2:43 p.m.: R.A. Dickey just had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 14 as J.D. Drew smashed a solo homer to center with two out in the sixth to make it a 6-2 game. The M’s have gone into hibernation since tying things up in the third. Eleven in a row have been retired by Tim Wakefield as we begin the seventh.
As for what I wrote earlier, I’m sorry some of you object to strong feedback once or twice a week. I will, however, continue to allow all of you to have your say seven days per week, no matter how right or wrong some of you may be. As far as whining goes, here’s what sounds like a whine to me. When readers can dish it out in all directions every day, with nothing to fear from anyone, but are reduced to complaining when it’s pointed out that their facts don’t always jive with their perceptions. Try listening to that for a day or two sometimes. If it seems like my once or twice weekly feedback amounts to a “daily defense” imagine how some of the nonsense I read at times feels to me. My skin is plenty thick. I’m just pointing out that some of you are talking smack without the juice to back it up. If that hurts, well, you can always go hide in a corner.
For the rest of you, you too, Ben, who enjoy coming here, thank you. The others, those who are always complaining, you can keep coming too. No one dislikes you. Just pointing out that what you say will sometimes have zero merit and you’ll be called out on it. But hey, at least I won’t censor your posts if I don’t like what you say. Learn to cherish small victories, they’re good for you.
2:30 p.m.: We’ve got two knucklers going at it now, with Miguel Batista bowing out after just 4 1/3 innings and giving way to R.A. Dickey with the bases loaded and one out. Dickey got the first out on a pop-up to second by Kevin Cash, but then uncorked a wild pitch that enabled Manny Ramirez to score from third for a 5-2 Boston lead. Dickey got another popout to end the inning.
Six walks, one intentional, did Batista in today. The last time Tim Wakefield was in a game against a knuckleballer was July 22 of last year. Prior to that, it was in 2002. So, not very common.
2:04 p.m.: Boston now leads 4-2 after scoring a pair in the fourth and running Miguel Batista’s pitch count up to 70. Knuckleball enthusiasts beware…R.A. Dickey was warming up in the bullpen for Seattle that inning. Batista’s day went downhill when he yielded a two-out double to left by Alex Cora. Not sure how Cora wound up with an RBI, since left fielder Raul Ibanez bobble the ball twice. Brandon Moss scored all the way from first on the play but had yet to round third when Ibanez made his second bobble. Should have been an error that allowed the run to score. None was charged. A single by Coco Crisp after that made it a 4-2 game.
1:34 p.m.: Seattle just did something completely unexpected and tied the game 2-2 in the third inning. Yuniesky Betancourt and Ichiro started off with singles. The M’s then caught a break when third baseman Kevin Youkillis bobbled a potential double-play ball by Jose Lopez/ Youkillis threw Lopez out, but both runners moved into scoring position. Raul Ibanez drove both in with a ground-ruled double. Richie Sexson is back to normal today. He struck out in the second and grounded out with two runners still on to end the third.
Jose Vidro has been even worse. Stranded a pair of runners in the first, then popped out with two on and one out in the third.
1:17 p.m.: Yes, a much different look being given the M’s today. They trail 2-0 heading to the bottom of the second. Seattle got the first two runners on in the first inning. But instead of Bartolo Colon throwing away a double-play ball this time, Tim Wakefield merely struck out the next two guys and had Jose Vidro ground into a fielder’s choice.
Miguel Batista gave up a two-out triple off Ichiro’s glove (Ichiro gets the benefit of the doubt from me on that one — why? Because he’s Ichiro. He’s not dogging it out there). But this time, Batista had to face Manny Ramirez, unlike last night when Felix Hernandez had a sub lineup out there. Ramirez obliterated a Batista pitch and sent it over the Green Monster and beyond.
