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September 5, 2009 at 10:07 PM

Athletics 9, Mariners 5: Seattle fails to build on, or hold, early three-run lead

This game sure didn’t finish the way it began for the Mariners. But that’s what lousy pitching and an anemic offense will do to you and the M’s had both tonight after the second inning.
Luke French now has a 6.38 ERA since joining the Mariners from Detroit at the July 31 trade deadline.
He’s now walked 17 batters against only 22 strikeouts. Not a good sign. Control problems plagued him tonight. He either missed the zone or grooved balls down the middle. Either way, it’s a recipe for the disaster that followed.
Also, his speeds weren’t differing enough and the A’s seemed to get a feel for what was coming.
“I think I just need to mix it up, maybe a little more,” French said afterwards. “I think I only threw three changeups tonight. Maybe try that route.”
Manager Don Wakamatsu agrees.

“It always goes down to location and command and changing speeds,” Mariners manager Wakamatsu said. “But I think, if you go back and replay this, most of those at-bats, if you start throwing way too many pitches to a hitter, or to an offense..they start to get a feel for what you’re doing.
“But most lefties have the luxury to go softer. I think it can buy some velocity. You look at his changeup, I thought he left his changeup up tonight and a lot of them were right around 81 mph. If he can subtract a little off of that and keep it down in the zone, then his fastball will look a little better.”
The Mariners scored three in the second off Brett Anderson, then failed to do any more damage until a two-run homer by Jose Lopez in the ninth. Could have used that blast a bit earlier, I’m afraid.
Wakamatsu felt the Mariners could have done more in the second inning, when the bases were loaded with one out. But Franklin Gutierrez grounded into a double-play.
“If we could tack on one more run there, different ballgame,” Wakamatsu said.
We saw plenty of bizarre plays tonight.
How often do you get a 4-6-3 with an RBI credited to the hitter? (Hint: it was not a double-play ball, only one groundout).
And how about that 3-5 fielder’s choice groundout turned by “first baseman” Lopez? Not sure what he was thinking, but it helped to have the baserunner overslide at third.
Then, we had the back-to-back doubles by Mark Ellis and Ryan Sweeney in which the second two-bagger failed to score a run. Don’t see that everyday. But the double was a blooper down the line that left fielder Bill Hall nearly caught, so the runner had to hold up between bases and then stop at third.
Three more hits for Ichiro, now one away from 2,000. That and the continued last hurrah for Mike Sweeney these past five weeks was about all the good that came out of this for Seattle. Sweeney had four hits, matching his season high.
Bill Hall, on the other end of the scale, had five strikeouts.
Llike I said, a night to forget.



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