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September 8, 2007 at 6:55 PM

Historic collapse; audio

You can all say you saw it live, on FSN hopefully, because few M’s fans would want to admit they bought tickets to this historic 12-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers here at Comerica Park. It was a 5-5 game in the sixth inning before the Tigers unloaded on Jeff Weaver and the bullpen, launching two homers, a triple and three doubles the final three innings to turn another tight game into a blowout once again.
Seattle has become the first team in modern baseball history, dating back to at least 1901, to drop 13 of 14 games after being at least 20 games over .500 as late as the Mariners were this season. There have been quite a few 1-13 records down the stretch in recent years, but not by a team at least 20 games over .500 after the 126-game mark of a season.
Yes, the M’s are in an even more futile stretch, for a team with as good a record this late, as those awful 1964 Phillies. All the research I did on this was compiled on Baseball and Retrosheet. Took about five hours, so I’ll tell you it’s pretty complete. Remember, to qualify, the team had to be at least 20 games above .500 as they entered their 127th game the way the M’s did.
Predictably, the clubhouse was miserable.
Jose Guillen on his two dropped balls: “You can blame it on me,” Guillen said. “I will take full responsibility for those two balls.”
Threw his glove into the stands. Said he had it for five years and isn’t going to be getting it back. Hear him here.
Guillen was too upset to talk about the team’s losing stretch.
Ichiro was very upset at that Brian Gorman blown call at first base to lead off the game. The M’s had four baserunners but scored only one run. Who knows what might have happened with the right call? They’d probably have lost anyway, but Ichiro was still miffed.
“It’s kind of to the point where I’ve given up about this topic,” Ichiro said through interpreter Ken Barron. “I don’t even have words to express my feelings any more at this point.
“At this point, you can almost laugh about it because it’s so silly.”
Ichiro then added: “I thought everybody here, at the major league level, is professional. I thought that’s the reason they are at the major league level.”
I asked Ichiro whether he was specifically calling Gorman “unprofessional”.
“Don’t make me go into that much detail,” he said.
Jeff Weaver just couldn’t get it done tonight. For every run his team would score to get back in the game, he’d give it right back to the Tigers. Finally, the Seattle runs dried up and Weaver was on the short end of the for/against quotient.
“Our offense did an excellent job battling back each and every time they put up the runs,” Weaver said. “I just couldn’t stop them. They’re as hot as it comes right now and I’m just having a hard time getting out of situations.”
Hear his audio right here.
There’s not much to ask John McLaren these days. He keeps sticking with the same lineup, inserting Richie Sexson — who went 0-for-3 with a walk — as the only new addition tonight. The lineup produced six runs. But the pitching just wasn’t competitive with the AL’s best once again. Another rough outing for Sean Green after Weaver gives up six earned runs.
“Let me tell you this,” he said. “We’re all frustrated. I said this before, but it’s a complete gut-check time for everybody.”
I won’t play the McLaren audio. It’s more of the same. No answers. Needs the team to battle out of it. You’ve heard it all week.
Will this team be able to finish .500? Probably. But it needs some pitchers to step up and deliver. This was a rare chance to win against a lefty starter tonight and the M’s blew it against a mediocre Nate Robertson. Felix Hernandez goes tomorrow, having pitched this team to its only victory the last two weeks. This playoff race is done. Seattle is five behind New York, two behind Detroit and about to be caught by Toronto. Toronto, of all teams! This is a stunning decline. Just stunning. I’m lost for words. It will be a long time before any of us witness a collapse of this magnitude again.



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