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July 8, 2007 at 12:41 PM

Mariners vs. A’s, series finale

Jason Ellison just went up several points in my book, doing the good old Canadian hockey thing of “dropping his gloves” and taking on a guy much larger than him when he went after A’s starter Joe Blanton. Blanton had just shoved Ichiro out of the way in going after an errant throw that scooted away from the catcher on a three-run double by Raul Ibanez in the seventh inning. Ichiro had just scored and was walking towards the dugout, watching the field and unaware the ball was rolling towards him.
Blanton unceremoniously shoved him out of the way. Maybe a little too vigorously. Ellison saw the shove and reacted. Throwing up his dukes — perhaps just then realizing the size disadvantage — and then hanging on for dear life as Blanton went at him. The benches cleared and Blanton didn’t win himself any friends on the Mariners by continuing to do his “bring it on” act once separated by several polayers and coaches. Felix Hernandez came out, though bullpen coach Jim Slaton alertly pulled him back. Hernandez kept jawing long distance at Blanton. Miguel Batista then came out and had to be held back when he too, apparently wanted a piece of Blanton. I don’t think Batista has had a fight since third grade. Seems more the consciencious objector type.
Blanton is out of the game. Don’t think he was tossed, probably just pulled. Order has been restored. Mariners lead 6-3 in a game they were trailing 3-2 before Ibanez’s at-bat. Ibanez just scored, as play resumed, on a Jose Guillen single. Ah, just the guy you want on the bases to restore order. Guillen. Mr. Pacifist. Let’s see if anything more takes place.
Actually, we just got word that Blanton was ejected. So was Batista. Ellison, the guy who “started” the whole brawl, stays in the game. I love it! He’s due to bat second next inning. Mariners should consider putting Ichiro in his center field spot and getting Jose Vidro into this game as a pinch-hitter. If Ellison is allowed to hit, the sparks could fly.
Yes, you’d lose the DH by moving Ichiro to center. But you’d lost it for one set of at-bats, versus another potential brawl. That’s how I see it. Maybe nothing happens. I just saw “Brian’s” note down below about that after I added the above sentence and he’s right.
Turns out it wasn’t an issue. Ellison collected his fourth hit of the game. Ichiro now up. To be honest, these A’s haven’t had much fight in them since Thursday night. Looks like they have none left now.
Blanton gave up a career high 12 hits.
The Mariners are likely a tad worried about the six runners they’ve already left on base in the first four innings here. They enter the bottom of the fourth out-hitting the A’s 7-1, but tied 1-1 on the scoreboard. More worrisome is that Ichiro has stranded four of the runners all by himself. Ichiro has been having an MVP season and did score the game’s first run, so I’ll cut him some slack. But it would be nice for the Mariners to go out with a win in a game they appear to have dominated to this point. They’ll have to do a better job of coming through in those meaningful situations.
No on the Dontrelle Willis thing to the reader who asked about him. Too much name, too little production of late. For those of you already pumped for next week’s four-gamer with the Tigers at Safeco Field, here are the starting pitchers they’ll trot out. The info just arrived here.
Thursday: LHP Andrew Miller (vs. Felix Hernandez)
Friday: RHP Jeremy Bonderman (vs. Jarrod Washburn)
Saturday: LHP Kenny Rogers (vs. Miguel Batista)
Sunday: RHP Justin Verlander (vs. Jeff Weaver)
Here’s some news hot off the presses. Mark Buehrle just re-signed with the White Sox. A four-year deal. Those sighs of relief you hear are likely coming from the Mariners front office.
Mariners are tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third. An Eric Chavez homer off Ryan Feierabend in the second erased a 1-0 lead the Mariners had taken when Ichiro tripled and scored to lead off the game. Feierabend just gave up one of those fly ball outs to center, to Shannon Stewart, that would have gotten him in trouble in Kansas City. This one becomes just a routine flyout here. He’s up near 50 pitches but almost through the third.
Big one here today because the Angels are getting hammered by the Yankees and the Cleveland Indians have already lost to the Blue Jays. So, Seattle can move to 2 1/2 out in the division race and only 1 1/2 back in the wild card standings with the win. What on earth is going on in the American League? Is the universe converging into a perfect Mariner storm?
Yuniesky Betancourt was going to be in the lineup today, but his back stiffened up very badly on him after he’d arrived here. He’s out, Willie Bloomquist is at shortstop and Jason Ellison is going to center field. Guess the Mariners read this blog as well as USS Mariner and figure they should play Ellison more than once a month. No, actually, that’s not it. John McLaren wanted to give Ichiro a “rest” so he’s the DH today. Later on, he’ll get a real day off. Just not yet. Bloomquist was going to start in center, but after Betancourt bowed out, he moved to the infield and Ellison got his opening. Hopefully, for him, he makes the most of it.
McLaren explains the moves on this audio clip.
Somebody asked McLaren whether this team is ready to contend for a playoff spot.
“We had a game plan in spring training and we’ve stuck with it and everything is on course,” McLaren said. “As a team, they knew they were ready to win. And we knew they were ready to win. And I think we’ve shown we’re capable of winning. To me, we’re only going to get better.”
Hear the audio part of that quote midway through this audio clip of McLaren’s pre-game session with the media in the dugout.
A short leash for Ryan Feierabend? Excellent idea. Though the way these A’s have been unable to hit this series — and most of the season — I wouldn’t be surprised to see Feierabend do something good here. This isn’t exactly a home run hitter’s park, so some of those fly balls he yields should stay in the field of play. But yes, if he starts messing around, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull him with the three-day break coming up.
Hello there, “Cubby”. My, you’re becoming quite the antagonist on this site, aren’t you? How’s Bartman doing? Loved heading off to Wrigley Field last month and did indeed meet and chat with “Kyle”, who was there cheering on the M’s in a very good series.
To the person who asked what I’ll write about when the M’s don’t make a July move: I’ll write about how the Mariners are running away with the division and wild-card race. Because unless the M’s brass expects the team to do just that, there is no excuse not to take the best run possible at a playoff spot now that the stars are aligning in their favor. The Angels are indeed struggling. Not falling apart, but struggling. Much of it is thanks to injuries to hitters and Ervin (can’t win on the road) Santana. How long will that last? Not sure, but I just don’t see that team collapsing. Too much good pitching. The Mariners have to strengthen themselves any way they can, both with internal and external moves. We’ve mentioned plenty of moves already, no need to go over them in every post. Let’s see how this front office handles this month. I’m very curious because I’m still not all that impressed by the moves it has made since my arrival in Seattle. Good team record or not.
I don’t know if you can hear the anthem played on television, but the ones done here over the four games have been the worst for any series I can remember covering — and that includes spring training games where singers flat out forgot the words to the Canadian anthem. The duo today, a father and his 5-year-old son, sounded like my dentist and his kid doing karioke. Did they pluck them off the street? I think they should skip anthems altogether if they aren’t going to do them properly. Some of the American Idol auditionists here this weekend were an embarassment.
Here are the lineups for today:
OAKLAND (44-43)
LF Shannon Stewart
2B Mark Ellis
CF Nick Swisher
RF Jack Cust
DH Bobby Kielty
3B Eric Chavez
1B Dan Johnson
SS Bobby Crosby
C Jason Kendall
RHP Joe Blanton
SEATTLE (48-36)
DH Ichiro
2B Jose Lopez
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Jose Guillen
1B Richie Sexson
3B Adrian Beltre
C Kenji Johjima
SS Willie Bloomquist
CF Jason Ellison
LHP Ryan Feierabend
HP Travis Reninger
1B Ted Barrett
2B Tim McClelland (crew chief)
3B Marty Foster



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