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

July 23, 2007 at 3:34 PM

Mariners vs. Rangers, game 1

We’re now tied 3-3 in the fifth inning. Richie Sexson is still hitless, Horacio Ramirez has been getting hit and that wasted first inning shot at some add-on runs is looming rather large. I disagree that the runner was out at home. Kenji Johjima didn’t do a good enough job at taking the plate away from Mark Teixeira and it looked to me like he got his hand down before Johjima applied the tag to his shoulder. It was close. Shouldn’t have been.
I don’t know about the fielding on the double. That ball was ripped.
As one reader wrote to me in email moments ago, why is it assumed that Raul Ibanez would become the DH over Jose Vidro in a promotion of Adam Jones to the Seattle outfield? You know, the way the two are hitting right now, with Ibanez slumping and Vidro — who tied the game with a single in the fourth — is drilling everything in sight, I wouldn’t assume anything.
M’S BLOW CHANCE
A very strange start to this game. The Mariners essentially don’t score with the bases loaded and nobody out after grabbing the 2-0 lead. Richie Sexson strikes out on a pitch well out of the zone and down in the dirt. Kenji Johjima hits into the inning-ending double play, as contact hitters sometimes do. But the inning more of less fizzles out starting with Sexson. He is really an enormous hole in the lineup right now.
Let’s see how Kevin Millwood does this inning. Like I said: he’s done this first-inning folderoo before, then done a complete turnaround. Horacio Ramirez gave up some well hit balls in that inning, so this game may not be over yet. But it is a 2-0 lead for Seattle. The M’s had done everything right — and Millwood everything wrong — until Sexson’s at-bat.
SCORELESS STREAK ENDS
That didn’t take very long, did it? The 22-inning scoreless streak is over and done with after the first five Mariners reach base. It’s now 2-0, both runs knocked in by Jose Guillen on a single. Kevin Millwood has loaded the bases with nobody out, though Richie Sexson is now up so all of that might change in a hurry.
Millwood can’t throw strikes tonight. But watch this guy. I’ve seen him pull this first inning act before, then he goes out and dominates. M’s had better pile on the runs here.
FULL LINEUPS
So, here are the complete lineups and umpiring crews for tonight:
TEXAS (42-56)
CF Kenny Lofton
SS Michael Young
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Sammy Sosa
RF Marlon Byrd
C Adam Melheuse
LF Brad Wilkerson
2B Jerry Hairston
3B Travis Metcalfe
RHP Kevin Millwood
SEATTLE (54-41)
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
LHP Horacio Ramirez
UMPIRES
HP Lance Barksdale
1B Gary Cederstrom
2B Angel Campos
3B Tim Welke (crew chief)
A THEORY ABOUT ADAM JONES
Here is tonight’s lineup. I’m sure it’s going to make some of you very happy. Or maybe not.
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
LHP Horacio Ramirez
So, there you have it. Not much changed from Saturday. Some of you have asked me why the Mariners have yet to call up Adam Jones. I’ve given that question lots of thought, since the M’s officials I talk to keep telling me he’s getting here soon. I also thought about that story I wrote last week about Jose Guillen seeking a long-term contract extension. Guillen had wanted to wrap the whole thing up by the July 31 trade deadline.
Well, let me run this theory by you then. Let’s say the Mariners go along with that timetable. Once they have Guillen under contract, where do they play him? Is it left field or right field? My thoughts on this is that the Mariners eventually expect to play Adam Jones in right field. So, do they tell Guillen this in negotations? My guess would be yes, they do. They tell Guillen he’ll get his deal so long as he agrees to play left the majority of the time. Guillen played left field for several seasons before switching to right. If Jones is the super prospect everyone says he is, that would be one heck of a defensive outfield.
So, under my proposed theory — and that’s all it is right now — the team tries to get Guillen’s ink on a deal before the end of the month. After that, the team promotes Jones on or around Aug. 1 and puts him in right field. Raul Ibanez goes to the DH spot. Makes more sense than anything I’ve heard so far. But until you know where Guillen fits in your future plans, why start bumping veteran players like Ibanez or Jose Vidro around? Better to know for sure what you have and where, going forward, before doing all that stuff. Hey, it’s a theory. We know the two sides, Guillen’s and the front office, are talking.
Is it a perfect theory? No. It really assumes that fragile egos are a big part of considerations about the daily lineup. But if you told me three weeks ago we’d be entering August with no Jones — a guy we’re being assured in not on the trade block — I’d have laughed in your faces. And what do you know? Here we are, on July 23, with this team having gone 22 straight innings without a run, and Jones is left to beat up on Class AAA pitching.
Something is going on. What I just wrote would be my best guess.
Ryan Feierabend just arrived here a little while ago. He won’t be activated until tomorrow night. Want another guess? Ryan Rowland-Smith will be sent to Class AAA tomorrow to clear roster room so Feierabend can pitch in the doubleheader. And after that? Hmmm. I’d say Feierabend gets sent back down and Mark Lowe gets activated in his place.
That’s my educated guess. It helps that I just talked to Lowe, who joined the team here today. Lowe hasn’t been told what’s going on. As far as he knows, he said, he’s just doing more rehab work up here. But his parents are here with him. Made the trip up from Houston. Why waste a good family reunion by not activating Lowe? I like family reunions.

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