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July 23, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Mixed emotions inside Mariners clubhouse after historic night, tough loss

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What a gamut of emotions the Mariners ran tonight. They came within four outs of getting no-hit by John Lackey, then staged the biggest ninth-inning rally in team history to tie it in the ninth, blew a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the 12th, and finally lost in on Eric Patterson’s two-run double in the 13th.
“We battled and battled to tie it up in the ninth,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “And put ourselves in that situation in the 12th. We’ve got to get it done in that situation. Then it becomes a heck of a story instead of a heartbreak.”
Indeed it was heartbreaking.
But the same problems that have plagued the M’s the past two years came back to haunt them once again. Jose Lopez popped out with the bases loaded and one out and Milton Bradley did the same on the very next pitch.
Hey, Hideki Okajima is no slouch on the mound. But yeah, Lopez needed to do more. Especially the way he’s played this week and most of this season.
You sense that things are getting in Lopez’s head a bit. Tonight, on a soft liner in the ninth that was misplayed by Marco Scutaro for one of three Boston errors, Lopez was almost glued to first base. You could tell he did not want to make the same mistake he did last night, when Andruw Jones doubled him off. Still, he was too close to the base on this occasion. Like I said, he’s trying to get it right. Probably squeezed the life out of his bat in the 12th.
It’s frustrating for all of you to watch that, no doubt. I’m getting the sense these are Lopez’s final days in Seattle. But I can guarantee you, nobody in the stadium wanted him to deliver the game winning hit or sac fly more than Lopez himself. He was this team’s sac fly specialist the past few years, remember? Seems like a long time ago.

Ryan Rowland-Smith made two really bad change-up pitches tonight and got clobbered for a pair of two-run homers. A familliar story for him.
To be honest, up until the ninth, nothing really went right for the M’s.
“Everybody was excited,” Chone Figgins said of the dugout mood in the bottom of the ninth. “We battled back to be in that position and give ourselves a chance.”
Figgins gave them the chance to win it in the 12th as well with his bunt towards the third base side. This has since been long forgotten, but if Adrian Beltre doesn’t charge in and make one of his Beltre-like plays on that, Figgins likely has an infield hit and the game probably ends in a Mariners victory.
I’m guessing even the M’s would have found a way to score with the bases loaded and nobody out. What’s that? You don’t? Well, call it even odds.
Anyhow, it doesn’t matter. They failed to score, they lost again.
Figgins told me it was strange seeing Lackey pitching against his team. Figgins and Lackey teamed on the Angels for seven years and spent time before that in the minors together. Lackey kept the M’s off-balance by getting ahead in the count all night. When they swung the bats, they could not square up on the ball.
Strange how Lackey could be four outs from a no-no with a 6-1 lead and be a non-factor in the game. That’s baseball. Unfortunately, the very end is also Mariners baseball the way it’s been played this year.
“You really want to win those games,” Figgins said. “We had a chance, when we put runners on at the end. But we just didn’t get it done.”
It’s been a long season. And a long night. I’m outta here. Try to sleep.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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