas City. Those are some good pitchers the Mariners will face the next two games and Joe Blanton on Sunday is no stiff either.
“It’s hard when you lose a game like this,” Guillen said. “That’s a team you can’t give any momentum to with a tie score. You’ve just got to make sure you take advantage.”
Guillen wasn’t happy with himself for bobbling that single to right that scored Shannon Stewart from second base in the third inning.
“I should have caught that ball and thrown the guy out easy,” Guillen said. “You cannot give those guys a chance to come back.”
Hear the rest of what Guillen had to say in this audio clip.
Miguel Batista was pretty upset with himself after those home runs he gave up. Not because of the way he executed the pitches. He just didn’t want to throw them in the first place.
“They weren’t bad pitches at all, they were stupid decisions I would say,” Batista said, claiming he wanted to throw a different type of fastball both times but failed to shake off catcher Johjima. “I just didn’t stick to my game plan and they did a good piece of hitting.”
“If you’ve got your mind set to do something, you’ve just got to do it,” he said, adding that he’d wanted a fastball more on the outer half of the plate. “It doesn’t matter what everbody says. I’m known for being stubborn. When people tell me ‘You’ve got to throw this pitch I say ‘Hell no, I’m going to throw whatever the hell I want.’ Most of the times, I get the throws that I want. You’d better throw a pitch that you believe in than one you don’t have any confidence in.”
Hear the rest of this engaging interview right here.
McLaren summed it up nicely in a post-game session you can listen to right here.
“I’m sure Miggy’s disappointed because he threw the ball well tonight and gave up a couple of home runs,” he said. “He did his job, believe me. Kept us in the ball game and gave us a chance to win. We just couldn’t get anything going tonight.”
Is the season done? Not by a long shot. But as we’ve mentioned all week, the M’s can’t let up before the break. They’re in tough these next couple of nights after Kelvim Escobar and the Angels shut down Texas to move back to 4 1/2 games up in the AL West. Detroit beat up on Cleveland to move 2 1/2 up on Seattle in the wild-card standings. The M’s don’t want to lose too much more ground before the break and could really help themselves by salvaging a split of this series. Yes, I know they still have a chance to win three of four, but I’m simply being realistic. What they don’t want to do is drop three of four and the way the pitching is stacking up opponents-wise, it will happen if Seattle keeps playing like it did tonight.
Chad Gaudin is good. But he’s no Haren or Harden. The M’s overcame some tough pitching last weekend against Toronto and they’ll have to do it once again here.

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