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July 24, 2007 at 5:30 PM

Mariners vs. Rangers; Game 2 of doubleheader

Nice way to cap a lousy day, huh? A 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers makes it five in a row for the M’s and fading fast. Pinch-runner Jason Ellison gets caught with indecisiveness in that ninth-inning, failing to take second on a ball thrown into center field, sealing the loss for reliever Chris Reitsma. I’m off to the clubhouse, as you all know…let the griping begin, or continue.
To answer “Batura” — well, if range is truly a liability, then I’d rather see Jose Guillen in left or right field than in center. Guillen actually would have played there today had the game gone into a bottom of the ninth in Game 1. But to be honest, with Ichiro in center, range is less a factor. He’s better than Ibanez range-wise. And no, I’m not saying a team has to be completely veteran to win. But its prime core does have to be experienced, I think. Those 1997 Marlins had loads of veterans at their core to help the young guys out. When Darren Daulton arrived in a mid-season trade, he waited a bit, looked around the clubhouse, took stock of what was going on. Then he held an impromptu clubhouse meeting and told his new teammates, in his unique way, that they had to stop messing around and play each game like there was a World Series at stake.
Florida had apparently been taking some series too easily against beatable teams and needed a kick in the butt from somebody inside the clubhouse. Daulton did that, demanded the players be accountable to themselves, and the team never looked back after that meeting. Gregg Zaun, a backup catcher on that 1997 team, told me that story just last year.
To “Blah, blah blah” (what kind of name is that?), here’s something positive: at least Jarrod Washburn managed not to put his team behind. Also managed to avoid getting stuck like a pig on that huge chunk of bat shard that came flying his way. A good acrobat on that play. Want me to be more positive? I can’t. The M’s just went 1-2-3 in the sixth. We’re tied 3-3 and Washburn is back out there, his pitch count at 98. Facing the bottom of the order, so John McLaren is likely hoping he can breeze through for a six-inning night. They are the final three batters he’s going to face tonight in any event.
Yuniesky Betancourt just cost his team a run here in the fifth inning. Betancourt went wandering off second base and got back-doored on a throw by catcher Gerald Laird. Only the second pickoff by a Rangers catcher all year. Not a good time to do that because Willie Bloomquist followed with a single.
Jose Vidro just added another single, the fourth in five at-bats by the M’s. But they have only one run to show for it so far. This team, especially the young guys, needs to get its focus back.
“Resin” you’ve mentioned 11 guys on a 25-man roster for the 1997 Marlins. Yes, Livan and his 5.00 plus ERA got the MVP, but what about Jeff Conine, Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Darren Daulton? Come on…oops, could barely finish the post when Raul Ibanez delivered a very timely double to center that cashed in a pair to give the M’s a 3-1 lead here in the fifth. A terrible throw back into the infield allowed Vidro to score all the way from first base. A very big inning for this team. Much needed.
“Amy” you asked a good question of “Scrapiron” I think it was. Basically, you asked why it would be considered “bad business” to bench Richie Sexson right now. I’ll answer it here, myself, in my own voice.
Four straight losses by the Mariners beginning this nightcap of the twinbill. Seattle already stranded three more baserunners in that first inning after leaving on eight in a 2-1 loss in Game 1. I’ve been running around, downstairs in the clubhouse, up here grabbing dinner and will be on the radio in a moment. Not KJR, another station. I think ESPN in Tacoma or something. Anyhow, will update when I return.
“Sammy” I wasn’t saying the Marlins aren’t winning because Miguel Cabrera isn’t a veteran. It’s because he lacks enough of a veteran cast around him. You have a minimum salary guy carrying the team and a bunch of other minimum guys helping him. You need veterans to win, which the Marlins had in 2003 and 1997 when they won the World Series.
So, the Mariners already trail 1-0 here in the fourth inning. Mariners manager John McLaren was not pleased with what he saw in that first game.
“It’s kind of been razor thin here lately,” he said. “Our pitchers really don’t have any room for error because we haven’t been scoring a lot of runs and it really puts a lot of pressure on our pitchers.”
Hear the McLaren audio right here.
The Mariners activated Mark Lowe before the second game, optioning Ryan Feierabend back to Class AAA. They also placed Sean White on the 60-day DL, clearing a roster spot for Lowe. That DL move also allows the M’s to keep a Rule 5 draft pick without actually having to use him. That must be some biceps tendinitis White has. Anyway, more important things to worry about, like tonight’s game. Five losses in a row will not be good, obviously.



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