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July 31, 2009 at 10:25 PM

Mariners need starters to go deeper now that Jarrod Washburn is gone

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Seattle scored a run after that 2-hour, 18-minute rain delay. But the Mariners went 1-2-3 in the ninth and went down to a 5-4 defeat to the Texas Rangers
While the rain was falling, the Angels came back and won their game and the Red Sox rallied to win theirs. So, that’s nine back in the division and 7 1/2 out in the wild-card. This is about the point you stop counting.
Jose Lopez had a big night offensively, with a home run, three hits and three RBI. Ken Griffey Jr. also drove in a run and the Mariners certainly did not quit after falling behind 5-2 in the fourth inning.
But they could not come all the way back from that four-spot yielded by Jason Vargas in the fifth. Seattle needs to get better starting pitching than it has the first two games here.
“It comes down to starting pitching,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said afterwards. “With Vargas, really, he made some good pitches, but then the critical ones, he couldn’t seem to finish them off and left them up and it cost him.”


I asked Wakamatsu about the critical issue of starters delivering innings now that Jarrod Washburn is gone. Washburn could be counted on to go seven innings more often than not and at least six frames on nights he was off.
“I think it’s very critical,” Wakamatsu said. I think we’re looking for some of the younger pitchers to step up. At this point, I think a lot of them have had ample opportunity to get their feet wet. The rest is going to be mental adjustments and understanding that it is pitch to pitch and executing pitches and not so much velocity or trying to be too fine.”
Vargas said his night came undone because of a 2-2 pitch to Omar Vizquel that he left up in that fifth inning. Vizquel notched a single, Michael Young did as well and then Marlon Byrd hit a three-tun homer.
“I just threw a change-up that cut a little bit to Byrd and it found the center of the plate,” Vargas said.
With Chris Jakubauskas forced to go 4 1/3 innings on Thursday and now four more innings by the pen tonight, things are going to start to get thin unless Felix Hernandez tossed his usual gem tomorrow. After all, Erik Bedard is more than a week away from returning and Hernandez no longer has Washburn backing him up as the No. 2 guy.
Lots of question marks moving forward.

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