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September 18, 2009 at 8:44 PM

New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners: 09/18 game thread

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Geoff Baker

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One thing the Mariners plan to make a huge off-season commitment to is getting their catchers to stop dropping so many balls. It’s become a serious area of concern for the team, with the Mariners sitting fourth worst in the league in wild pitches and also now leading the league in the number of passed balls they’ve allowed.
Rob Johnson allowed another passed ball — the league leading 15th by Seattle — in the top of the sixth and it came back to cost his club in a 2-1 game, the Yankees now leading. Johnny Damon had opened the inning with a double, then took third on a passed ball that was high and a little outside. But nothing Johnson can’t handle. As a result, Damon took third with none out and it was a relatively easy sacrifice fly to get for a contact hitter like Mark Teixeira. Felix Hernandez notched two quick groundouts after that, meaning the run was unearned because there is no guarantee Damon would have scored without the passed ball.
But while this doesn’t impact Hernandez’s ERA, it could cost him a win. Oh yeah, the team could lose as well.
One of the things Don Wakamatsu might do this winter is have new catcher Adam Moore work with him on certain catching drills prior to spring training. Wakamatsu and Moore both live in the same part of Texas. When Moore caught 14 innings on Thursday, the most by a catcher making his MLB debut since 1954, the thing that Wakamatsu said impressed him most was Moore’s ability to hold on to the ball. That tells you something about where things are at with this club’s receivers.

8:20 p.m.: Still a 1-1 game as we head to the fifth inning, due largely to a racing catch in center by Franklin Gutierrez in the top of the fourth. The Yanks had one on with one out when Nick Swisher skied one to deep right center. Gutierrez sprinted over, as he so often does, left his feet to snare the ball, then gently hit the wall. Naturally, the crowd went nuts.
8:00 p.m.: We’re all tied up at 1-1 after Jose Lopez delivered a single in the third inning to bring home Franklin Gutierrez from second base after a double. Lopez attains his career high 90th RBI on that hit. The inning could have been bigger for Seattle, but Ichiro, after leading off with a single, got picked off first base by A.J. Burnett. Score it as a “caught stealing” because Ichiro tried to head to second after getting caught off the bag, but stumbled and was tagged out.
7:15 p.m.: Felix Hernandez takes his 15-5 record and 1.52 ERA to the mound tonight against a New York Yankees squad that has won seven of 10.
New York opens the scoring in the first inning as Derek Jeter singles to center, Johnny Damon hits a ground ruled double to right and Alex Rodriguez lines a sacrifice fly to center. All told, considering Damon was at second with none out, Hernandez did a good job in not allowing him to get any further than that base even though a run did score.
The lineups:
Yankees (94-53)
Jeter, ss
Damon, lf
Teixeira, 1b
Rodriguez, 3b
Matsui, dh
Swisher, rf
Cano, 2b
Cabrera, cf
Molina, c
Burnett, rhp
Mariners (76-71)
Ichiro, rf
Gutierrez, cf
Lopez, 2b
Griffey, dh
Beltre, 3b
Hall, lf
Hannahan, 1b
Johnson, c
Josh Wilson, ss
Hernandez, rhp
HP – ERic Cooper
1B – Mike Reilly*
2B – Chuck Meriwether
3B – Laz Diaz



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