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August 31, 2007 at 2:14 PM

Mariners vs. Blue Jays, Game 1

And as if to prove the point, Jose Vidro hits a two-run homer off Shaun Marcum to make it a 6-4 game. That extra run could prove big. Seattle is getting to Marcum tonight and still has a shot in this game. Yuniesky Betancourt just saved a run in the fifth with a throw from a sitting position.
OK, many of you wanted me to take John McLaren to task for something. I’ll do it right here. Jarrod Washburn should have been out of this game when he threw 83 pitches in those first three innings. Instead, the M’s still have him out there, having just yielded his third homer of the night, to Alex Rios, to fall behind 6-2. His pitch count just soared past 100 and he’s gotten only one out. Ryan Rowland-Smith should be in the game and should have been to start the inning. At 83 pitches, the most you were going to get out of Washburn was one more inning. Instead, he’s having foul balls golfed 400 feet off him. This was still a winnable game to start this inning. I know McLaren wants to spare the bullpen, but he’s got to be trying to win these games. They didn’t even have anyone up in the bullpen until this inning.
I’ve heard of pitchers having to “suck it up” for the team, but this is ridiculous. You aren’t eating innings with the stuff Washburn’s got tonight. Only putting the team further behind in a game that still isn’t out of reach. This was entirely preventable. Rowland-Smith is now in the game as I type this, still only one out and two men on via walks in a 6-2 game.
There is nothing Washburn has shown of late to suggest he could have gotten through the fourth inning, facing the meat of the order, any easier than he did the first three. The M’s have to figure this out and keep the game close. Right now, they’re a bad pitch away from it being over quick.
So, we’re in the bottom third inning here and the Blue Jays just got a two-run homer from Troy Glaus and a solo blast by Centralia’s own Lyle Overbay to take a 5-2 lead. Washburn isn’t getting the job done tonight and is already at 68 pitches with two out in the inning. The M’s had just tied it 2-2 on a solo home run by Adrian Beltre in the top of the frame. The Blue Jays had scored twice in the bottom of the second for a 2-1 lead, the big play being a triple to center by No. 9 hitter John McDonald that scored both Toronto runs.
But McDonald might never have come to the plate had Jose Vidro made a better tag at second base on a Glaus double to lead things off. Adam Jones made a bullet throw from left and appeared to nail the slow-moving Glaus, but Vidro waited around and made a lame tag attempt at Glaus as he slid on by and safely into the bag.
Seattle scored a run in the first when Beltre barely beat out an infield single towards third. M’s have four hits and two walks but keep stranding runners.
Washburn’s pitch count does not bode well for that eight-inning start that John McLaren needed. Speaking of McLaren, we queried him at length today about why he went with Rick White in that eighth inning.
The one angle we never really explored last night or today, the one he said drove his decision, was that he didn’t want to be in a position of potentially burning J.J. Putz for a game in this series. Doing it at home, he said, is a different matter entirely once the ninth inning arrives — since there would be no more save situations in a tie game — and he wouldn’t hesitate to do it. But not on the road where the team would still be hoping for a save situation after the ninth and need someone to close the game out.
“I think when you start bringing him in in situations like that, it’s going to take away from the next game and the game after that,” McLaren said. “If we used this guy last night and we lose and he used a lot of pitches, I really feel like we were defeating our purpose. I just felt like that wasn’t a way to go.”
McLaren went on to say that had Putz thrown 1 1/3 or 1 2/3 innings, the team still might have lost and not had Putz ready to pitch if he was needed in a bunch of games this series. He said the coaching staff is trying to pinpoint ways to cut down on bad pitches the team is making in “pitcher’s counts” like 0-2 and 1-2, as well as figure out why “hitter’s counts” like 2-0 or 3-1 are not being properly exploited by the M’s.
They’ve announced the September call-ups, which I tried to post an hour ago, but we’re having internet issues here in Canada. Anyway, joining the team tomorrow will be:
OF Mike Morse
OF Charlton Jimerson
C Rob Johnson
LHP Ryan Feierabend
LHP John Parrish (no groaning, please)
RHP Sean White
Joining the team on Sept. 3 after the Class AAA season ends:
OF Jeremy Reed
OF Wladimir Balentien
INF Nick Green (onetime big prospect name from a while back)
C Jeff Clement
And these folks are now off the 40-man roster, having been outrighted without being claimed:
INF Oswalsdo Navarro
LHP Jake Woods
C Rene Rivera
OF Mike Wilson
Had a long and interesting chat with John McLaren about you-know-what earlier this afternoon. He had some interesting things to say. And no, he wouldn’t do things differently if he had to do it over again. I’ll get back to you with that in a bit.
The lineups:
TORONTO (67-66)
CF Vernon Wells
LF Reed Johnson
RF Alex Rios
DH Frank Thomas
3B Troy Glaus
2B Aaron Hill
1B Lyle Overbay
C Gregg Zaun
SS John McDoanld
RHP Shaun Marcum
SEATTLE (73-59)
CF Ichiro
2B Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
DH Raul Ibanez
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Ben Broussard
C Kenji Johjima
LF Adam Jones
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LHP Jarrod Washburn
HP Fieldin Culbreth
2B Marty Foster
3B Tim McClelland
3B Paul Schrieber



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