Follow us:

Mariners blog

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

September 4, 2007 at 3:25 PM

Mariners vs. Yankees, Game 2

As bad as this 11-1 rout now looks, still in the eighth inning, it only counts for one game. The Mariners have to try to shrug this off, their bullpen getting obliterated right now, and try to win the series finale. Do that and they leave here just a game out of the wild-card. Hard to believe, I know. But that’s the reality. Lose the game tomorrow, with Jarrod Washburn on the mound, and I’ll be just about ready to stick the proverbial fork in. Three back with three weeks to go isn’t insurmountable. But with Detroit still lurking around, it may be tough for Seattle to keep pace after the weekend series with the Tigers.
Tomorrow’s game is another must-win. Yes, we’ve had a ton of them this year. The M’s lost a couple last week and tossed away the division. They won yesterday to make things a little easier on themselves — meaning this game was expendable — and now have to do it again. Tomorrow’s game is not expendable. Not when you’ve lost 10 of 11 and just been embarassed like this.
Class AAA Tacoma is now out on the field. Brad Pitt was here as well and just left the building. Time to go home. Manhattan awaits. Let’s get this next inning out of the way ASAP.
Another spotty bullpen performance so far. Eric O’Flaherty gave upo a run-scoring hit last inning and then Bobby Abreu took Brandon Morrow deep this frame to make it 5-1. Two more singles off Morrow after that. You should have heard the cheers go silent in an instant when A-Rod began rolling on the ground clutching his knee after getting tangled up with Adrian Beltre on that close play at third. It looked like Rodriguez was out from what I saw. But A-Rod has gotten up and is staying in the game — much to the delight of the Yankee Stadium crowd. They’ve seen two others go down since yesterday and could ill-afford losing Rodriguez.
One thing that’s become quite common on this trip is to see the Mariners begin to erupt in the seventh inning. Adrian Beltre just walloped a home run to left center to make it a 4-1 contest, Seattle still trailing. Beltre’s 22nd homer may have come too little, too late. We’ll see. The M’s can’t always wait until the seventh to begin their comebacks. Carlos Garcia aside. It hasn’t worked on this trip yet, at least in the won-lost department.
And that could be our ballgame, with Robinson Cano delivering his third hit of the game on a single up the middle to make it 3-0, then Wilson Betemit singling to left off Eric O’Flaherty for a 4-0 lead. Sean White is now warming up for the visitors, with the sixth inning finally done.
That was a major league home run Alex Rodriguez just crushed off Horacio Ramirez, who may be just about done here in the sixth. It was a towering shot to the upper deck in left field that nobody moved on. A full-count cut-fastball from Ramirez that was clocked at only 81 mph. If that’s the true velocity, I wonder if it really was a cutter like the scoreboard said. Either way, it’s a 2-0 game, the Yankees in the lead and Carlos Garcia sweating up a storm. Two on with one out after a catcher’s interference call on Kenji Johjima. If Ramirez can survive this inning, you’ve got to count your blessings and run to the bullpen if you’re the M’s.
Then, find some hitters. And remind the third base coach how many outs there are and that it’s Hideki Matsui playing in left.
Time to rip the coaching staff here. You just cannot wave the runner around third with nobody out in an inning on a ball hit as hard as that single to left by Kenji Johjima. He hit it to Hideki Matsui for crying out loud! I don’t care if it’s Adrian Beltre, or Ichiro or Willie Bloomquist running the bags. Heck I don’t even care if it’s Carl Lewis out there. You can’t wave the runner around. Beltre was a dead duck the minute Matsui picked up the ball. We all knew it, all called it even before the throw. That play just could cost the Mariners the game (season?) and was not smart baseball by third base coach Carlos Garcia. Seattle would have had the bases loaded and nobody out. Instead, there were two on with one out and Jose Lopez hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
That was a terrible coaching blunder in the midst of a playoff race.
We’re through four innings here, with the Mariners down 1-0 to the New York Yankees. Horacio Ramirez has been hit hard at times, but I have to say, I’m sure Seattle will take the one earned run allowed over four innings. Get through two more frames and the team will take it in a heartbeat. One thing stood out for me in the fourth and that’s how quickly Jose Lopez put the tag on the runner and got the ball off to first base for that double-play try on the grounder that deflected off Horacio Ramirez. The double-play failed, but the tag-out was made. Lopez hesitated on a similar play a while back, got no outs and was benched the next night.
