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August 20, 2007 at 3:44 PM

Mariners vs. Twins, Game 1

Well, that was a pretty easy game for the M’s, no? A 9-4 win for Seattle with a 15-hit attack and an excellent outing by Horacio Ramirez. They won’t be cakewalks like this every night, but teams need them and will gladly take them. I’ve got to run down to the clubhouse now. I’ll be back soon with a much more extensive post-game report.
That play by second baseman Jose Lopez in the eighth was just awful and cost Horacio Ramirez a run, maybe two, and a shot at getting through the eighth. With one on and one out, Torii Hunter hit a potential double-play ball to Lopez at second. Lopez ran over to tag baserunner Joe Mauer, who alertly held up and made Lopez come to him. Lopez then, apparently forgetting his team was up by seven runs, worried more about getting the throw off to first base. He made a phantom tag on Mauer — which the umpire saw — and then threw too late to first base to get the speedy Hunter. Both runners were safe. Justin Morneau then doubled to bring home. Even if Lopez had only gotten one out on the play, the lead runner, then that second Minnesota run would not have come home on the ensuing ground out to the right side.
Anyway, Ramirez was taken out. The inning is over and Seattle leads 9-4. Lopez even atoned slightly with a nice diving stop of a Mike Redmond grounder to his left and a throw to first from his knees. But he just cost Ramirez a “quality start” — a a seven-inning “quality start” at that. He’s having a tough time of things.
Nice hard running by Raul Ibanez to score from first on that double in the eighth. A good relay from the outfield likely gets him, but that was one of those aggressive, low-risk, high-reward calls that pays off for a third base coach with such a big lead.
“Frankie” had a dream on our blog and came awfully close. He’d “predicted” one earned run allowed by Horacio Ramirez over six innings and nearly got it until the Twins scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Too bad. As a consolation prize, “Frankie” you get a copy of our CD entitled “100 greatest moments of Horacio Ramirez’s season in Seattle” which I’ll start to compile as soon as I get the game footage from tonight. Nah…I’m only kidding. But I’ll get you some post-game audio later, how’s that? Jose Guillen made a great grab at the wall to spare Ramirez more damage that inning. Raul Ibanez just opened the seventh with his third hit of the night. M’s trying to build on their 7-2 lead.
Looks like Horacio Ramirez is about to get his eighth win…well, let’s wait until after the fifth on that. But it’s now 7-1 for the M’s in the third after Raul Ibanez hit his second home run of the night to start things off and Kenji Johjima just added a two-run cannon shot to left center. This looks like batting practise. Johjima barely missed a home run in the first inning as well. Matt Garza is now getting yanked. Garza retired the first two batters, then notched only five more outs while yielding four homers, nine hits, seven runs and a wild-pitch.
Whoo-boy, here we go. Now 4-1 as Horacio Ramirez gives up an infield hit and a run-scoring double. Twins have a runner on third, one out and the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters up. Ramirez must get the job done. One of you mentioned his penchant for blowing leads. Believe me, it’s on my mind and the mind of everyone in that Seattle dugout right now.
M’S UP 4-0
No reason in the world for Horacio Ramirez not to be aggressive and target the strike zone now. He’s got a 4-0 lead after a pair of two-run, first-inning homers by Raul Ibanez and Richie Sexson. Matt Garza got the first two guys out, then got rocked for four straight hits and the four runs. Minnesota has scored just three runs the last three games. It seems like the only team the Twins have scored on this entire month has been the Mariners. This isn’t exactly an acid test for Ramirez — especially not now with the four-run cushion before he even takes the mound. He must pass with flying colors.
NOTE TO “MNT”: That’s not my voice you hear on the audio asking McLaren the question about the young guys. It’s Jim Street of My question came prior to the response McLaren gives at the start of the clip. Sorry for the confusion.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
2B Alexi Casilla
C Joe Mauer
CF Torii Hunter
1B Justin Morneau
RF Michael Cuddyer
DH Mike Redmond
LF Rondell White
3B Tommy Watkins
SS Nick Punto
RHP Matt Garza
SEATTLE (69-52)
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Richie Sexson
C Kenjo Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
RHP Horacio Ramirez
What? Are some of you actually surprised? Then, you haven’t been paying attention the past few days. Great discussion on this morning’s post, by the way. I agree with the ones that stated this doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” in one direction or the other. Yes, I agree that Adam Jones should play some games. And I believe that Ben Broussard should play some games as well. Especially with all of the consecutive games coming up, the travel schedule, the level of competition due to spike up, etc.
In fact, I asked John McLaren about just that a few moments ago. Hear it on this audio clip. He told me he ran the same “hot” lineup out there tonight because the team just had an off-day last week and the team was pretty rested. But he plans to make some moves, starting tomorrow, to give guys preventative rest due to the hard turf here at the Metrodome (I was just standing on it — it’s very hard) and the extreme heat coming up in Texas.
McLaren also admitted to recently reading some of the internet comments about his performance and went off on a long tangent about how he loves baseball debates. I then asked him specifically about Adam Jones and playing the regulars and he had some interesting things to say.
“I happened to get bored one off-day and I turned it on and — we had won 6 out of eight or something — and I looked like the idiot from wherever and I said ‘I’d better not read it anymore. It’s not good for my confidence.’ ”
McLaren said he’s not inclined to play a first-year guy like Adam Jones, or any other untested player, every day because there is no need.
“I think that the veterans we have have done more than a good job,” he said. “If this was spring training, I could see running them all out there and previewing the future. And having to just smile and sit back and watch them running out there. I think it’s great. But this is the real deal here and these games, I mean they’re these are meaningful games. We’d love to get some guys experience but our job is to win the game every night. That’s the bottom line.”
Here is the audio link to that.
Now, before some of you run off thinking he’s dissing the entire blogging community, I really didn’t get that from McLaren. As I said, he brought the whole thing up. Also prefaced his comments with a long soliloquy on how he loves baseball debates. But as in any debate, there are two ways of viewing things. The way he’s chosen is to stick with the players who are producing right now.
Right now, there is little reason to entertain using Adam Jones every day. Yes, this may be just a small blip on the Richie Sexson radar as well. Yes, one week does not a season make. But if the team has waited this long without pulling him from the lineup — as I and many of you have screamed for all year — it makes no sense to pull him now that he’s shown signs of coming around to what he’s given you in the latter part of the season before.
Anyway, here’s what McLaren said about debates. He actually talks right at the beginning about wanting to write back to some of the folks who’ve been ripping him.



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