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May 4, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Mariners at New York Yankees: 05/04 game thread

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12:51 p.m.: The Mariners enter this ninth inning, down 8-2, having scored two earned runs or less before the ninth in their last four games. They have scored three earned runs or less heading into the ninth innings of their last seven games. Seattle is fortunate to have won one of those contests, scoring five in the ninth to beat Cleveland the other night. But you can see why this team is losing. These guys will have to figure it out this week when the Texas Rangers come to town. This series was an enormous disappointment for the team, considering it had its top three starters going against an injury-weakened Yankees lineup. Doesn’t get much worse than that. Time for a leader or two on this team to step up and show the others how it’s done. On the mound, at the plate. It doesn’t matter. In the clubhouse wouldn’t hurt either, but performance starts on the field. This would be a good time for Jarrod Washburn to throw a quality start of seven innings or more. If the M’s get any more of these mound outings at Safeco Field, the game could be over by the third. If this team truly does have five No. 1 starters like John McLaren and Mel Stottlemyre keep saying, this would be a good time for Washburn to prove them right.
After that, the hitters have to show they can do the job.
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12:20 p.m.: Well, the M’s just let Darrell Rasner get our of here with a quality start, notching only two runs off him in six innings. Still an 8-2 game heading into the bottom of the seventh and Ross Ohlendorf is now on the mound for New York, working through a scoreless seventh frame. Yep, the Yankees are pulling out all the pitching stops on Seattle today. Getting the big guns on the mound. To answer your questions from the comments section, yes, it is difficult to watch this every day. And to be around a team when it’s playing like this and the mood is tense. If Paul O’Neill thinks they are moping around, it’s tough for me to argue. They certainly aren’t showing any life at the plate. My experience is that a team in a losing streak will always appear to be moping around. But you do look for signs. Signs that things will improve. I thought the other night in Cleveland, when Richie Sexson hit that late homer, that a turnaround was coming. That even though J.J. Putz blew the save and the team lost, that it would be the spark they needed. They competed against the Indians and could have taken two of three. But then they come in here and get outclassed with their three best starters on the mound. Makes me wonder about these guys. Not about their stats. But about whether they have what’s necessary inside to rebound from a setback. This team was supposed to be immune from losing streaks because of the improved pitching. But maybe, now that they’re off on another one, about to drop seven of nine, maybe it’s the everyday players that need to be looked at? Maybe it wasn’t all Jeff Weaver and Horacio Ramirez last season. If there is indeed a culture to losing, perhaps the M’s have too many guys who embrace that culture? Or, who have not been around winning teams enough? Those are my random thoughts right now because, no, I have never covered an offense this bad. Even the 2004 Toronto Blue Jays were not this awful. Wladimir Balentien might be on his way back to Class AAA in a week or two if he can’t make contact sometime soon, BTW. I have no idea who replaces him. But he’s striking out in every at-bat. Or popping out. Not picking on him (I just called out the entire team, other than pitchers, for pretty much being losers after all), but he’s going to have to lay off those sliders.
11:37 a.m.: Carlos Silva is not a big fan of Yankee Stadium. He came in here 0-2 with an 8.60 ERA and is going to see that go to up. He’s done now, giving up two more runs in the fourth to trial 8-2 and getting pulled before recording a single out. Lefties went 7-for-12 off him today with two homers and a sacrifice fly. Guess the change-up wasn’t working. Nor the inside fastball. Back to the drawing board. Ryan Rowland-Smith came on and needed 27 pitches to get out of the inning. Know how many times the M’s have scored enough runs to win today’s game? Once this season, putting up 11 against the Royals. Not sure even that will be enough by the time this one’s done.
This is starting to remind me of those August losing streaks the past two years. At least they didn’t make us wait around a whole season for it to happen this time. Seriously though. Think of all the great outings by starters that got wasted by this team. Now, when things start to regress somewhat on the mound, the team has no margin for error. That’s why you can’t throw away seven-inning quality starts. You’re supposed to win those to even out the games like these.
11:22 a.m.: The Mariners just blew an excellent chance to get back into the game in the fourth inning after singles by Adrian Beltre and Yuniesky Betancourt put runners at the corners with one out. But the big at-bat of the inning was by Jeff Clement, who struck out on a 2-2 pitch. It’s early in their careers, but Clement and Wladimir Balentien have not helped much on this road trip. The inning ending with Kenji Johjima grounding into a force out. Still a 6-2 game, Yankees in the lead. Will the M’s fall to 0-14 in games in which they trail by two or more runs at any point? Stay tuned.
11:10 a.m.: Christmas came early for the Yankees in the third inning and Carlos Silva was the tree as they lit him up for the sellout crowd to see. Six runs crossed the plate, giving the Yankees a 6-2 lead. The final three runs came on back-to-back homers by Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano. Even the inning’s only out to that point, a sacrifice fly by Jason Giambi, came on a deep, twisting fly ball to left. The guys batting lefthanded did the big damage that inning. Silva had been improving against lefties. But it all came undone for him that frame.
Seattle hitters have also been letting Darrell Rasner wiggle of that early hook. Rasner has retired seven of eight since Adrian Beltre’s home run, the exception being an Ichiro single in the third.
10:27 a.m.: Seattle already has a 2-0 lead heading to the bottom of the seccond as Adrian Beltre took Darrell Rasner deep to left with two out and Raul Ibanez on first base after a single in the first. Carlos Silva, pictured on the previous page working to Hideki Matsui, gave up a couple of singles in the bottom of the inning. But he got a pair of grounders, from Matsui and Jason Giambi, to Jose Vidro at first base to escape the jam. Vidro made all three outs with his glove that inning.
The M’s went 1-2-3 in the second against Rasner.
The lineups:
MARINERS (13-18)
51 Ichiro CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
28 Adrian Beltre 3B
3 Jose Vidro DH
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
9 Jeff Clement DH
2 Kenji Johjima C
50 Wladimir Balentien RF
52 Carlos Silva RHP
YANKEES (16-16)
18 Johnny Damon LF
2 Derek Jeter SS
53 Bobby Abreu RF
55 Hideki Matsui DH
25 Jason Giambi 1B
28 Melky Cabrera CF
24 Robinson Cano 2B
11 Morgan Ensberg 3B
19 Chad Moeller C
43 Darrell Rasner RHP
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