Another sparse crowd on a cool night at Safeco Field.
9:29 p.m.: A nervy eighth inning there for Arthur Rhodes, who loaded the bases up with two out by walking David Murphy. But Sean Green came on to get Brandon Boggs on a full-count flyout to right to end the threat and give Seattle at least a chance of coming back.
That was a tough seventh for the Mariners. I didn’t like plate umpire Mark Wegner’s call on Jeff Clement. Thought the pitch was inside. Yuniesky Betancourt’s strikeout was borderline as well. For him not to swing at a pitch, it would have to clearly be a ball most of the time, no? Anyhow, that’s the thing with teams like the Mariners. When you don’t hit and word gets around, it seems like you tend not to get the close calls from umpires. I mean, Vicente Padilla had just walked the first two guys. Looked like the only way Seattle was going to score in this game was to rest the bat on their shoulders, cross their fingers and hope for the best. The old Moneyball way. Didn’t work. They’re still in big trouble in this game. Only two hits the first seven innings. One run in their last 21 frames.
A look at Richie Sexson, above, during BP today with coach Eddie Rodriguez before leaving the stadium to attend to a personal family issue.
8:34 p.m.: Attendance tonight is 17,173, making it the seventh smallest in Safeco Field history. The Mariners just fell behind by that terrible two in the top of the sixth, with Erik Bedard yielding a solo homer to left on a 1-0 pitch to Milton Bradley. Bedard has his quality start already, but he’s down 2-0. Remember that mark of 0-15 when the M’s trail by two or more at any point. Could be 0-16 in a few innings. Seattle has just one hit.
8:05 p.m.: The good news is that Erik Bedard kept a second Texas run from scoring in the fourth inning after yielding an RBI triple to Bradon Boggs. Milton Bradley had notched a one-out single that frame and scored on the Boggs three-bagger. But Chris Shelton promptly grounded out to third to keep it a 1-0 game. Remember, the M’s are 0-15 when they trail by two or more runs at any point. They are looking overmatched at times against Vicente Padilla tonight.
By the way, Texas shortstop Michael Young left the game earlier because of an injured hip flexor.
7:34 p.m.: John McLaren got tossed from the game in the second inning after leaving the dugout to argue with plate umpire Mark Wegner about a strike he failed to call during a David Murphy at-bat. Murphy wound up with a single to right and McLaren got on Wegner immediately. McLaren didn’t get all that much out of the argument. Neither did the crowd, apparently. If a few folks had piped down, we might have heard what McLaren was yelling. That’s how quiet it is here so far. Erik Bedard struck out the side after the base hit, so we’re still scoreless. Ichiro was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the first, but never even advanced to second as his teammates went 1-2-3. Seen that before.
Angels are getting smoked by the Royals, 9-3 in the ninth. Chance for the M’s to make up some ground. Maybe pull back from that ledge. They need to gain something. A hit would be nice, I’m sure.
7:18 p.m.: Just a quick update, after Erik Bedard allowed a two-out walk but otherwise got through the first inning. Michael Young has left the game for the Rangers and is no longer at shortstop. Instead, it’s Ramon Vazquez. No word yet on what happened.
7:02 p.m.: A lineup change for the Mariners as Richie Sexson had to leave the park to attend to what the team says is a personal family issue. No other information was given. Jeff Clement moves up into the No. 5 slot. Bad break for the team. Big chance for Clement to show something tonight. Miguel Cairo takes Sexson’s spot at first base and is batting ninth. Had a chat with Cairo today. Flat-out asked him whether he gets frustrated hearing folks (like me) talking about how the team should drop him from the roster if it isn’t going to use him.
He was good-natured about the whole thing. he’s been around a long time and has his pride. But also his humility.
“You’ve got to deal with that,” he said. “I’ve got my role on the team. If you feel you’re a very good player, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. I believe in myself and I know if I get a chance to play today, I’m going to do my best. You’ve got to contribute any way you can.”
Cairo says he considers it his “role” to also help younger players on the team. I told him about photographing him speaking to Wladimir Balentien during early BP yesterday. He told me he shared some of his personal philosophy with Balentien. Says he told him: “The bus comes around one time and you’ve got to get on and ride it. Tacoma’s in the past. You’ve got to show you can play in the big leagues. Pitchers can make adjustments to you and you’ve got to adjust. This is a game of making adjustments. That’s how you stay up here.”
I asked him if he wanted to coach and he said yes. “But not right now,” he added quickly. “I can still play and I still want to play.”
5 Ian Kinsler 2B
10 Michael Young SS
32 Josh Hamilton CF
21 Milton Bradley DH
7 David Murphy RF
41 Brandon Boggs LF
16 Chris Shelton 1B
25 Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
6 German Duran 3B
44 Vicente Padilla RHP
51 Ichiro CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
9 Jeff Clement DH
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
50 Wladimir Balentien RF
15 Jamie Burke C
13 Miguel Cairo 1B
45 Erik Bedard LHP