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

August 4, 2007 at 7:07 PM

Mariners vs. Red Sox, Game 2

To “Ebenezer” my guess would be that Jose Vidro goes in tomorrow in place of Jose Lopez at second base. Actually, it’s not much of a guess. John McLaren hinted very strongly that he’ll do it tomorrow. I spoke to Lopez earlier today — just watched Jose Guillen strike out, man that story cursed him good — and he insists he still feels good and strong. Says he’s doing more stretching before and during games to keep his body loose. More running to maintain endurance so he doesn’t run out of gas like he did last season. Now, all he has to do is some more hitting. Hmm, if only it were that easy.
RED SOX UP 2-1
Wow, the Mariners just messed up a huge chance in the third inning, getting the first two guys on with none out. But no, to answer a question from “zona”, most managers won’t ask a guy leading the league in hitting, in this case, Ichiro, to bunt in that situation. It was still too early in the game. You want your best hitter swinging away in most situations. Especially when Ichiro is not a ground ball double play threat. If it was the eighth inning of a one-run game, then maybe he lays down the bunt. Not this early.
Jose Guillen suddenly finds himself in a rut. Raul Ibanez hasn’t looked very good at the plate so far and just made that fielding miscue in left. It cost the Mariners as a Jason Varitek double to left off Jarrod Washburn just scored a pair to put Boston ahead 2-1. The place erupted when Varitek got the hit. Not because the Seattle fans remember him from his minor league days here. More because this sol-out ballpark is crawling with Red Sox fans everywhere. I’ve never heard visiting fans this loud in any park — and I’ve been to quite a few where legions of fans, Red Sox, Yankees, even the Blue Jays here, invade. Nothing like what just happened here.
Ibanez looks like he’s feeling the pressure tonight.
BELTRE, BONDS, GO DEEP
Some guy named Bonds just hit No. 755. Safeco Field erupted in boos when they showed it on the big screen. Am I supposed to celebrate? Do you think I care? A-Rod hit his 500th today. As far as I know, he hasn’t taken any steroids. I’m not saying I know everything, but that’s as much as I know.
No, I’m not cheering for Bonds. Maybe tomorrow I’ll take some cream and rub it on my biceps in his honor. Got to watch that sunburn covering day games.
No Adam Jones in there tonight. He’ll play center tomorrow. Big test for Raul Ibanez in this game. He struck out to lead off the second inning. Richie Sexson failed his test miserably on Friday night, striking out in his final three at-bats. Now 0-for-12 and 2-for-25 (.080) on this homestand. Yikettee yikes!
The M’s are already ahead 1-0 on Adrian Beltre’s homer to right center off Daisuke Matsuzaka in the second. This could be a big night for M’s fans. The Indians and Tigers have already lost. If the Mariners win tonight, they will be all alone in the wild-card lead. On August 4. Imagine that.
Not to mention to AL West race, where they will be only 1 1/2 behind the Angels, who were beaten late yet again. I think Kelvim Escobar’s shot at the Cy Young Award just went out the window along with his run support. Nine runs by his team in his last five starts. Ouch! Good news for the M’s.
Got a nice email from Sean Green’s mother back in Kentucky today. Said she’s a big fan of the blog and wanted some of his post-game audio from last night for a private collection. That’s what mothers do. Wow, if I’d known she was reading, I’d have pushed a little less hard for the Mariners to acquire an eighth inning setup guy at the deadline. Well, nah, I guess I wouldn’t have. Maybe I’d have stopped referencing his numbers against lefties…OK no, maybe not. But he has pitched rather well lately. And the M’s will need every bit of Green at his best and more.
Especially if Horacio Ramirez offers up any more dogs like the one he threw last night. The one positive the M’s are taking out of it is that Ramirez finally made the most of some of those big pitches he had to throw in critical situations. Think about it, in many of his road outings this year, Ramirez has pitched relatively well only to get rocked in a few big innings. He was getting hurt big-time on some pitches he had to make.
The exact opposite was true on Friday night. Ramirez looked awful through most of his four innings. Couldn’t hit the catcher’s target all night. But he did get that timely double play. He did manage to make enough good pitches that he was only down 3-0 instead of 6-0.
“If you want to look for a positive,” pitching coach Rafael Chaves told me of Ramirez, who left with the game tied 4-4 and earned a no-decision. “It’s that there were so many base runners. He found a way to minimize.”
OK, so I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons. But you can’t say I’m always too negative. Don’t worry, Chaves isn’t popping champagne corks over Ramirez’s four-plus innings either. Just presenting another way of looking at things. Now, if Ramirez can combine the good “crucial pitch” stints with some good over-all stints, we might have something really good to talk about.
Here are tonight’s lineups. Note Ben Broussard at first base. Also, read between the lines. If it looks, feels and smells like a platoon, that’s because it is.
BOSTON (66-43)
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz
LF Manny Ramirez
3B Mike Lowell
C Jason Varitek
RF J.D. Drew
CF Coco Crisp
SS Julio Lugo
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka
SEATTLE (60-47)
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Ben Broussard
C Kenji Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LHP Jarrod Washburn
UMPIRES
HP Mike Everitt
1B Gerry Davis (crew chief)
2B Alfonso Marquez
3B Chris Guccione

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