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May 21, 2009 at 10:22 PM

Offense nowhere in sight as Mariners lose game and series to the Angels

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UPDATE 10:19 p.m.: Let me clarify a few things here, since I just got up from the clubhouse. Don Wakamatsu took full responsibility for sending Ichiro in that fifth inning. So, it was not Ichiro’s fault. I came down hard on Ichiro for it, frankly, because I’m surprised Wakamatsu would call a play like that on his own. Wakamatsu said he normally wouldn;t, but with the offense as bad as it’s been, you have to take gambles. So, my mistake. And I apologize for blaming Ichiro earlier on because it simply was not his fault. He was following orders. The offense is still terrible, regardless of who ordered the steal.
Kenji Johjima helped snuff a few rallies tonight and is about to pop out here in the ninth against Brian Fuentes in the photo above.
This was another of those “winnable” games the Mariners let get away from them. Any time your pitching staff allows three runs or fewer, the offense should take care of things more often than not. But not this offense. The Mariners scored just one run over the final 18 innings of this series and lose this finale, 3-0, on three solo homers.
Not much to say.
The Mariners seemed to have plenty of things working in their favor. Even though Erik Bedard bowed out after just five innings, he still allowed only two runs. Brandon Morrow then gave them the equivalent of a seven-inning quality start by tossing two perfect frames after that — the best he’s looked in a while.
But against a lefty pitcher in Joe Saunders, the offense was again not up to the kind of caliber that’s going to win at the major league level. Now, when we say the Mariners do better against lefties, we have to take it with a grain of salt as well. I mean, their OPS versus southpaws was .708 coming in, compared to just .680 against righthanders. Nothing to write home about.
They had just four hits off Saunders in seven innings. Russell Branyan did his part by drawing two walks, but baserunners were far too infrequent. And that’s why Ichiro can’t take his team out of an inning by trying to steal second off a lefthander with two out and a runner already at third. Adrian Beltre, who had two hits tonight, was at the plate and has to be given a chance to swing away, I know Ichiro was trying to get into scoring position, but the odds were stacked against him in that case. He beat a Saunders pickoff move two innings earlier, buit not this time. A lefty’s move to first can be tough to pick up and Ichiro wasn;t fast enough to beat him this time. There were still four innings to go. In that case, you take a shot at scoring one run and look for more later.
With so few baserunners, the team’s goose was prettty much cooked from there.



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