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

September 19, 2007 at 4:50 PM

Sweep time

Make it three in a row and six of eight for the Mariners, who, unfortunately for them, took a little too long to put this run together. A 9-5 win today over the Oakland A’s on a cool, blustery day here where the wind and sun made fielding the ball difficult for everyone.
Felix Hernandez told us afterwards these were some of the toughest conditions he’s ever had to pitch in. The wind made it tough to get his breaking ball and change-up over. The 110 pitches thrown over five innings is not where he wanted to be, but he comes away with win No. 13 thanks to his offense.
Mariners manager John Mclaren said one thing the team will keep drilling into Hernandez is the importance of putting batters away early. McLaren said the one stat that’s stood out for him this year is that Hernandez has allowed 15 hits on 0-2 counts.
He expects improvement in that area from Hernandez come next year. McLaren wasn’t really talking about today — impacted by the wind — but more about Hernandez’s season in general.
“I think it’s just a mindset and we’re going to hammer it,” McLaren said.
Sounds like a guy planning on sticking around in 2008, doesn’t it?
You know what? This is another instance where the Mariners and all of their secrecy does them no good. They are again letting their GM and manager twist in the winds of public scrutiny and speculation for no apparent reason. It’s not like the next 10 days is going to prove anything one way or the other. The team should come forward and make a statement about whether McLaren and Bill Bavasi are coming back. Most teams would have by now, or at least in the next week — especially after making a “Hot Seat” comment about Bavasi a year ago. If you’re going to talk the talk, walk the walk and be prepared to defend your actions in public like everybody else. Hiding in a boardroom does few people any good.
It’s not like the M’s don’t know what they’re going to do. I sure hope not, at least. If they haven’t figured things out by now, they’re worse off than anyone thought.
Teams that expect their players to be stand-up guys should know that players take their cues from the top. Who in the M’s executive branch is prepared to stand up now that another season is about to end? Am I surprised at the realtive silence, Chuck Armstrong’s small comments today aside, from above? Not really. And an organzation’s silence can say more about them than their words do sometimes. Not like this team has won anything in a while.
Jamie Burke had a huge game, notching an RBI single, a double, scoring two runs — one of them all the way from first base on a double to left — and drove in another run by drawing a full-count, bases loaded walk.
“I don’t know if I’ve scored from first base this year,” Burke said. “It was fun, but it took me two innings to catch my breath.”
And yes, Yuniesky Betancourt also excelled, going 4-for-5 with a double and driving in three runs. What a two-way threat he’s turning into. Truly someone to watch heading into next year.
By the way, Ichiro’s two singles the final two innings raised his average to .354. He’s now ahead of Magglio Ordonez in the batting title race. Ordonez went 0-for-4 this afternoon in Cleveland and fell to .353.
Ichiro told us he keeps track of what’s going on by reading the papers and watching ESPN. But he added that it’s not like he’s scouring the boxscores every day. Right now, he says, he finds the DVD he’s watching to be more important.
Which one, Ichiro?
“Without a Trace,” he said. “It’s very interesting. I enjoy it a lot.”
J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless final inning — his elbow obviously feeling better — after some more stellar pitching in the eighth by George Sherrill. Ryan Rowland-Smith had another solid outing. Jon Huber and Sean Green had trouble hitting their spots.

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