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May 12, 2009 at 10:00 PM

Wakamatsu flashes some frustration

I’d say this is the most perturbed I’ve seen Don Wakamatsu after a game, and he was threatening some changes. There’s not many options, as he admitted, but I’d be surprised if Ronny Cedeno is not at shortstop tomorrow. That’s because the play Wakamatsu singled out was the one in the seventh when Yuniesky Betacourt made a bad throw on Andruw Jones’ grounder up the middle — questionably ruled a base hit.
Is it time to dip into the minor leagues for a Mike Carp or a Jeff Clement (who homered tonight for Tacoma) or a Bryan LaHair (who hit two homers tonight for Tacoma)? It might well be. As Wakamatsu pointed out, this is the 10th game this season in which the Mariners have scored 1 or 0 runs. He didn’t mention the four in which they’ve scored two runs. You’re not going to win many of those. There’s a clear need for some left-handed pop, and all three of those guys hit left-handed. Of course, there’s a need for some right-handed pop, too. It couldn’t hurt to shake things up a little bit, could it?
Wakamatsu was upset at the offense, and he was upset at the defense. He didn’t raise his voice, or throw things, or do anything demonstrative that, say, Lou Piniella would have done. But there was a kind of simmering anger, or at least irritation, that was palpable.
Here are some extensive quotes from the manager:
“I think with Vargas tonight, it’s exactly what we were looking for from him. He did an outstanding job. He located his fastball, mixed his pitches.
“This game for me was really about, again, the offense and the defense. Lowe ended up giving up the home run, but then it got out of the hand with people being out of position. It’s something we’re going to have to get a lot better at. It’s pretty disappointing to me. Other than the home-run pitch to make it 3-1, it just got out of hand.
“Offensively, we keep saying we’ve got to get better. That’s 10 games or so with 0 or 1 run. We’re going to have to make some adjustments, or maybe look to make some changes.
“I think it’s just putting ourselves in a position…starting out the game, we did a good job getting the pitch count up. Then we have some aggressive at-bats on pitches that really aren’t that good, and let the starting pitcher get right back in it.
On the changes he alluded to: “It’s at a point we’ve got to do something. We don’t have a lot of options. We’ve stressed all along to be able to manufacture runs. This was a ballgame we had a heck of a game for 6 1/2, but you play nine innings. The biggest thing for me was the defense in the seventh inning.
“I think sometimes it’s a lack of focus, and there’s no excuse for it.”
On Lowe: “Obviously, he ended up giving up some hits after the home run, but to me, the one he gave up, the hit up the middle, if we make that play, then he’s out of the inning. Then it’s a 3-1 ballgame. Whether they gave it a hit or not, that play needs to be made. There were a couple of plays we threw the ball around and didn’t contain it. That’s something we have to make some changes with.”
On what made him the angriest: “You play a good ballgame, and let it slip through your fingers. It was really that one whole inning that shouldn’t have been so lopsided, I guess. I’ve talked about staying in ballgames. If we play fundamental baseball and get beat, that’s one thing. But if we beat ourselves, that’s awfully irritating.”
Obviously, Wakamatsu’s wasn’t a happy man. It will be very interesting to see the lineup on Wednesday, and the roster moving forward.



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