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

May 8, 2008 at 11:56 PM

Fight, then flight

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Miguel Cairo, above, prepares to notch his first hit of the year, an infield single that took a bad hop with two out in the ninth. Yuniesky Betancourt lined out to end the game after that.
The Mariners put up a good fight on the mound in that fourth inning. After that, the offense pulled its vanishing act once again, managing just four hits all game in a 5-0 loss to the Texas Rangers. Let’s get out the calculators, shall we?
That makes it 23 consecutive innings without a run and one run scored over the last 32 frames. But at least the Pythagorean record was salvaged somewhat by those seven runs the M’s scored in the first three innings of the series opener. That helped Seattle score eight runs in the series — an average of two per game — which is better than the reality this team scored only one run in Game 2 and zero in the final two contests.
Cheered up yet? No? Don’t worry, it gets worse. The Mariners just blew through their two best starters without giving them even one run of support.
Seattle is now eight games out of first place at 14-22. Fight Night turned into Fright Night yet again.
“I’ve never seen it this bad,” Richie Sexson said of the offense.
Sexson admitted he should not have thrown the helmet. Used a swear word to describe his action, which has to do with a chicken and is a euphamism for cowardly. But he doesn’t regret charging the mound, saying he was consumed with rage to see Kason Gabbard throw up near his face.
“I’m 6″8, what are we talking about here?” Sexson said. “He’s a guy who can hit corners at will. All of a sudden, he’s up near my face?”
Sexson expected to be hit by Gabbard after Felix Hernandez plunked two Rangers. “I understand the situation,” Sexson said. “There’s a right and a wrong way to play the game. Hit me below the shoulders and I’m fine with that. You get up near the face and that’s when you start talking about careers and you start talking about family.”
Sexson had missed Wednesday’s game to tend to his sick son in the hospital. He admitted the stress of that, plus the team’s dismal slide, likely contributed to the rage that exploded inside his head.
“I’m sure it all came to a head right there,” he said. “It’s no secret we haven’t scored a lot of runs for a while. It’s no secret we haven’t lived up to our potential.”

Hernandez did not come out to talk to reporters after the game, though he’d had plenty to say while out on the field during the melee. Mariners manager John McLaren was too busy trying to restore order on the field to see what Hernandez was doing. He said he’ll review video of the fight and act accordingly.
I would suspect this organization will to do something about Hernandez. Let him get “emotional” — which is how McLaren described him — when he’s facing hitters. Not when a brawl’s going on and he’s trying to play the crazed tough guy. Someone should tell him about what happened to Bill “Spaceman” Lee, the former star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox whose career was never the same after getting body slammed on his shoulder during a 1970s brawl with the Yankees. It doesn’t matter how tough a guy thinks he is in one of these things. All it will take is somebody clocking Hernandez from behind to set the Mariners back years in the pitching department. And the toughest guys in these things usually aren’t the loudest. There’s always some martial arts expert lurking who could knock Hernandez’s jawbone back to where his ears are supposed to be. I suspect the team does not want this theory tested in real life.
Anyhow, everyone survived.
As I mentioned, the pitch from Gabbard was up near Sexson’s head — but it wasn’t an inch or two away. The ball finally did cross the plate more towards the middle of it. Though I’m sure it initially looked to Sexson as if it was going to bean him between the eyes.
Rangers catcher Gerald Laird was slow to react to the situation and did not tackle Sexson until he’d already clobbered Gabbard with his helmet.
“I was a little bit surprised,” he said of Sexson’s reaction. “I didn’t think the ball was that close.”
Anyhow, the Rangers just took three of four. The M’s look as bad as I’ve ever seen a team. Their season is going down the drain. Somebody has to step up. Anybody. Before it’s too late. They showed some fight on the field when it didn’t count on the scoreboard. Every other time, they went AWOL.



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