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August 5, 2007 at 1:20 PM

Mariners vs. Red Sox; series finale

If that saying is true, about the best defense really being a good offense, then no wonder the Mariners are out of luck today. Or maybe it only applies in football. Anyway, the M’s have again had no offense when it counts today and their defense deserted them in the seventh and eighth as well.
Jose Vidro should have had that ground ball in the eighth inning that wound up a double down the right field line. That fielding on the bunt looked all messed up, though Jose Lopez had a long way to run over from second with a runner at that bag and a righty hitter up. Add on an error here in the ninth, the second of the day by Seattle, though the scorekeeping spared them at least one additional one, and we can see why the Mariners are losing 9-1. Another unearned run just scored on the Dustin Pedroia double. The bullpen ERAs are going to take a big hit today, but a lot of it really wasn’t their fault. You have to catch the ball and throw the ball or you are going to lose
Miguel Batista did a fantastic job of getting through six innings on 110 pitches — though less than half of them, only 53, were for strikes. Only two of the runs were earned, the second one coming on that homer to center by Manny Ramirez. But the game has gotten away from the M’s here in the seventh. A walk by Mark Lowe, never a good thing, a stolen base (!) by David Ortiz in which Jose Vidro forgot to take the throw at second, then a two-out triple by J.D. Drew off Eric O’Flaherty and an infield hit by Mike Lowell against Sean Green brings home a pair to make it a 5-1 game.
The M’s have been outpitched and outplayed today. Raul Ibanez getting picked off second in the fourth inning was big. Adam Jones has had runners on base each time up, but struck out twice and popped out. That Adrian Beltre grounder off the mound in the first inning may have been a turning point of sorts, since the funny hop kept the M’s from scoring.
But it’s getting late and Boston has been the better team to this point.
Wow, that was some timely double-play by Miguel Batista, who was facing a bases-loaded, one out situation in the second with his pitch count already at 50 and a 2-2 count on Manny Ramirez. The 51st pitch was grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Now, isn’t that just what Batista has been doing all year? Tough luck for the M’s in the bottom of the first. That Adrian Beltre grounder seemed headed up the middle for at least a run, but struck the mound and went right to shortstop Julio Lugo for an inning-ending groundout.
Still a 2-0 game.
Before the game, Mariners manager John McLaren spoke long and emotionally, at times, about the struggles Richie Sexson is going through. As I wrote here two nights ago, Sexson getting booed like that in front of fans he grew up with in the Pacific Northwest had to rate as one of the worst moments of his career.
McLaren said it might be the best thing for Sexson to get away from the pressures of Safeco Field for a while and try to get his swing back on the road.
“When people let you know they’re not happy — when they cheer when you hit a foul ball — it’s a humbling experience,” McLaren said. “He’s a human being with feelings. It’s something he’s probably never been through. He told me ‘I’ve dug myself a hole and I’ve got to get out of it.’ ”
Here is nearly four minutes of some pretty interesting pre-game audio from McLaren devoted almost exclusively to the topic of Sexson.
Jose Guillen got a single back in that first inning, snapping that 0-for-9, six-strikeout mini-slump. Guillen met with GM Bill Bavasi earlier today. The pair are still trying to get a contract extension done. Think Guillen’s got a lot on his mind these days? Well, here’s something you didn’t know. His 7-year-old son has been visiting him from the Dominican Republic and was due to fly back there later today. But the nanny that has been taking care of the boy when Guillen is at the ballpark had to leave town when his father passed away last night. That means Guillen has to make alternative arrangements to get his son home before flying out to Baltimore tomorrow ahead of Tuesday’s series with the Orioles.
Like I said, Guillen has a lot on his mind besides Adam Jones.
Miguel Batista just had one of his adventurous innings right off the bat here in the first. He’s down only 2-0 and should consider himself very fortunate after walking three guys (one intentional), seeing his catcher miss a pitch for a passed ball, then having that catcher, Jamie Burke, miss Batista on the throw back to the plate. Not to mention the rookie center fielder dropping a fly ball. Yeesh. Not the greatest inning for Batista, whose pitch count is up to 35 already.
A leadoff double by Coco Crisp, a walk to David Ortiz and a passed ball put runners at second and third with only one out. Manny Ramirez then skied one to the warning track in center and Adam Jones dropped it. Not an easy catch and Jones did a great job getting back quickly. But you have to squeeze that ball. Ichiro makes a play like that in his sleep. It will be interesting to see what Jones does from here on in today and whether he lets that play stick in his head. A big test for the youngster.
A run scored on the play, Ramirez went to second base, Ortiz to third. Batista then walked J.D. Drew intentionally to load the bases with one out. But he then got Mike Lowell to hit a broken bat pop-up to second baseman Jose Vidro — yes, Vidro is at second today. A walk to Jason Varitek on a 3-1 pitch then forced in the second run before Alex Cora flied out to end the inning.
Considering all that went wrong for the M’s in that inning, they should feel lucky to only be down by two. That could actually wind up being a pivotal moment in the game later on. But one thing’s for sure now. Batista has to go out and have a quick couple of innings — not that this is an easy lineup to do that against — or he’ll be done by the fifth.
Here are the lineups:
BOSTON (67-43)
CF Coco Crisp
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz
LF Manny Ramirez
RF J.D. Drew
3B Mike Lowell
C Jason Varitek
2B Alex Cora
SS Julio Lugo
RHP Josh Beckett
SEATTLE (60-48)
DH Ichiro
2B Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
1B Ben Broussard
3B Adrian Beltre
LF Raul Ibanez
CF Adam Jones
C Jamie Burke
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
RHP Miguel Batista
HP Gerry Davis (crew chief)
1B Alfonso Marquez
2B Chris Guccione
3B Mike Everitt



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