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June 19, 2009 at 9:43 PM

Arizona Diamondbacks at Seattle Mariners: 06/19 game thread

We just had another magical Ken Griffey Jr. moment, probably the best since the home opener when he was introduced pre-game. Griffey stepped up as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, with two out and a runner on third, and put the first pitch from reliever Ramon Pena over the wall in right center.
That tied the game 3-3. The crowd, obviously, went nuts. Chris Woodward then singled and Rob Johnson tripled into the left field corner to put Seattle ahead 4-3.
9:14 p.m.: A pretty good comeback by Jarrod Washburn after a shaky start. Washburn gets through seven innings on 105 pitches, but still trails 3-0 as we enter the seventh-inning stretch and “Take me out to the ballgame!” plays from the PA system. QA Chris Woodward double-play grounder ended the sixth for an M’s team that has stranded runners left and right.
8:43 p.m.: Things have gone from bad to worse for the Mariners in the fifth inning. Left fielder Endy Chavez and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt had a horrible-looking leg-on-knee collision, with Chavez’s knee taking the brunt of it as he flipped head-over-heels. Chavez lay on the ground writhing in pain for several minutes and had to be carted off the field. Wladimir Balentien is now playing left field. Maybe we’ll see Michael Saunders get called up from Class AAA, should Chavez be out any length of time? That’s too early to say for now. But it did look bad. Only thing I did see, though, as a victim of many knee injuries, is that there did not appear to be any violent twisting usually associated with ligament damage. It appeared more of a bone bruise type of collision. Then again, if his leg was planted and got hyperextended in any way by the collision — that’s trouble. But I guess what I should say is, I can’t tell for certain just by watching. They’ll have to have him looked at up-close, obviously.
Betancourt somehow held on to the ball. To be fair, Chavez did not appear to be calling him off all the vigorously. Anyhow, still a 3-0 game, Seattle trailing.
8:27 p.m.: It’s now a 3-0 game, Arizona in the lead, after Miguel Montero took Jarrod Washburn over the wall in right center with two out in the fourth. I thought my Brandon Morrow bobblehead might have a snaparound neck feature to watch home run balls, but no, he had to turn his entire body towards the field.
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8:07 p.m.: Arizona leads 2-0 as we head to the bottom of the third. Jarrod Washburn walked the leadoff batter in the third, yielded a bloop single, then threw away a Stephen Drew bunt at first base, allowing a run to score. Drew appeared to be running inside the baseline, but he was not called out. Justin Upton then grounded out, bringing home another run. Washburn had runners at the corners with one out and fell behind 3-0 in the count to Gerard Parra, but battled back with two strikes, then got a 4-6-3 inning-ending double-play grounder.
The Mariners have also stranded four runners in two innings. Chris Woodward notched a single in the second with one out, his first big league hit since 2007. I spoke to Woodward before the game and he was thrilled to be back up in the bigs for the first time since he played for the Mets. “I thought about it this morning,” he said. “It’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m really here again.” A walk to Rob Johnson, back off the bereavement list, put two on, but then Yunisesky Betancourt (haven’t mentioned him in, oh, five seconds) nearly grounded into a double play and Ichiro grounded out after that to end the threat.
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Brandon Morrow is still shaking his head. I’m a little confused, though, because I asked Morrow whether he wanted to be a starter or a reliever and he kept on nodding for both. So, I don’t know what to say anymore. But I asked him to go fetch me a hot dog and he nodded again, so at least that’s working out. By the way, the guy behind him is Morrow the reliever, in case you were wondering. Sort of like his evil twin.
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7:36 p.m.: Brandon Morrow is up here shaking his little bobbling head at what happened in that first inning. The Mariners had runners at second and third with one out after a double-steal pulled off by Ichiro and Adrian Beltre. But then Mike Sweeney lined out softly to second base and Franklin Gutierrez struck out. So, one inning in, two runners stranded already.
7:06 p.m.: They had the roof open here earlier, but closed it when some heavier rain drops started to fall. Jarrod Washburn takes the mound tonight for the first time since back spasms sidelined him on the previous road trip.
I talked to him briefly before the game. He told me he feels better than he has in some time and is ready to go. The Mariners will need Washburn at the top of his game tonight. Jose Lopez is on bereavement leave and Ken Griffey Jr. is also getting a night off after all that time playing the field in NL ballparks. So, the offense might be a little short tonight. What else is new?
We all know about the lack of run support Washburn has received. Let’s go over the numbers once again, because they’re truly shocking. No other AL starter has received worse support since the start of 2005. He has 128 starts since then, with his team scoring two runs or fewer on 63 occasions. They were blanked 16 times over that stretch.
By the way, Mariners third base coach Bruce Hines has been sidelined by flu-like symptoms, so we’ve got Lee Tinsley coaching third and bench coach Ty Van Burkleo at first.
I see that Felipe Lopez is leading off for Arizona. A quick story on him: my very first assignment as a baseball writer was to do a story on him. The date was June 3, 1998 and the Toronto Blue Jays had drafted Lopez with their first round pick. It was my first day at the Toronto Star and I wrote a story about how Lopez, as a high school player in Florida, had once had to take out a restraining order on his father, who used to beat him with a baseball bat when he didn’t play well. Talk about pressure and having to overcome a difficult situation to make it to where he is today.
Lopez never became the “next Alex Rodriguez that his agent touted him as in a conference call that day 11 years ago. But he’s been an all-star, on the NL team in Detroit in 2005, and had a lengthy major league career since breaking in during the 2001 season. I always get a good feeling when I see him playing.

Comments | Topics: Chris Woodward


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