He acted quickly, decisively and — most important — alertly this time around. And got the one out that was drilled into him that he had to make on such plays. The lead runner at that.
Seattle’s offense can’t solve Chien Ming Wang so far, with Raul Ibanez notching the only hit and making it to third base with two out in the second before being stranded. A home run by Jorge Posada is the only run of the game thus far. As for whether Adam Jones would have caught that Bobby Abreu double in the first, that’s a stretch. Maybe Ichiro gets to it. But Jones, with all of 10 games as a left fielder, playing at this ballpark (a difficult left field) would have been hard-pressed. Had he made it, it would have been a great catch.
Getting ready for the start of what could be a pivotal game for the Mariners. Pivotal because they need to win at least two games in this series to avoid starting to drift back in the pack. Steal one here and all the pressure reverts to the Yankees tomorrow to avoid a sweep.
One of you, I think it was “BGR”, asked whether I had any analytical samples to prove my contention the Yankees have come to lean on Clemens. Other than talking to the Yankee players, I guess I don’t. Sorry, I’m just taking them at their word as to how they say they feel.
To “Ruppert (two ‘p’ s) Jones” don’t worry about answering my question from the previous post. It was meant to be rhetorical. There is no way of answering it definitively. That was sort of the point. Yes, we can all hypothesize about how this line drive would have been a single, rather than a double, etc., etc. And I am sure a quicker Adam Jones might have prevented a few runs over the past month. Though I’m not sure how many of those were game-turners. I can think of one offhand, that’s about it. As for the pitchers being upset with Ibanez and his costly defense, I’d never heard that until “BGR” mentioned it. Pretty sure someone would have said something to me in the clubhouse.
Look, some of us just aren’t going to agree on this. If you want the “pro” side to the Jones argument, you can hustle over to USSMariner where Dave Cameron gives his usual excellent rebuttal. I have to disagree, though, with the contention that my previous post was an argument for verterans “earning” the right to play in September.
That’s not the argument at all. The argument is “There is no problem because Ibanez and Vidro are performing”. In other words, you don’t risk a fix by throwing a rookie call-up into the mix when you don’t have to. And nobody is dissing Cameron Maybin for his slow start. The point of mentioning his situation was only to show how desperate the Tigers were because of Craig Monroe. Sure, the slow start by Maybin exemplifies the risk of call-ups — after all this isn’t April, they don’t have all season to turn things around — but his results are more of a side point at this stage. He may improve, he may not. The point is, he was a risk. A risk the Tigers needed to take. A risk the M’s do not.
Yes, Vidro has posted a .750 OPS the past two weeks. So what? A-Rod posted a couple of months worth of such OPS in his AL MVP season in 2003. That’s nit-picking to a new degree, if you ask me. Ibanez has also slowed down in recent weeks, but is getting on-base at a respectable level and hitting for average. No, his power isn’t there at this very moment, but when you keep hitting the ball hard — which he has — the power often returns. It’s too soon to jettison him over the side.
The Jones debate is great for fan conversation and debate by fans. Just like any hypothetical argument, there is no way of knowing how he would have turned out. But most teams, unless there’s a problem staring them in the face, would be loathe to risk seeking a solution. That’s all. There is no great mystery here. The M’s biggest problems are with the starting rotation and a bullpen that’s slowing down. They don’t have to take risks to solve a problem that isn’t really there. This whole debate is one better suited to spring training, when projections over an entire season will truly start to matter.
I just don’t see the issue being that relevant the next few weeks. Yes, Ibanez does lousy against lefties. But is sticking him in there the one time every four games a lefty pitches against Seattle going to make him a better hitter the other three games against righties? This is one question I haven’t seen tackled here.
Hey, I do respect what all of you have said here. And I’m sure the truth might be somewhere closer to the middle. I just don’t agree that the team has to make Jones over Ibanez/Vidro an issue at this time.
The lineups:
NEW YORK (76-62)
CF Melky Cabrera
SS Derek Jeter
RF Bobby Abreu
3B Alex Rodriguez
C Jorge Posada
LF Hideki Matsui
DH Shelley Duncan
2B Robinson Cano
1B Wilson Betemit
RHP Chien Ming Wang
SEATTLE (74-62)
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Ben Broussard
C Kenji Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LHP Horacio Ramirez



No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►