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

July 20, 2007 at 3:56 PM

Mariners vs. Blue Jays, Game 1

A nice strikeout by Sean Green on Aaron Hill to end the sixth inning. I expect to see Green back out there in the seventh, his team up 4-2. Another bend, but don’t break night for Miguel Batista, giving up two runs over 5 2/3 innings. Let’s see if the bullpen can close things out yet again.
Wow, I can see John Gibbons hasn’t lost his old Texas temper. Really had it in for the umpires that last inning. It was funny to see him blow off plate umpire Chuck Meriwether completely in going after Tim Timmons at first base. Another long two months ahead for Toronto. For Seattle, things continue to look up. The Angels are losing yet again, this time to the Twins. Can Seattle get to within a game of first place?
Big developments here, with the Mariners now leading 4-1 in the fifth inning to knock Jesse Litsch from the game. Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer in the fourth to put Seattle ahead and Raul Ibanez — yes him — and Jose Guillen just singled home runs here in the fifth. Miguel (The Magician) Batista survived that second inning and has allowed only one hit through four.
So, here’s the Mark Lowe news I promised you. He pitched yesterday, allowing one one hit and striking out one in a scoreless sixth inning for Class AA West Tennessee against Mobile. Lowe is to pitch again tomorrow and the team will see how he feels.
I asked GM Bill Bavasi about whether Lowe is a week or two away. He looked at me and said “not weeks, we’re talking a few days”. That’s certainly good news. Bavasi said he doubted Lowe’s velocity and command will be the same up here as it was last season. But he feels it will return once he starts pitching in the big leagues again.
“Usually, that stuff doesn’t come around until a guy starts pitching here,” he said.
Interesting and very positive development on that front.
So, I had a chance to chat with Jose Vidro before the game and asked him about how he’s upped his doubles total by about 40 percent in the past two weeks. Vidro says he’s been spending more time in the batting cage, working on using his hands more during soft-toss sessions. He hasn’t changed his approach all that much at the plate but is trying to hit the ball on a line more than on the ground. Vidro also gave credit to the hitting by Jose Guillen behind him in the order and Ichiro getting on base, for him seeing a lot of hittable pitches.
“I hit a lot of line drives in the first half,” he said. “Most of my hits were bloopers and the line drives I hit in the gap were getting caught.”
Hear all of what Vidro said on this pre-game audio.
So, I asked John McLaren pre-game about any possible lineup tinkering in coming days. Here’s what he told me.
“I’m not going to say it’s not going to happen,” he said. “But I’d like to stay with more or less a consistent lineup.”
He did add this: “If certain people get hot, we might make some (lineup) adjustments. So, I’ll let you figure that one out.”
Hello Richie Sexson.
Hi everyone! What a crazy day of back and forth. I’ll be updating this post shortly, but I wanted you to have the lineups. Also, the rotation has been altered, with Felix Hernandez now starting on Sunday, on his normal four days of rest. Horacio Ramirez goes on Monday in Texas.
Miguel Batista is through the first two innings — barely. He walked the bases loaded, throwing 12 straight balls. He then survived a foul ball down the first base line that was foul by about an inch — if at all. If not, it’s a three-run double. Instead, he got a double-play grounder off Gregg Zaun. Been doing that all season, loads of base runners, minimal damage. So, it’s 1-0 for Toronto after two.
Richie Sexson was really getting it in the on-deck circle form a fan in the second inning. “Hey, Richie! You can’t even hit your weight, you’re brutal!” one leather-lunged patron screamed at a level audible throughout the park.
Sexson responded by drilling an infield hit off pitcher Jesse Litsch. I’ll tell you what, the M’s might be in trouble this series. The ball carries a lot better here than at Safeco Field and the infield turf doesn’t slow grounders up as much. We’ll see. So far, the Mariners haven’t touched Litsch. Could be another of those young pitchers that gives Seattle fits the first time around.
Also, expect Mark Lowe to possibly come back next week. More on that later.
TORONTO (46-49)
LF Reed Johnson
RF Alex Rios
CF Vernon Wells
3B Troy Glaus
DH Frank Thomas
1B Lyle Overbay
2B Aaron Hill
C Gregg Zaun
SS John McDonald
RHP Jesse Litsch
SEATTLE (53-39)
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Jose Guillen
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Richie Sexson
C Kenji Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
RHP Miguel Batista
HP Chuck Meriwether
1B Tim Timmons
3B Chad Fairchild
3B Rick Reed (crew chief)



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