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September 26, 2008 at 9:07 PM

Oakland Athletics at Mariners: 09/26 game thread

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Times baseball writer Larry Stone, president of the local BBWAA chapter, presents Raul Ibanez with his team MVP award, as voted on by local writers, prior to tonight’s game. Felix Hernandez was chosen as Pitcher of the Year. Roy Corcoran was voted the team’s Unsung Hero by the coaching staff.
Rob Johnson just tagged reliever Jerry Blevins for a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, making it 10-6 for Seattle in a game that’s been terribly pitched but has to be a treat for fans fond of offense. Miguel Cairo doubled in the go-ahead run that inning. The A’s are tripping all over themselves in the field tonight. Brandon Morrow, believe it or not, now stands to win this game.
He trailed 6-5 upon leaving the game a half-inning ago. You know what he learned tonight? The valie of making every pitch count. Morrow could have bowed out after 4 2/3 innings, but he got that last out on his 114th pitch to get through the regulation five. Now, instead of a reliever vulturing a win, he stands to be the winner. Out of all the bad stuff for him tonight, that’s a positive and an important lesson to carry forward.
Chatted with team president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln prior to the game. Don’t miss Part IV of our Rebuilding the Mariners series tomorrow, in which I’ll take a closer look at the ownership situation many of you have asked me about. I’ll give you a hint: those Chris Larson rumors you’ve been reading all summer? Don’t go betting the farm on them.
Anyhow, tonight, the topic turned to Erik Bedard, and his successful and less serious than expected surgery. I’d assumed this automatically meant the Mariners would be tendering Bedard a contract. Maybe, maybe not.
Lincoln greeted the surgery’s results as good news, and said Bedard could be a crucial pitching component for the club next year. But when asked about any decision to hang on to Bedard, Armstrong said he’d leave that up to the incoming GM. He then gave a very cryptic-sounding analogy.
“It’s like trying to invest in the stock market,” he said. “If you make a bad stock pick, you don’t go back and…well, some people do, but you have to teach yourself. You don’t hold on to it hoping it’s going to come back. If it’s a bad one, you move on.”
It was suggested that Armstrong had exactly that choice — to dump Bedard instead of spending more money to bring him back and try to recoup some prospects in a trade.
“You’re right, we have that option,” Armstrong said. “And again, these types of player questions, for the most part, are premature.”
Actually, for Dr. Naka in the comments thread, we tried to interview team owner Hiroshi Yamauchi and offered to fly to Japan to do so. The Mariners turned us down. He’s a billionaire, so you can’t just show up and knock on his door. He would have had to agree to it in advance. The team nixed the request.

8:50 p.m.: Jose Lopez just tied the game 6-6 in the bottom of the fifth, his second homer of the night.
Brandon Morrow had every chance to finish the regulation five innings and qualify for a decision. But he trails 6-5 after yielding a run in that fifth inning. He’d given up a three-run homer to Travis Buck in the fourth inning. On the night, Morrow threw 113 pitches, yielding six hits and five walks while striking out eight batters. He needed 114 pitches to get through five innings. This is more of what we thought we’d see from him in making this transformation.
On the positive side, those eight K’s are the reason he isn’t down by five runs. But the A’s enjoyed much more success waiting him out the second time seeing him in less than a week.
8:16 p.m.: Ibanez just singled home Ichiro in the bottom of the third inning, enabling Ichiro to score his 100th run of the season. That’s eight straight campaigns of 200 hits and 100 runs for Ichiro, tying him with Lou Gehrig. Too bad Ichiro’s team doesn’t resemble those Yankee squads, huh?
Anyhow, the M’s sent 10 men to the plate and scored five off Sean Gallagher, the big hit being a three-run homer by Jose Lopez. Make it 5-2 M’s after three. Brandon Morrow starts the fourth inning at 65 pitches.
8:01 p.m.: Brandon Morrow trails 2-0 as we head to the bottom of the third inning. He gave up a rocket home run to Jack Cust in the second inning and has had all kinds of control issues tonight. A lot more than we saw to start the last contest in Oakland back on Sunday.



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