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Mariners blog

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

August 4, 2007 at 10:05 PM

M’s lose 4-3; audio clips are here

Lots of runners left on base in this game. Far too many for the Mariners, who lose 4-3 to the Boston Red Sox. As I was saying, the M’s need a shutdown reliever like Eric Gagne in the eighth inning, right? Why have a two-run lead, when you can make it a one-run game and make things interesting for the closer? Anyway, that’s two runs given up in two games by Gagne for Boston. The Red Sox can’t be too happy about that, but I’d still take him. It’s only early August. We’ll see how things pan out.
They didn’t pan out for the M’s when it mattered tonight. Only six hits off Daisuke Matsuzaka over seven innings, but with two walks and two hit batters thrown in. That’s quite a few baerunners, not to mention the two stranded by Gagne when Betancourt tapped one back to the mound in the eighth.
This game showcased quite a few struggling Seattle hitters, both old and new. We all knew Jose Lopez and Raul Ibanez were having troubles at the plate — since June, in fact. Ibanez stranded three batters with that fly ball in the third and Lopez grounded into a double play with two on in the fourth and struck out with two on in the sixth.
But who expected Jose Guillen to strike out four times before drawing that walk in the ninth? As one of you mentioned, Guillen was replaced by Adam Jones as a pinch runner. Jones stole second, Ibanez walked, but Adrian Beltre hit a first-pitch popout to the catcher.
Guillen felt pretty badly about his night. “I think I left like 12 people on base,” he quipped, shaking his head.
He didn’t want to let down the fans, who were up and cheering until the final pitch on a night with plenty of playoff atmosphere at Safeco Field. “I was scared going up there in the ninth, to be honest, because I’ve never had five strikeouts in a game before,” Guillen told me. “And the way the crowd was, loud and making all that noise, I didn’t want to disappoint them by ending it that way.”
That throw from right field wasn’t his proudest moment either. He said the fact he’d charged in for the David Ortiz liner made it difficult for him to plant his foot properly — causing the ball to sail. Hear some Guillen audio right here.
Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn battled as best he could to keep Seattle in the game. Did a good job of it, too, until that Guillen throwing error made life difficult for him in a two-run sixth.
“You’ve got your work cut out for you with a lineup like that,” Washburn said. “You have to limit your mistakes and your free passes.”
Not too many of either by Washburn in this one. Kept his team close enough to win the game had it managed a few more timely hits. Washburn liked the way Seattle’s hitters fought hard those final two innings in as charged an atmosphere as this city has seen in some time.
“Good ballclubs do that,” he said. “They never give up. We don’t have any quit in us and that’s a great characteristic of a ballclub.”
Hear his post-game audio here.
Know what? That Washburn comment sounds like a cliche, but I think it applies here. Perhaps that’s the message we take off this game. To be honest, it felt like the M’s were going to lose this game from about the fourth inning onward. The fact that Seattle had a chance to tie right down to the final out, when Beltre missed a very hittable fastball? Well, I’d have to think that’s something a Mariners fan could take out of this one.
I’m being honest. The M’s seemed destined to lose almost all night, but made life very difficult for Boston in the late-going. They didn’t hand this one over without a fight. That’s the way Seattle has to play the rest of the way, game in and game out.
“You know, that was some kind of game,” Mariners manager John McLaren said. “We gave it all we had. We just came up a little short.”
McLaren felt this was a game in which Red Sox starter Matsuzaka dazzled his team. He was relatively pleased with the approach taken by his hitters and wasn’t about to fault them for what transpired. And he has done that on nights when a ton of runners are stranded against less-than-stellar pitching.
“Matsuzaka’s got the ability to raise his game when he has to,” he said. “He made some pitches when he had to.”
Listen to McLaren’s post-game audio.
Lopez did try to make up for his night’s struggles with that double off Gagne in the eighth. Why did the M’s not send Willie Bloomquist home? My guess is he would have been thrown out by a good margin. Manny Ramirez acts like a character at times, but his arm is stronger than many people think. It was a hard hit ball and he got it back in pretty quickly.
That said, I’ll admit I was surprised at first that they didn’t send Bloomquist around. Aggressive baserunning is what the M’s pride themselves on. That was my instant reaction. When I thought about it more, I noted that Betancourt has been very hot of late and you don’t want to leave him standing there.
Anyway, the rubber match goes tomorrow. Miguel Batista looking for career high win No. 12. Honestly, if I was a Seattle fan, I wouldn’t waste tonight griping over all the things that could have happened and didn’t happen. Seattle didn’t lose any playoff ground tonight. They didn’t blow a 6-0 lead in the ninth.
And as I wrote before, the Red Sox winning was about the way this thing should have gone. They were the better team for most of the night and they are a very good team headed for the post-season. A Seattle victory would have been a steal. The M’s didn’t make it easy, but Boston finally ends a streak of nine consecutive losses at Safeco Field. This looked and felt like a playoff game tonight. And I’ve covered plenty of those. Tomorrow should be fun. Take this defeat for what it was and look forward to tomorrow’s game You’ll live longer if you learn to enjoy your Saturday nights after an entertaining ballgame.

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