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August 27, 2007 at 10:14 PM

Angels hammer Mariners; hear audio

I can tell you from my visit to the Mariners clubhouse after the game that the team doesn’t seem overly concerned by a 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. There were plenty of things the team could have been worried about: Jose Lopez not makiing that tag properly on Gary Matthews Jr. on that double to start the fourth inning — leading to a key add-on run in a 3-0 game.
Mariners manager John McLaren was not happy about that tag. Lopez has to be more aggressive in going after the runner and tagging him. He can’t sit and wait for Matthews to slide into his glove.
So, the coaching staff will go over things with Lopez — again. Lopez feels he made the tag. He might have. But that was a terrible sales job he did on the umpire and he deservedly did not get the call.
Other calls tonight? Who knows? Ichiro swears he foul-tipped that first inning pitch by John Lackey.
“I am not a man who lies,” Ichiro said after the game.
Angels catcher Jeff Mathis agreed.
“He did foul tip it,” Mathis said.
But plate umpire Gary Darling didn’t explain his strikeout ruling. Darling admitted to a pool reporter after the game that he’d made the foul-tip sign. But Darling wouldn’t explain anything else after that. So, either Darling missed the ball hitting the dirt, or feels Ichiro swung and missed (which he obviously didn’t if he admits to making the foul tip sign). My guess is that he missed the ball hitting the dirt.
McLaren tried to get Darling to appeal to third base umpire Jerry Meals, but that Darling told him Meals could automatically get involved if he saw the play differently and an appeal wasn’t needed. Once in the dugout, McLaren threw up his arms after players told him replays showed the ball hitting the dirt.
It was then that Meals ejected him. Hear some McLaren audio on this, Lopez and other stuff right here.
“I’ve never seen something like that before,” Ichiro said of the ejection by a third base umpire who is not the crew chief (Darling is).
Anyway, the ejection of McLaren likely didn’t impact the game’s outcome all that much. The M’s couldn’t get to Lackey. They’ve failed to score a run on him in three outings this year, two of them complete game shutouts.
But as I mentioned, the clubhouse mood was pretty light.
Jose Vidro had two of the seven hits off Lackey and said he was very tough. But Vidro also said the team wasn’t feeling any pressure after this one loss.
“There’s no pressure at all,” Vidro said. “I don’t see it in the guys’ faces. They’re very, very excited to be here. We got back here late last night and the guys were very excited to be here.
“We’ve still got a lot of games to go and we’re going to be OK.”
Hear Vidro right here.
Miguel Batista didn’t seem all that worried about having given up 14 runs his past two outings. Gave up six runs in six innings tonight. Remember, he’d allowed three earned runs or less in nine of his prior 10 outings.
“I think I missed my location at the wrong time a couple of times,” Batista said. “But out of the 10 hits there were only three balls hit hard.”
How do you folks feel about it? Was he victimized by hits like that Matthews blooper. Or by bigger bops like the Garret Anderson home run in the second and two-run double in the third?
Here’s the Batista audio.
So, what do I think? Is this “it doesn’t matter” attitude for real? I think it partly is. After all, the M’s still have that two-game wild-card cushion over New York. Hard to hit the panic button with a month to go and so many head-to-head games left. And when your team is sitting in a playoff spot.
Do I think the M’s can afford to lose the next two games? No way. And I don’t think they buy that either. One win these next two nights is a must. Fall five back of the Angels heading into that killer four-city road trip and you can kiss the division goodbye and focus on the wild card race. At this stage, the M’s need to keep both playoff options open.
Best way to do that? Win tonight and keep that losing streak from reaching four. The previous streaks have creeped up on this team out of nowhere. You cannot afford another six or seven gamer at this point in the season.



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