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April 28, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox: 04/28 game thread

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That wet outfield grass may have cost the Mariners the game. Rob Johnson got Seattle on the board with a double to right center in the seventh inning to make it 2-1. But Jose Lopez likely would have scored from first base had center fielder Brian Anderson not cut the ball off. The only reason he did is because the ball was slowed up considerably on the wet grass. In Minneapolis, that thing’s bouncing off the wall.
Franklin Gutierrez then did a terrible job at the plate. He got ahead 3-1 in the count, with only one out and runners at second and third. But then he took a home run swing at a pitch that looked a bit high. Then, he popped out on the full-count offering.
Yuniesky Betancourt then took a home run swing and missed hitting one by about three feet to the left of the foul pole in left. But then he hacked at the next pitch and popped out foul to the catcher. Same old song. The run was unearned after second baseman Brent Lillibridge dropped a double-play relay at second, so the M’s at least caught one serious break that inning. They’ll need some more because the situational hitting — Johnson aside — has been awful today.
3:23 p.m.: We’re already in the seventh inning, Mariners still trailing 2-0. A great game pitched by Chris Jakubauskas so far. He’s allowed only two hits, but the M’s have only three all day — one of them a bunt single last inning by Endy Chavez. The offense has to do a better job than this. That’s 17 scoreless innings in a row.
3:02 p.m.: The Mariners now trail 2-0 after Chris Jakubauskas made two mistakes in that fourth inning. The first was walking Josh Fields on four pitches, pretty much ensuring the best White Sox hitters would come up with at least one guy on base. But when Carlos Quentin singled, that put two on. Jakubauskas rebounded well with a popout on Jermaine Dye, but then made his second mistake of the inning: he left a pitch up in the zone for Paul Konerko. You can’t do that. Konerko ripped one down the left field line for a two-run double.
Seattle’s offense is AWOL again. Ken Griffey Jr. had a nice double off the wall in center in the fourth inning, but Adrian Beltre did not get the job done and grounded out to third. Russell Branyan then popped out to right.
2:46 p.m.: That’s only 31 pitches thrown through three perfect innings by Chris Jakubauskas as we’re still scoreless in the fourth. He’s thrown 23 of those pitches for strikes. I talked to a Mariners official anout him today, just an informal chat, and he told me the reason Jakubauskas is successful is that he throws “quality strikes”. Not just pitches down the middle of the plate. But right on the corners. It’s why so many Chicago hitters have “mis-hit” the ball today. We’ve seen a popout, some weak grounders.
2:28 p.m.: Well, somebody’s going to have to get a hit today or this will be one long night at the old ballyard. The M’s have gone six up, six down with three whiffs against Bartolo Colon and that’s hardly encouraging. Chris Jakubauskas has two strikeouts and has yielded two pretty deep flies, including one to Jermaine Dye in the second, but otherwise has not yielded a hit as well. I suspect the cold weather is making its presence felt more than the hitters so far.
2:19 p.m.: That’s what Chris Jakubauskas has to to today. A perfect first inning, well-paced by him. Jakubauskas can locate to both sides of the plate and when he keeps the ball down, he’s effective. Gave up a medium-depth flyball to Josh Fields, but otherwise was fine. The Mariners offense did…well, what it’s done the last 2 1/2 weeks. Nothing. We’re still scoreless after one.
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2:05 p.m.: There is almost nobody here as we get set to start this doubleheader. The lower stands are sprinkled with fans and the upper ones are virtually empty. Guess the Ken Griffey Jr. return here doesn’t have quite the significance it did in Seattle, huh? Then again, it is only 39 degrees and windy out. So, the Mariners aren’t facing much of a road disadvantage here.
But they do need Chris Jakubauskas to deliver innings. All bullpen members are available, but Sean White threw close to 40 pitches the other day and really won’t be able to handle three or four innings of long relief if needed. Don’t forget, you have to save some arms for the second game.

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