Yeah, the Mariners set off some fireworks in the late-going to make the final score look a little better. And that sure was an interesting ninth inning, where one more big hit might have changed things.
But really, the score in a 9-7 loss to the San Diego Padres truly flattered them. For seven innings, the Mariners let another journeyman right hander walk all over them as Chad Gaudin tied a career high with 11 strikeouts.
Bottom line is, when you’re down 9-1 in the sixth, you’ve usually lost no matter what happens next. And that’s what happened tonight.
Gaudin has always had a little something hidden from view. I covered him back in Toronto for a cup of coffee but he is now with his fifth team already at age 26. Still, guys like him, who once in a while can do something special, tend to hurt this Mariners team. Seattle had only four hits off Gaudin and really didn’t do enough with that bases-loaded, none out situation in the second inning.
So, we saw Ken Griffey Jr. go deep when his team was trailing 9-1. Then, we saw Russell Branyan connect for a two-run shot in the eighth when it was 9-2, after striking out his first three times up.
Honestly, I was most impressed by the aggressive baserunning in that eighth inning by Franklin Gutierrez and Wladimir Balentien. Gutierrez went from first to third on a Balentien single to center, drawing the throw and allowing Balentien to move up into scoring position. Mike Carp then launched a sacrifice fly to deep center — just missing a home run with his swing. Balentien alertly moved up to third but then Yuniesky Betancourt (sigh) fouled out to the first baseman on a ball he barely got wood on. Too many of the same problems tonight for the M’s to fluke off another win. They got away with a lot in the Arizona series, but not tonight. This team has got to change its offensive approach, or it won’t go anywhere. I liked what I saw late in the game, but they were already down eight runs by that point.
Too many black holes in this lineup at the moment.
As far as tonight goes…too little, far too late.
June 23, 2009 at 10:04 PM