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

July 6, 2007 at 6:59 PM

Mariners vs A’s, Game 2

Wouldn’t you know that the day I write a blog stating that Jose Vidro as a DH isn’t looking like a good idea, he comes through with a two-run double that puts Seattle up 3-1 in the seventh? Raul Ibanez then drove Vidro home with a single off Joe Kennedy to make it a 4-1 game. Jason Ellison in to pinch-run. What’s next, is Ellison (another blog mention from earlier today) going to steal second, third and home? Vidro hit the kind of line drive to the gap that he needs plenty more of to be effective in Seattle. Maybe this is the start of something for him. He ends Dan Haren’s night. Eric O’Flaherty pitched a superb 1-2-3 sixth inning and is now in a position to win the game.
This team is worried about Vidro, trust me. There have been internal discussions about him. He has to get it going or he won’t be the DH long into the second half. Tonight’s game is obviously a start. This would be a huge win for the M’s against a very tough starter.
It had looked as if, for the second ttime in two nights, John McLaren was going to send a starter back out with his pitch count at or near 100. Jeff Weaver took the mound at 99 pitches here in the sixth. But before Nick Swisher could step in and hit, McLaren had lefty Eric O’Flaherty enter the game. Only four hits allowed by Weaver and the lone run. That part is good. But Dan Haren is in position to go seven innings. Weaver went just five. In a 1-1 game, that could prove the difference.
With Jack Cust due to bat second in the inning, the M’s wanted a left hander out there. He’s the kind of guy who could take Weaver deep.
Nice to actually get a pitcher’s duel two nights in a row when we call for it, though Jeff Weaver won’t be long for this game with his pitch count already at 94 with two on and two out here in the fifth. Not putting away No. 9 hitter Jason Kendall here in the fifth really cost him because he’s thrown a bunch of extra pitches already and likely won’t go six. He’s taken the count full on a number of hitters tonight and that could prove his undoing.
It’s still a 1-1 tie, with the A’s equalizing in the fourth on a Dan Johnson double with two out. Only guy doing anything off Dan Haren is Adrian Beltre, who has two of Seattle’s four hits. Haren is at 84 pitches through five. The one thing Seattle doesn’t want to do is go a quick 1-2-3 in the sixth. Do that, and he’ll go seven.
Here are the new ESPN Power Rankings, with Seattle jumping from 9th to 6th.
To “nullinmagnolia” no, Jason Davis wasn’t a Rule 5 pick. The Mariners traded a Venezuelan Summer League prospect to the Indians to get him. So, we’ll know in five years or so whether the M’s got hosed. I doubt it. Davis has gotten them some major league outs they needed during late wins this season. Not many, but a few more than they’d have had without him.
“Shimon” you are right, Davis was DFA. I’d corrected it lower down before you wrote in. Simply too much going on today, typing too fast and had a brain cramp.
We’re underway here, with the Mariners up 1-0 after two innings on an Adrian Beltre solo homer in the second. Beltre had been just 2-for-24 in an 0-2 count before homering off Dan Haren in that at-bat. Jeff Weaver has pitched very well so far, allowing a single over his first two frames. Angels lost that slugfest in New York, 14-9, so the M’s have a good chance to get closer tonight. Detroit ripped the Red Sox, so the M’s need a win to keep pace in the wild-card standings.
Lots of moves to tell you about. Chris Reitsma was activated, as we expected. He’ll be the eighth inning set-up guy right away, with Brandon Morrow going back to working the seventh. We’ll see if this works out. If it doesn’t, to answer the question I saw in the previous thread, then I think the Mariners would make a move later this month.
“He’s a veteran,” Mariners manager John McLaren said. “He can throw his breaking ball behind in the count. He’s closed before and I just think it’s a good role for him.”
For now, Reitsma is the guy bridging the gap, along with George Sherrill, to J.J. Putz in the ninth. Jason Davis, somewhat surprisingly, was deesignated for assignment. The M’s have 10 days to trade him, outright him to Class AAA or relkease him. Trying to move him to Class AAA could lead to Davis being claimed on waivers. With pitching so scarce, that’s very likely. But the Mariners want to keep three lefties, meaning Ryan Rowland-Smith gets to stick around.
McLaren expanded pre-game about his team’s current banged up state and about how the early snowouts in Cleveland impacted the team’s first-half profoundly.
“I think we lost a little edge that we had,” he said. “We lost a little edge coming out of spring training in great shape.”
The team, he added, has shaken off the slow start and now has to find a way to play more consistently as it tries to stay in the race.
“We’re knocking on the door right now and we need to take that next step,” he said.
Listen to that McLaren clip and more here on audio.
As we mentioned, this team is banged up. Richie Sexson is getting a night off, while Ben Broussard plays first. And Jose Lopez is also sitting tonight, with Willie Bloomquist starting at second. The backups, as we’ve mentioned, will be playing more in the McLaren era. Someone asked me last night whether Lopez was scuffling because of lingering effects from learning of his brother’s death. While I have no doubt it has impacted him greatly, I’ve seen no sign of it affecting him in the clubhouse. He is still the same smiling, easy going guy I saw before. Hangs out with teammates and isn’t off brooding by himself. I think staying with the team has been a welcome distraction for him. McLaren feels the heat in Kansas City sucked the energy out of Lopez and wants him to recuperate for a night.
Ran into Horacio Ramirez, who threw six innings of one-run, one-hit ball for Class AAA Tacoma on Thursday night. Allowed a solo homer, walked one and fanned three. He’ll get one more start for Rookie level Peoria — with McLaren planning to watch — and then be re-activated after the break. That’s the plan. He’s excited. Says his arm feels much better than it did before he went on the DL.
“A lot better,” he said. “There’s no pain, no discomfort.”
Listen to Ramirez on audio.
We’ll see if a Jeff Weaver type rebound is in the cards.
The lineups:
OAKLAND (44-41)
LF Shannon Stewart
CF Mark Kotsay
RF Nick Swisher
DH Jack Cust
1B Dan Johnson
2B Mark Ellis
SS Bobby Crosby
3B Marco Scutaro
C Jason Kendall
RHP Dan Haren
SEATTLE (46-36)
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Jose Guillen
1B Ben Broussard
3B Adrian Beltre
C Kenji Johjima
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
2B Willie Bloomquist
RHP Jeff Weaver
HP Tim McClelland (crew chief)
1B Marty Foster
3B Ted Barrett
2B Travis Renninger



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