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

August 21, 2007 at 4:20 PM

Mariners vs. Twins, Game 2

That slide winds up gaining Seattle four runs and an easier looking 7-2 victory than was the case. I like the way these games have been played so quickly. This Mariners team is playing some good baseball right now, despite all of those runners left on base early. Finding ways to win. I’m off to the clubhouse. Will get the post-game post and audio up much more quickly tonight…
Seattle has broken it open with three runs in the eighth inning to go ahead 6-2. Never mind who got all the hits. The biggest play of this inning was another hard takeout slide at second by Jose Guillen on what could have been another inning-ending double-play. You’ll remember back in the third inning when Guillen knocked the knees out from under shortstop Nick Punto. Anyone think Punto was remembering that when Guillen came barelling towards him this time? Punto took his eye off the relay throw and dropped the ball, getting just the one out. One run scored and then the ball rolled away, allowing Jose Vidro to score as well on the error. So, a two-run gain there because of one slide.
Adrian Beltre then doubled to right center to bring home the third run of the inning. All because Punto was afraid of getting Guillen’s cleats imprinted on his legs.
It is Brandon Morrow who enters and pitches a much-needed 1-2-3 seventh inning. To answer “James” below, Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays and Mark Teahen of the Royals lead with 20 double-play grounders each. Kenji Johjima is tied for second with Manny Ramirez. You know who Man-Ram plays for.
Right on cue, the Twins get a pair to get right back in it on a single to center by Michael Cuddyer. You’ve all heard talk about how loud it can get in the Metrodome. Want to hear it? Listen to a few seconds of audio right before Cuddyer’s single and then right after.
So, it’s now a 3-2 game in the seventh. Will Washburn come back out in the bottom of the inning? I don’t know. He was falling behind hitters throughout the last frame, showing signs of getting tired. His control hadn’t been an issue before. Brandon Morrow is also warmed up now. We’ll see.
That last run by Seattle in the sixth was all Ichiro. He just flew up the line to avoid hitting into a double play. The Twins turned the “Twin killing” attempt very quickly and still could not get him. Jose Vidro, now riding a hot streak almost seven weeks old, then drove his third hit of the night into the right field corner and a flying Ichrio scored easily. Make it a 3-0 game. Here’s where it gets interesting for Jarrod Washburn, working on a two-hitter with the top of the order due up one batter from now. Washburn is at 73 pitches and tends to have his troubles right around this point in the game if he’s going to have them. Let’s see what happens. This could be big for him.
Getting a little uneasy if you’re the Mariners. Yes, it’s the bottom of the fifth and they’re up 2-0 with only one hit allowed by Jarrod Washburn. But Seattle has already reached base 11 times while scoring just twice on the solo homers. Kenji Johjima just grounded into a double play. That’s a lot of chances wasted so early. It could be a 7-0 game by now.
By the way, the M’s have announced plans to play a traditional doubleheader (instead of a split) against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, Sept. 26. It’s being done to make up one of those snowed-out games in Cleveland.
“The decision to play a traditional doubleheader is primarily a thank you to our fans who have supported the Mariners so well this season,” Mariners president Chuck Armstrong said in a written release.
Playing a split doubleheader would have treated it as two games, instead of allowing fans to see a pair for just one ticket. So, Seattle gives up the extra gate and fans see two games for the price of one. Not bad.
Anyone catch that takeout slide at second by Jose Guillen in the third inning? Helped prevent a double-play, putting men at the corners with one out. But Adrian Beltre popped out to shallow right to really thwart the rally. Richie Sexson then flied out to left.
One of you asked what it was like to be covering a team in the playoff hunt in late-August. It feels terrific. Makes me very excited about getting up every day and going to work. This blog takes a lot of energy but it’s easy to do if you know the fans are into every game and care.
To answer another question, about whether I’ll be “on” the rest of the way, I am skipping the series in Texas. I looked at the schedule a couple of weeks ago and realized that — with that makeup game in Cleveland — I had essentially signed up for the equivalent of a 3 1/2 week road trip with maybe 48 hours back in Seattle in-between for the Angels series. That’s nuts. We’ve got tons of added work because of the online commitments, so it’s imperative to stay fresh. Plus, with the playoffs looming, you don’t want to be burned out come October. Especially with the year-end commitments to extra Mariners projects we do every September. It’s going to be a very busy month.
So, Larry Stone is now going to Texas. But yes, I will be writing the blog this weekend while the team plays. This isn’t like the Hawaii trip. Remaining here stateside, it’s a lot easier to stay in the loop and keep up-to-date without the same time differential. After that, I do the first two games of the Angels series, fly to Cleveland the day of the Angels series finale, then cover the entire four-city road trip. After that, am on pretty much every series the rest of the way.
M’s still lead 2-0 heading into the fourth. Jarrod Washburn has tossed three hitless innings.
Richie Sexson seems to like playing in the Metrodome, having just hit his second home run in two nights, a towering blast off Scott Baker. That followed a solo shot by Adrian Beltre, so it’s 2-0 for Seattle here in the second inning. Only the second time all year the M’s have gone back-to-back. Guess Sexson’s on a hot streak, right? Think it can last until Oct. 1? I wonder if the M’s are picking up something off the Twins’ starters in this series? They have just been crushing the ball early in the two games so far. Jose Lopez just nearly broke his elbow diving into second base on a double. Face wound up in the dirt, too. Felix Hernandez is going crazy laughing at him. Lopez is OK and looked up at the giant scoreboard to watch the play when they showed it a second time. The crowd groaned so loudly the first time at the sight of his arm and face hitting the dirt that it caught his attention and caused him to look up.
Speaking of crowd noise, the pressbox here is set right behind the last row of fans in the first section. We’re in the first row of the box so I can actually reach out and rub somebody’s head if I wanted to. Not that I’d want to.
There’s a very vocal female Mariners supporter — looks to be in her 30s — sitting with someone who could be her mother. She’s right in front of me, about five seats over. On both home runs, she made just the loudest commotion. It was hilarious, since she was the only M’s fan in a sea of a few thousand Twins supporters. Got quite a few glares, but no beer thrown at her. This is, after all, the friendly Midwest.


New day, same lineup. What? You thought it would change? Why, because I suggested last night that it would? Well, there you go. How foolish. Actually, manager John McLaren assured us today that it will change tomorrow. He just didn’t see the need to change anything tonight with the team firing on all cylinders.
2B Alexi Casilla
C Joe Mauer
CF Torii Hunter
1B Justin Morneau
RF Michael Cuddyer
LF Jason Kubel
3B Tommy Watkins
DH Garrett Jones
SS Nick Punto
RHP Scott Baker
SEATTLE (70-52)
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 Jarrod Washburn
HP Chris Guccione
1B Jeff Kellogg
2B Jerry Layne
3B Bill Miller
So, that was a nice discussion in the previous post about who to cheer for in the Angels-Yankees series. McLaren is going for the Angels. We asked him today and he said it was hard to cheer for a team in your own division. He figures the M’s are going for the division title, so he should cheer for the Yankees. Said afterwards he’s really not all that preoccupied with it (even though he watched the game on TV before falling asleep). Sounds like code for “I want to avoid giving a team some bulletin board material.”
Jose Guillen tried to playfully goad Adam Jones again. In the clubhouse before batting practice, Jones was seated on a couch, along with Felix Hernandez and Jose Lopez, watching Venezuela pound The Netherlands in the Little League World Series on television. Guillen called out from across the room…
GUILLEN: Joneseeyy! You want to be a little kid again? You want to be a little bambino again?
JONES: Shakes his head no.
At that point, Guillen shook his head and looked away.
Lest you think Guillen is trying to torment the young outfielder, McLaren made a point today of mentioning how Guillen has taken Jones “under his wing” and treats him more like a little brother than a job-taking rival. Showing him the ropes, so to speak. It’s funny to watch. But Jones is benefitting, and, as we saw last night, giving it back as good as he gets sometimes.



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