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May 25, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Mariners at Oakland Athletics: 05/25 game thread

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Brandon Morrow just enabled another run to score on a wild-pitch in the sixth on a strikeout by Kurt Suzuki. Morrow had issued a walk and seen the inning’s first runner reach on a throwing error by Mike Sweeney. An ensuing single loaded the bases and the wild-pitch brought the unearned run home.
So, looking like a wasted holiday afternoon. Wasted by me being here, that is. The Mariners haven’t been in a position to waste anything today, since they haven’t had much in the way of good performances other than Ichiro chopping three balls into the grass for infield hits. Tagging up on that earlier play would have been more impressive.
2:52 p.m.: This game is starting to put even the A’s to sleep. They lead 5-1 after five innings, but looked on their way to more in the fifth as Denny Stark appeared to have issued back-to-back walks with one out. But Jason Giambi, thinking he’d just taken Ball Four, flung his bat and started jogging to first base not realizing it was only a 3-1 count and not a walk. The guy on first base, Matt Holliday, assumed Giambi knew what he was doing and jogged towards second — only to get thrown out in a caught-stealing situation. An embarrassed Giambi headed back to the plate, now with two out, and drew a walk on the ensuing pitch. But Stark got a lineout to end it.
The M’s need to wake up and fast. For the sake of the game’s integrity, if nothing else LOL! Can’t have two teams napping through nine innings. This rope-a-dope strategy hasn’t worked so far, other than in that one plate appearance.
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2:31 p.m.: A lousy job by Chris Jakubauskas today, giving up five runs — four earned — over just 3 1/3 innings and never showing much composure out there. You can’t turn in efforts like this at the major league level. Especially against an opponent scuffling like the A’s have been. He gave up a home run to Travis Buck to lead off the fourth, making it 5-1, then yielded a pair of two-out singles before being pulled after his 79th pitch. Denny Stark came on and notched a 4-4-3, inning-ending double-play (4-3 for you pursists) on Kurt Suzukito escape further trouble.
2:20 p.m.: The Mariners are doing their offensive hibernation thing again, down 4-1 as we head to the bottom of the fourth. Kenji Johjima came out of the game in the bottom of the third with a bruised left big toe, suffered on that slide into home by Adam Kennedy in the first inning. By the way, just a thought about how this team is still not playing heads-up ball. With two on, one out in the top of the third, Ken Griffey Jr. hit a ball to the warning track in dead center that was caught. I thought, at the very least, that lead runner Ichiro has to tag up and take third on that play. If he does, then maybe the guy at first, Adrian Beltre, can take second. Maybe it matters, maybe not. It didn’t in this particular inning, but that’s an automatic play. If that ball drops in, Ichiro scores easily from second, whether he’s got a huge lead or not. He has to position himself to tag up.
2:00 p.m.: Oakland scored three runs in the bottom of the second to go up 4-1, aided largely by third baseman Adrian Beltre being unable to hold on to the ball after a close play at third. With one on and one out, Bobby Crosby singled to left. Travis Buck attempted to go from first to third on the play, but the throw by Endy Chavez appeared to get there in time on a bang-bang play. But Beltre, who juggled the ball after Buck’s foot came sliding in, could not hold on. Buck was ruled safe once the ball popped out of Beltre’s glove — it looked like Buck was going to be called out by third base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt if Beltre had held on.
Anyhow, he was called safe and back-to-back doubles by Jack Hannahan and Adam Kenndey brought three runs home. Chris Jakubauskas needs to tighten up again. He’s giving up walks and runs far too easily today.
1:40 p.m.: We’re tied 1-1 in the second inning as Kenji Johjima hit a one-out solo homer to left field — well beyond the fence. The Mariners seem to be going deep a little more often the last two days, which is a good sign.
Some sloppy defense costs the Mariners a first inning run without actually giving up a hit. Adam Kennedy took a leadoff walk, then stole second base when Kurt Suzuki was ruled to have gone around on an inside pitch he was trying to avoid. Looked like interference to me as Suzuki crossed right in front of Johjima’s path as he was throwing to second. Suzuki argued the strikeout call and then, in the ensuing arguing and confussion. plate umpire Brian Knight threw A’s hitting coach Jim Skaalen out of the game for chirping from the dugout. Given how the A’s hit, that’s no big loss.
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Surprised Don Wakamatsu didn’t come out to argue interference, but Kennedy was safe at second, then stole third when Johjima bobbled, then dropped the ball as he was transferring it to his throwing hand. Jose Lopez then snared a hard shot towards second base, playing in, and threw home. But the ball bounced in the dirt and Kennedy scored on the error.
1:04 p.m.: The Mariners and Athletics are both looking to get their respective offenses going. The A’s feel some of their power bats, like Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi and Jack Cust, can get balls in the air against right hander Chris Jakubauskas.
As for the M’s, they’d settle for getting balls into the outfield, if not over the fence. They need to start hitting and soon. The Texas Rangers are getting flattened by the Yankees today, so the M’s still have a pulse in the AL West. But they can’t wait all season to make a move in the standings. A half-dozen games is still formidable. And the division’s best team, the Angels, is only starting to get it going.



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