This one’s getting real ugly, folks, with the Yankees going up 8-0 after five innings. Ryan Rowland-Smith was replaced after another sub-par outing — with little help in the field behind him — and Brian Sweeney gave up a double and a towering two-run homer to left by Marcus Thames.
Justin Smoak got his second AB in the bottom of the inning, but popped out to the catcher. He would have been called out for interference in any event for bumping into Jorge Posada en route to first base.
In case you missed this morning’s blog post, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln say they were unaware that Class AA picher Josh Lueke pleaded no contest to a charge of unlawful imprisonment and violence towards a woman. They are very concerned and the team flew Lueke in this morning for a meeting with GM Jack Zduriencik and minor league director Pedro Grifol.
This team has a “zero tolerance” policy on violence against women — remember how Julio Mateo was traded for next to nothing three years ago after being accused of beating his wife — and it’s clear that not enough research was done into Lueke’s case before the trade was made. Too late on that now. The deal is done.
2:15 p.m.: Seattle has looked brutal on defense today and it cost them once again in the fourth inning, with the Yankees scoring three times to take a 6-0 lead.
The inning opened with Marcus Thames ripping a single off the glove of Jose Lopez. Could have been an error, but the scoring has been generous today. An ensuing one out walk to Brett Gardner put two on and then a passed ball to Josh Bard moved the runners up. Derek Jeter then doubled to right center to score both guys and, two outs and a wild pitch later, a Mark Teixeira double brought the third run in.
It would be great if Justin Smoak really does turn out to be a Texiera clone, because Teixeira has two doubles and a single already. The M’s could use some of that from Smoak and company today. Unfortunately, this game appears just about over. Other than Jose Lopez’s late heroics last night, the M’s got thoroughly smacked around in this series. They’d better regroup in the second half, or 100 losses will be staring them in the face.
1:47 p.m.: We just saw the first hit of the Justin Smoak era in Seattle, a clean single through the left side against C.C. Sabathia in the second inning. That put two on with no out, but then the Mariners became the Mariners again and Josh Bard flew out to left and Jack Wilson grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Still 1-0 for the Yanks, heading to the third.
1:32 p.m.: We’re through an inning of play and the Mariners already trail 2-0 after a less-than-stellar defensive effort in the first inning. With one out, Nick Swisher reached on a throwing error by Jose Lopez. That was followed by a base-hit and then Chone Figgins stepping off the second base bad while taking a Lopez throw on a fielder’s choice.
That loaded the bases with one out. Robinson Cano nearly cleared them on a drive to the right field warning track that Ichiro had to scamper to haul in. One run scored on the sac fly and a second one came in on an ensuing single to center by Jorge Posada.
1:12 p.m.: Seattle plays its final game before the All-Star break. The M’s are trying to avoid a series defeat here, with Ryan Rowland-Smith on the mound.
New acquisition Justin Smoak is the DH, largely because of all he’s been through.
“A lot of it had to do with all the travel yesterday,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He was kind of beat emotionally and physically.”
Along the same lines, Wakamatsu is giving Russell Branyan a day off. Branyan has been a lineup mainstay since the trade, but has gone just 4-for-22 on the homestand and is showing sings of fatigue.
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
C Jorge Posada
DH Marcu Thames
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Brett Gardner
LHP C.C. Sabathia
2B Chone Figgins
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Jose Lopez
1B Casey Kotchman
DH Justin Smoak
C Josh Bard
SS Jack Wilson
LF Michael Saunders
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith