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August 22, 2007 at 9:59 AM

Mariners vs. Twins, series finale

Seattle goes down to an 8-4 defeat as Joe Nathan closes it out 1-2-3 in the ninth. Just got up from the clubhouse, where the M’s said they were going to make a roster move, then changed their minds about announcing it. Said they will probably make a move tomorrow. My guess is it might involve lefthander John Parrish, who didn’t look all that great today despite giving up no runs in his two innings of work. He did yield five hits and was fortunate not to get scored on.
Not sure the M’s can keep carrying a guy they only trust in mop-up situations and who hasn’t impressed anyone yet. Also not sure why they wouldn’t just announce a move. Maybe it’s paperwork. Who knows? Chalk it up as another secret. My hunch is not to get too excited about this. But I’ve been wrong before. We’ll see tomorrow. I wouldn’t waste time worrying about it. Assume it’s some minor move until it’s proven otherwise.
I’ll be back shortly with the post-game blog. Miguel Batista says there’s nothing worng with him. Just got clobbered by the opposing hitters. He liked his pitches today. So did the Twins, apparently.
M’S GET SOME MORE
The bats are starting to come to life for Seattle, but it’s all a little too late. Now an 8-4 game with three outs to go after Adrian Beltre doubled, Jose Guillen tripled and Raul Ibanez collected a sacrifice fly in the eighth off Pat Neshek, who had just come on in relief of Carlos Silva. A long drive to left by Ben Broussard ended the inning. If this was still the fifth or sixth, I’d be a lot more optimistic.
BROUSSARD GOES YARD
Well, what do you know? The Mariners finally got a run, on a solo homer to left by Ben Broussard here in the seventh. It’s now an 8-1 game. Hmmm, can a debate about streaks be far behind? Richie Sexson struck out looking on the previous pitch. I can feel the internet starting to smoke with activity.
Yuni Betancourt just tripled to make it 8-2. Still in the seventh. Get him home and…well…and the M’s would still trail by five.
To “Ben”, no argument from me. The Rangers have been foolish over most of the past decade. They did win some division titles back in the mid-to-late 1990s though. Have to give them some credit, even if it was just the awful AL West at the time.
MONEY TALKS?
“Ben” just asked whether any team in baseball has been as fiscally foolish over the past 10-15 years as the Texas Rangers. Better watch what you say. You never know when it may come back to bite you. For instance, I don’t know about the past 10-15 years, but how about the past three or four? From Cot’s Baseball Contracts web site:
Opening Day payrolls for 25-man roster
(salaries plus pro-rated signing bonuses):
Texas Rangers
2007: $ 68,318,675 ?
2006: $ 68,228,662 3rd
2005: $ 55,849,000 3rd
2004: $ 55,050,417 3rd
Seattle Mariners
2007: $106,460,833 ?
2006: $ 87,959,833 Last
2005: $ 87,754,334 Last
2004: $ 81,515,834 Last
In more recent history, the team in Seattle isn’t exactly held in high regard around baseball for its fiscal judgements. Longer-term? The Baltimore Orioles are probably the worst over the last 10 years. Much worse than the Rangers.
LINGERING WOES
They’ve sent Miguel Batista back out for the second inning after that 37-pitch, seven-run first. And he gives up a line drive double to the gap to start things off…Well, since this game is headed nowhere for the M’s, let me tell you a funny story. I was talking to Batista the other day and he goes to me: “I read your game story the other day and you wrote “lingering” in it. What does “lingering” mean? I’ve never heard that word.”
I’d written that Batista had a lingering problem with a biceps muscle. But I couldn’t believe that a published author (even if English is not his first language) had never heard that word used before. I tried telling him the verb was actually “linger” but he still shook his head.
Finally, knowing he’s big about music, I asked if he’d heard of “The Cranberries”.
“Of course,” he replied.
“The song ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’?” I continued.
He nods yes. At that point, I started singing him the chorus…”Do you have to, do you have to, do you have to let it LINGER?”
A bulb of recognition goes off in his face. “I still had no idea what the word meant,” he said.
Anyway, in the time it took me to write that, a Jason Kubel single made it 8-0. The good news is, we’re now out of the second inning and about to start the third. How’s work going?
BATISTA GIVES UP SEVEN
Might be time to go back to bed, or — perish the thought — work? Garrett Jones just hit a roller up the third base line that deflected off the bag and away from a diving Adrian Beltre for a single that makes it 5-0. Batista isn’t getting rocked — the Michael Cuddyer slam aside — but the grounders are being hit a little harder than usual and finding holes. A sacrifice fly to center by Nick “double-play” Punto just made it 6-0 and…of course, before I could hit “send”… the 10th batter of the inning, Alexi Casilla, actually does rock Batista with a triple to right center. First of his career. A seven-spot given up by Batista. Ryan Rowland-Smith now warming up. One of those days…
TWINS UP 4-0
Looks like Miguel Batista is starting this game off the way he ended his last one. Twins loaded the bases with one out and Michael Cuddyer just emptied them with a first-pitch grand slam to left center. So much for Batista’s streak of allowing three earned runs or less. He’d done it in four straight outings and 12 of the last 13. That’s out the window.
The key to this game now is for him to stop the bleeding right here. Seattle is perfectly capable of scoring four runs. Batista can’t let this game get out of hand in the first inning. From here, he’s got no room for error.
LOPEZ, VIDRO OUT
Hope you’re all out of bed and ready for this one. Miguel Batista goes for his 14th victory and a series sweep. Mariners now 2 1/2 up in the wild-card (four up on Detroit) and still two behind the Angels. As for Jose Guillen’s second slide, he had a chance to stick his arm out and tag the base. Nick Punto of the Twins had no problem with either slide. He compared Guillen to teammate Michael Cuddyer in the way both play the game hard. If he has no problem with it, I’m not sure why the folks in Orange County do. Well, actually, we all know why they do.
The lineups:
MINNESOTA (62-63)
2B Alexi Casilla
3B Tommy Watkins
CF Torii Hunter
1B Justin Morneau
RF Michael Cuddyer
LF Jason Kubel
C Mike Redmond
DG Garrett Jones
SS Nick Punto
RHP Carlos Silva
SEATTLE (71-52)
CF Ichiro
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Jose Guillen
LF Raul Ibanez
1B Richie Sexson
DH Ben Broussard
C Kenji Johjima
2B Willie Bloomquist
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
RHP Miguel Batista
UMPIRES
HP Jeff Kellogg
2B Jerry Layne
3B Bill Miller
3B Chris Guccione
The Mariners had planned to start Jamie Burke at catcher, but he’s got a sore back, so it’s Kenji Johjima working the day game after a night contest. No Adam Jones today. Hard to do with so many hot-hitting outfielders. Jose Lopez gets a rest. Ben Broussard is in for the scorching hot Jose Vidro as well. To answer “Adam”, you want to keep Vidro as fresh as can be, since he’s hitting about as well as he ever has in his career over nearly a two-month stretch. His legs have been an issue in recent years and you don’t need to pound them on this hard Metrodome turf three consecutive days.

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