12:36 p.m.: A hot and muggy day at Fenway Park. Temperature is expected to get into the 90s. Mariners facing knuckleballer Tim Wakefield today. Depending on how Miguel Batista looks here (and he hasn’t always been great) we could see R.A. Dickey in there to give us duelling knucklers. Batista hasn’t started a game at Fenway since 2004, when I saw him pitch a couple of times here for the Blue Jays. In four career starts in Boston, he’s 1-2 with a 6.43 earned run average. He’s 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA against Boston in his last four decisions dating back to 2004.
Boston will have Manny Ramirez in the lineup today. So, a slightly better look than Seattle got last night.
For a couple of you suggesting I was “soft” on Richie Sexson all of a sudden, how’s that? Because I didn’t spit in his face last night? What, me writing all week that the Mariners should have released him weeks ago wasn’t enough? I shake my head at what gets commented on here sometimes. We’ve done nothing but write in this space for weeks that Sexson is dragging the team down. I wrote on Thursday (late Wednesday, actually) that this organization should have gotten rid of him the day Bill Bavasi spoke out in New York. Then I stood, last night, inches away from Sexson — with nothing but air keeping us from a confrontation — and asked him questions about how he and others felt about the treatment given him by Bavasi. About how he was handling the negativity surrounding him. I didn’t ask him a softie about his three hits. Didn’t care about those. Cut right to the issue. But that apparently is not enough for some readers.
Some of you have a notion of a beat writer’s job that, I’m sorry to say, does not exist. In Seattle, New York, Boston, or any other place. What some of you want, I think, is a hired thug to walk in the clubhouse and go Tonya Harding on any player in sight. Sorry, that’s not the way this job works. We’ve called out players who were shirking media duties this year. Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Miguel Batista to name a few. Most of you shrugged and said you didn’t care, that it didn’t matter. Some of you whined that your favorite player was being singled out. Or you complained about the paragraph space being longer for some players than for others. Whatever.
So be it. Now that the M’s themselves have made this media accountability thing an issue, you’re going to start dictating how the coverage should go? Sorry. It isn’t happening.
Richie Sexson was actually one of the more accountable players when it came to the media. At least, until his season really went south. I’ve already said the team should have released him. Doesn’t get much worse than that in terms of criticism. So now, you want me to write that he should lose his job and — oh, yeah, by the way — not duck the media as well?
Got it. Great. You know what? I wasn’t there the other night, so I don’t know whether he ducked or didn’t duck. There are a million other things going on right now. I’ve written all week that Sexson should lose his job. And I show up, face-to-face, everyday, in front of the players I rip on this site and in the paper. If they want to go toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose, I’m standing there with an open invitation to them. Not hiding behind a keyboard and a pseudonym acting brave. I’ve already written, on this blog and in the newspaper, before it became fashionable, that Sexson has let the team down. That Adrian Beltre has let the team down. That Ichiro — yes, everyone’s favorite Mariner — has let the team down. That Bedard has let the team down.
If that’s not enough for you, then sorry. I guess you’ll have to stay unfulfilled. Or, the next time there’s a player function at a bookstore or something, stand up and go nose-to-nose with that player, and ask him the question you think should be asked in the tough tone of voice you feel the occasion calls for. Be my guest.
Or, better yet. Start reading what’s actually written in this space and take your blood pressure down a few notches. I’m not your enemy. It’s a long way until Baghead Day. You’ll have to pace yourselves or one of you is going to suffer a heart attack first.
For those of you who are going to write in, saying I’m sensitive, you’re right, I am sensitive on this issue. If you don’t like my tone of voice towards some readers, then have those readers take their tones down a bit, as well. I can keep this forum as cordial, or as in-your-face as you want it to be. Your call.
51 Ichiro CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
3 Jose Vidro DH
44 Richie Sexson 1B
50 Wladimir Balentien RF
2 Kenji Johjima C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
43 Miguel Batista RHP
RED SOX (38-26)
10 Coco Crisp CF
23 Julio Lugo SS
7 J.D. Drew RF
24 Manny Ramirez DH
22 Sean Casey 1B
20 Kevin Youkillis 3B
44 Brandon Moss LF
36 Kevin Cash C
13 Alex Cora 2B
49 Tim Wakefield RHP