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

September 20, 2007 at 5:52 PM

Mariners vs. Angels, Game 1

A couple of us were remarking about how it was possibly not too bright a move by Jorge Campillo to brush back Vladimir Guerrero the way he did in the fourth inning. Guerrero barely flinched. If anything, we figured, it would probably make Guerrero mad enough to do something bad to the Mariners. Colleague John Hickey of the PI chimed in: “How much harder can he hit the ball off the Mariners? You might as well pitch him inside!”
Well, we all found out just how hard. Guerrero looked like he got under Campillo’s next pitch but still sent it soaring about 20 feet beyond the wall in left center. That was a shot. Now a 7-2 lead for the Angels. No folks, this M’s squad just wasn’t good enough to win this division. Pretty tough to argue otherwise.
GHOST OF RAMIREZ LINGERS
Let’s see…lefty starter? Check. A machine-gun volley of hits and runs? Check. Blowing a lead just handed to you? Check. Looking like you’re about cooked less than three innings in? Check.
Sounds like another Horacio Ramirez start. Too bad that looks like Ryan Feierabend on the mound. Is the future really just a repeat of the past? M’s fans sure hope not, but it was tough to tell during that five-run third inning that now has Seattle trailing 5-2.
M’S LEAD 2-0
Jose Guillen continues to take out his wrath on the Angels — despite saying all kinds of warm and fuzzy stuff about them lately — with a two-run double off the right field wall that was nearly a three-run homer. Jered Weaver is getting hit pretty hard since taking that ball off his leg. Some of the prior hits off him were bloopers but not these. Guillen appeared to get jobbed by the call at third from Mike Everitt. The replays I saw clearly showed Guillen getting his hand on the bag before being tagged. Looked like Everitt was influenced by the crowd’s anticipation. Or maybe he just made a bad call. So, it’s a 2-0 lead for Seattle in the bottom of the third.
WEAVER STUNG
Plenty of pickoff moves and a whole lot of singles by both teams, but no scoring thus far. Yuniesky Betancourt just caused Angels fans everywhere to choke on their Rally Monkeys by lining a ball off the right ankle of pitcher Jered Weaver. While M’s fans might have cheered had the same fate befallen elder Weaver brother, Jeff, there were gasps as his younger sibling rolled around on the ground in pain. You could hear audible sighs of relief as Wever stood up and — after a delay of several moments — continued to pitch. Not what you want with the playoffs less than two weeks away.
PARITY?
Thanks for some of your great posts, especially yours “Oregongal”. It really moved me. A pleasant night here in Anaheim, though the atmosphere isn’t quite what we’d imagined it would be a few weeks back. A writer from yahoosports.com asked John McLaren whether he felt disappointed these games won’t be as meaningful as first thought.
“I kind of do,” McLaren said. “I wish it was closer of course. We want to show people we belong on the same field as the Angels. They’ve sort of had their way with us this year.”
Getting better will boil down to better pitching. Especially in the starting rotation, where the Angels are developing a Big Three in John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Jered Weaver. Escobar and Lackey were both in the Cy Young Award running not too long ago, but have likely squandered any shot with some lesser performances down the stretch.
“Donovan” provided an exhaustive list of pitchers available through off-season free agency on the last post’s comments thread and it isn’t pretty. No real season-changers there. Yes, the M’s might very well have to go the trade route. Or, they can stick Brandon Morrow in the rotation. I asked McLaren about it pre-game and he said the team’s hope is that Morrow can strengthen his arm enough in winter ball that he’ll be ready to compete for a starting job in spring training. The team has held lengthy discussions about such a scenario and feels confident Morrow will be on the right pace to be ready by spring. We’ll see. I don’t know if I’m buying just yet. Morrow and Ryan Feierabend together to start 2007 does not look like the rotation of a playoff-bound team. Yes, you’ve got to start somewhere, but I’d feel a lot better with another impact arm added via trade.
Good luck to the M’s on that. I just don’t see Johan Santana coming here, though possibly they could swing a deal for someone like Brad Penny.
Anyway, we’re still in 2007. I’m wondering about something. What ever happened to all of those pre-season projections that said there would not be a team with 90 wins in the majors this year? Remember all that pre-season hype about how an 87-win campaign could put the M’s over the top? Well, guess what? It’s going to take the usual 95 or so — maybe more — this year just to win the wild card.
Boston needs to go 5-4 the rest of the way to win 95.
New York has to go 7-4.
Los Angeles (Angels) must go 5-5.
Cleveland has to go 5-5 as well.
Looks like all the real “parity” happened in the National League, where Arizona and New York may be hard-pressed to top 90 wins. But that whole thing about no one winning more than 86 or so? It’s never a good idea to bank on hope like that. Because the history of this game keeps proving it wrong. So, for the M’s next season? I’d say 95 wins has to be the minimal goal to improve over this year’s playoff plight.
Vladimir Guerrero is the DH because he’s got triceps tendinits in his arm above the elbow. The Angels had better keep an eye on that. That’s how it all began for Jose Guillen last year before he needed “Tommy John” surgery. The way A-Rod’s going in New York, he may stick around there a while and not go to Anaheim next year. In that case, the Angels can ill-afford to lose Guerrero.
ANGELS (90-62)
CF Reggie Willits
SS Orlando Cabrera
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Garret Anderson
3B Maicer Izturis
2B Howie Kendrick
RF Juan Rivera
1B Casey Kotchman
C Jeff Mathis
RHP Jered Weaver
SEATTLE (81-70)
CF Ichiro
3B Adrian Beltre
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Jose Guillen
1B Ben Broussard
DH Jose Vidro
C Kenji Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LHP Ryan Feirabend
UMPIRES
HP Dana DeMuth (crew chief)
1B Kerwin Danley
2B Doug Eddings
3B Mike Everitt
By the way, in the “what goes around comes around department” look at what the Canadian dollar is doing. If even the “loonie” can win every 30 years, the Mariners aren’t a lost cause just yet.

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