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April 28, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu admits hitters pressing too much

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Just got back upstairs between games, with the second matchup of today’s doubleheader now going at 7:11 p.m. They were initially going to do it 30 minutes after the first game, but today’s afternoon attendance was so bad that White Sox officials — never known to pass up a nickel lying on the street — undoubtedly want to pack as many folks as possible into this stadium tonight.
The first game took only one hour. 52 minutes. We could be in the fifth inning of Game 2 if they’d started it as planned as both sides kept swinging the way they did. This becomes a key game for the Mariners. That’s the problem with these doubleheaders followed by a day game. If you slip into a 24-hour down period, a one-game losing streak can become a four-game streak before you even know what hit you.
I asked Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu whether the cold weather impacted his hitters today.
“I don’t know if it’s that as much as not swinging the bats well,” he said. “I think when you start to press a bit, obviously it can have a negative impact.”
There are some guys pressing. We saw Adrian Beltre fail to get the job done when he grounded out to the left side with one out and Ken Griffey Jr. on second base in the third inning. Beltre has to get it going.
Yuniesky Betancourt saw only six pitches in three at-bats and was hitting himself on the helmet in frustration after popping out foul to the catcher to end the seventh with runners on second and third. That final at-bat by Wladimir Balentien, flying out nearly to the track in center, was what the M’s needed in the seventh out of Franklin Gutierrez.
Gutierrez worked the count to 3-1, then whiffed at a pitch that looked a bit high. If the pitch wasn’t high, then Gutierrez has to crush it with a count in his favor like that. Give it a ride and at least get the tying run in with fewer than two out. But he missed the ball, then popped out without getting the run home. Bad fundamental baseball right there. The M’s were doing a better job of this a couple of weeks ago. And let me tell you, if the entire planet doesn’t know Endy Chavez is thinking “bunt” every time up there, then they’ll never know. I doubt he keeps pulling them off this successfully much longer.

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