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August 8, 2009 at 6:34 PM

Mariners vs. Rays game thread, 8/8


The Mariners take batting practice Saturday evening before an important game against wild-card contender Tampa Bay..

10:03 p.m.: Doug Fister is on to make his major-league debut. Not sure how this affects him for Tuesday.
9:22 : A botched opportunity there, with runners on second and third and just one out. But otherwise an impressive day for the red-hot rookie Michael Saunders. (Forgive me, I’ll be mostly MIA for the next hour as I hack away at the game story due right after the final out).
8:46 p.m. The Rays retake control with a pair of long home runs, and they lead 6-3. It doesn’t look like Jakubauskas, who is still under 50 pitches, is coming out any time soon.
8:22 p.m. What has gotten into Chris Jakubauskas? In 23 pitches, he has gotten eight outs and looked unhittable.
8:11 p.m. Just what the Mariners needed: Chris Jakubauskas has used only 11 pitches to get five outs since replacing Snell.
8:09 p.m. To respond to one commenter about Branyan, consider this: the Mariners are 30-19 when he bats second, and 19-26 when he bats third through sixth.
8:06 p.m. Hope everyone brought their tent to the ballpark. Because we could be here overnight. A promising three-run inning for the M’s — highlighted by Franklin Gutierrez’s 13th home run — not only tied the score; it also tacked on 33 pitches to James Shields’ night. But there are still seven innings ahead for a Mariner bullpen that went five last night.
7:45: Sixty pitches, six walks, four outs, three runs and two hits later, Ian Snell is out of the game, leaving the long night to the Mariners bullpen. Chris Jakubauskas takes over with the bases loaded and one out in the second, and the Mariners are already down 3-0.
7:29 p.m. All things considered, that could have been much worse. Only being down 2-0 after four first-inning walks and 41 pitches could be considered a blessing, but it means the bullpen will be stretched out today because this is not likely going to be a long outing for Ian Snell.
Snell began the night with just awful command. Of his first 25 pitches, 16 were balls. He walked home a run. He recovered just in time to escape with the bases loaded before a bad situation turned catastrophic.
Many of you have already noticed that the Boston Red Sox lost today to New York, giving the Mariners an opportunity to strengthen their tenuous grasp on pennant-race relevance tonight and move within 4 1/2 (forgive me, I just realized I had yesterday’s stat pack in front of me) games of the wild-card lead.
But it could be just as important to gain a game on Tampa Bay, one of two other teams standing between the M’s and the wild card. The other? Texas, which lost 3-2 to the Angels — who seemingly become more uncatchable with each passing day.
The Mariners get their second look at Ian Snell tonight, in his first start at Safeco Field. Snell allowed two runs on three hits in six innings in his debut against Texas.
Tampa Bay starter James Shields has not gotten a win in his last eight starts, but his AL-worst run support (3.46 runs per nine innings) has something to do with that.



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