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April 12, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Mariners at Oakland Athletics: 04/12 game thread

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A reminder to all of you that we’ll be doing Geoff Baker Live! tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. I had initially planned to do it at 7 p.m., but 6 p.m. is when I envision doing it ahead of home games. Sort of like a pre-game show. No games tomorrow, but might as well get in the habit. Also, don’t forget our live event, coming up at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday at The Showbox SoDo just up the street from Safeco Field.
Erik Bedard will take the mound in the ninth inning, his pitch count at 98. The bullpen is starting to loosen up, but this one is his to finish, leading 1-0.
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2:48 p.m.: Erik Bedard was on his game in Minneapolis last week and he’s got it all going this afternoon, having allowed two singles and a walk through six scoreless innings. Now, he’s got a 1-0 lead as well as we enter the seventh-inning stretch.
The Mariners finally got a hit off Trevor Cahill when Adrian Beltre singled with one out in the seventh inning. With two outs, Mike Sweeney lined a ball to center. A’s center fielder Rajai Davis stumbled as he went after it and the ball got by him all the way to the wall. Beltre never stopped running and made it home, while Sweeney halted at second with a double.
David would not have caught the ball, but this should have been a single and nothing more. Instead, well, sometimes when a team generally plays good baseball for a spurt it gets a little lucky, too.
Bedard was at 63 pitches through four innings, then breezed through an eight-pitch fifth inning and a seven-pitch seventh. That’s how you do it. Quick resolutions. You don’t need strikeouts there, you need to economize. Smart pitching. Now, he’s positioned to go seven with a pitch count at 78. Bullpen isn’t even warming up.
2:11 p.m.: We’re still scoreless heading to the fifth inning of what’s turned into a fine pitching duel between Erik Bedard and Trevor Cahill, who has yet to allow a hit despite three walks and a hit batsman to his ledger. He’s at only 52 pitches, so the M’s had better get something going off him or else he’ll be in there a while.
Bedard has been the more consistent of the two — at 63 pitches through four — and should have been out of the fourth inning sooner than he was. But shortstop Ronny Cedeno seemed to lose his balance and roll a little harder than he thought when he went low for a grounder by Matt Holliday with two out in the fourth. The play was ruled an infield single after Cedeno was unable to get up and attempt a throw. Bedard then walked lefty hitter Jack Cust, but rallied to strike out Eric Chavez — his fourth punchout of the day.
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1:39 p.m.: In another in a string of continuing firsts for this club, Russell Branyan stole second base in the second inning. Nothing funny about it, a straightforward steal on a fastball. A’s pitcher Trevor Cahill made a rookie mistake in not paying enough attention to him, took a long time delivering the ball to the catcher and was stolen off of rather easily. We saw it in spring training — Branyan had two swipes in one game. He will get the green light from time to time. The M’s failed to capitalize though and have now wasted two walks and a hit batsman the first two innings.
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Erik Bedard has his “A” game stuff today. Two popouts and a strikeout in a 14-pitch first inning, with two strikeouts to begin the second followed by another popout on a fine catch by Adrian Beltre, racing back and making an over-the-shoulder basket catch.
Still scoreless after two.
1:07 p.m.: Erik Bedard on the mound going for the series sweep this afternoon.
By the way, just to clear up any debates, as I know some of you have been having on this blog, Ichiro will be the leadoff hitter when he rejoins the team. Not Endy Chavez. Ichiro will also be starting in right field, not breaking himself back in as a DH. Hope that spells it all out. I asked Don Wakamatsu about it this morning and he confirmed it all.
Also, to clear up any misconceptions about injured infield prospect Carlos Triunfel, he’ll be examined in Seattle tomorrow to see the extent of the damage done to his fractured fibula. If the injury is less severe and does not require surgery, then Triunfel could play again in a couple of months. If there was more serious damage done that requires surgery, you have to add a lot more time to that and he could be out for most, if not all, of the season.
So, I hope that answers your questions. Can’t get any more specific than that until he sees the team’s medical director tomorrow.
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By the way, Wakamatsu’s parents drove up here from Bend, Ore. to see him and arrived last night.
Some of you will note that Ronny Cedeno is starting at shortstop ahead of Yuniesky Betancourt today. This isn’t a punishment of any sort, merely Wakamatsu giving Cedeno a crack at the position and Betancourt a well-deserved two-day rest.
“I think the big thing today is that Ronny has not played shortstop,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s a guy we’re going to expect, as we go forward, to play all positions. It gives us an opportunity early to give Yuni two days off and get Ronny a chance to go in there and play shortstop. So, I’m not penalizing anybody. It is a fact that I like to play everybody and I think early you try to establish that.”
Wakamatsu said a week ago that he envisions 120 or 130 different lineups at any given time. He’s on-pace for more than that right now — having rolled seven different ones out for all seven games.
“When Ichiro comes back it limits some manoeverability in a good way,” he said. “So, it will be a little bit more challenging. That’s why we’ve looked at this, from Day 1, that now’s the chance to be doing what we’re doing.”
Of course, the past few years, you could have cut and pasted the lineups every day on your computer without any changes. Not so any more.
“I think that goes along with what we’ve tried to create here as a team,” he said. “It’s real difficult if you have guys sitting over there for five or six days that don’t feel a part of it. And I just said before that, if you’re in the big leagues, you should be able to play at some point. So, that’s what we’ve tried to establish.”

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