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

August 14, 2007 at 5:23 PM

Mariners vs. Twins, Game 2

Well, I guess what goes around, comes around. Horacio Ramirez gets help from Torii Hunter to escape one jam, from Rondell White to limit the damage in the second inning, then has the roof cave in when Jose Lopez fails to make a very tough, over-the-shoulder catch. Two runs score on that play, after Ramirez gives the obligatory run back on a homer right after his team had scored one for him, and bows out trailing 6-1 after five.
It’s now 8-1 in the seventh inning and all of you John Parrish fans will be happy to know that he’s warming up and will be used in that mop-up role you prefer him in. Kind of like getting back on the old horse after a spill. Or a trampling. Whatever. This Ramirez thing will be tough for the M’s to sugarcoat after this one. Six runs allowed over five innings — at home, to boot.
Ramirez has become a liability every fifth day that this team can ill-afford. I asked John McLaren before the game whether Ramirez had to show him something. McLaren assured me it wasn’t at that stage yet. It might be now. Jose Contreras? I wouldn’t give up the farm for him, but if something makes sense, why not? Don’t forget, in a couple of weeks the rosters will expand. The Twins aren’t exactly the 1927 Yankees, you know? Giving up a half-dozen to these guys was pretty awful. And it wasn’t just one or two bad pitches this time. The Twins hit a lot of balls pretty hard — even on outs.
So, did anyone catch Torii Hunter on the pre-game show with Dave talking about having to take some pitches against Horacio Ramirez? Nice piece of hitting and advice-taking by Hunter in that first inning, getting Ramirez off one of his usual large hooks by first-pitch swinging into a double play. Ramirez had just walked Joe Mauer on four pitches to put two on with one out. Hey, everyone deserves a break today. Didn’t McDonald’s use that line once? Something like that. Appropriate, since Ramirez was about another bad pitch or two away from being turned into hamburger meat.
OK, OK, I stand corrected. Philippe Aumont is not entirely a Montrealer, since he’s from the Gatineau region of Quebec about 90 minutes away. Did spend a good part of his life growing up around Montreal, though. I grew up in Laval and spent five years in St. Lazarre, but I’m still a Montrealer. Nice to hear our Canadian contingent piping up though.
I think it was “ricofoy” (our backyard cardboard diver) who wrote about his experience as a Bruins fan and the “too many men on the ice” penalty. May 10, 1979, baby. Greatest memory of my life as a hockey fan. The true Stanley Cup championship confrontation that year, even though it was only Game 7 of the semi-finals. Watched it on a black and white TV in my parents’ room. Boston takes a 3-1 lead into the third period, blows it, then goes up 4-3 with only a few minutes to go. Bruins coach Don Cherry gets flagged for too many men on the ice, Guy Lafleur ties it for Montreal with 74 seconds left — the goal that defined his career — and Yvon Lambert wins it in overtime on a cross-ice pass from Mario Tremblay and a one-timer past Gilles Gilbert, still wearing an old-style goalie’s mask. Yes, the Bruins should have won it all that year with their lunchpail gang. Rick Middleton had a heck of a series. But shoulda, coulda, don’t count.
Sorry, all of you non-hockey fans who have no idea what I’m talking about. To whoever made the crack about Real Madrid and my soccer knowledge a while back, I’ll have you know I’ve been to two Real Madrid games at Bernabeau Stadium (a high school track buddy has season tickets and trains pro soccer players) and will remind you that the British, Italian, French and German leagues are all right up near the same level as the Spanish league. Therefore, if you want to compare Champions League or European Cup titles to Stanley Cup championships, then fine. Otherwise, a Spanish league title is like winning the AL West. Glad you like the blog, though.
Now we’re thoroughly off-track. Just killing time before the game. So, the Angels and Yankees lost. This is it for Horacio Ramirez. He has to step forward tonight and show something. Seattle has to take advantage of this rare double-opportunity.
Cross your fingers for another Horacio Ramirez start. The Los Angeles Angels are losing 4-1 in the seventh inning in Toronto. This could be a night to make up some ground in the AL West.
Some info for you based on topics discussed last night and today:
Turns out I should have asked John McLaren why he used John Parrish in that game last night. It seems that Eric O’Flaherty wasn’t available and he was saving George Sherrill in case the game went extra innings. Sure, he had Ryan Rowland-Smith available as another lefty arm. But as I mentioned already, when your front office trades for a veteran situational lefty, you almost have to go with him over the Class AAA call-up — at least until he shows you he can’t handle a pressure role. That’s how I see it.
Had a fun conversation with Willie Bloomquist about diving into first base. He admitted that he bopped himself on the head a couple of times afterwards for doing it and that it was simply an instinctive reaction rather than a smart baseball move. Thing is, he said, he keeps doing it in the same situation every time — when a pitcher takes the throw to first. As much as he tries to stop himself from doing it, instinct takes over. But no, kids, sliding into first base for speed is not a good idea.
The Jose Guillen contract talks have been put on hold while the team scrambles to sign first-round pick Phillipe Aumont before tomorrow’s deadline. A meeting between Guillen’s camp and the M’s was cancelled so the team’s brass could focus on getting the Aumont deal done. Bill Bavasi told me moments ago it still hasn’t been completed, though (and this is me talking) odds are very good it will happen. It’s in everyone’s best interest. Especially, I would think, Aumont’s. Not like he’s some highly hyped kid out of southern California. He’s a Montrealer, like me, which means you usually have to prove yourself a little bit more down here in baseball country. Not telling him what to do, just speculating with my gut that this deal gets done.
Here are the lineups:
2B Alexi Casilla
SS Jason Bartlett
C Joe Mauer
CF Torii Hunter
1B Justin Morneau
RF Michael Cuddyer
LF Rondell White
DH Mike Redmond
3B Nick Punto
RHP Matt Garza
SEATTLE (66-50)
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Richie Sexson
C Kenji Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LHP Horacio Ramirez
HP Tim Welke (crew chief)
1B Lance Barksdale
2B Gary Cederstrom
3B Jim Reynolds



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