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April 9, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Mariners lose sixth straight, frustration mounts

(Ichiro’s fateful bunt in the seventh inning. Photo by Associated Press)
All it took was a quick glance at the comments on the game thread to feel your pain…and rage. But my favorite comment was by omni45:
“This is beyond frustration. It’s darker than abject hopelessness. It’s the baseball equivalent of drowning on dry land. That said, I’m sure we’ll all be here tomorrow afternoon. See y’all then….”
Yes, we’ll all be back, and maybe the Mariners will actually win one. But not if they don’t start hitting, which is exactly where we left off last year, right?. During their six-game losing streak, the Mariners are averaging 2.3 runs and have a .202 batting average. Their three, four and five hitters have combined for zero homer and five RBIs all season. Chone Figgins finally broke out of an 0-for-26 slump with two hits, but he’s hitting .147. Jack Cust is hitting .172. Brendan Ryan is hitting .143. And so on and so forth.

I know the hot-button item is Ichiro’s bunt in the seventh with two outs and the tying run on third. I honestly don’t have a huge problem with it, but I understand why people do. If Ichiro drops down a good bunt, he beats it out, the run scores and everyone is happy. That was Eric Wedge’s stance, at least publicly.
“Hey, that’s part of his game,” he said. “If it’s another foot to the left, we have a tie ballgame. That’s part of his game.”
Ichiro didn’t shed much light on anything.
Asked when in the at-bat he decided to bunt, Ichiro said through his interpreter, “Sorry, I couldn’t share my opinions on that one.”
Asked if he felt he could have beaten it out with a better bunt, he said, “Of course. No one bunts in that situation knowing that I’ll be out.”
And asked how close the bunt was to where he wanted it, Ichiro said, “That’s a silly question, because it’s obvious I wanted to go third-base line.”
Ichiro has always been and will continue to be an unconventional player. Sometimes he does things that leave you scratching your head, but it’s hard to argue that the net result is not positive. I’m not sure how that bunt is a “selfish” play, as I’m hearing in tweets and emails. If he gets a bunt single, the run scores. His average doesn’t go up any more with a line drive to right. Ichiro obviously thought that was his best opportunity to get the run home. It didn’t work, but I’m not going to question his motives, only his execution.
Speaking of which, Wedge pretty much absolved Milton Bradley of blame for the errant throw in the fourth inning that led to the unearned run that was the difference in the game.
“Milton was fine,” Wedge said. “Figgy was in the right spot for the cutoff home in case he threw home. But we just need (Brendan) Ryan to circle around and be on third base there. He just wasn’t there. He (Bradley) was throwing to third base. We messed it up. We didn’t have a guy there. That’s just a mistake.”
Here’s how Ryan saw the play: “That’s kind of a tough one, it’s kind of a tweener. Are we going to try to get the guy at the plate or keep the guy from going to third? I think he (Bradley) saw me with my hands up. If he overthrows me, there’s usually someone else there. We just kind of got crossed up a little bit. Figgy’s being the cutoff man to the plate, I’m being the cutoff man to third, and then I think the pitcher has to watch and try to figure out where the ball is going to be and try to be the backup guy. It was unfortunate that happened. He (Doug Fister) tries to make a play and it ends up in the dugout. That’s the way things are going right now. It will turn.”
I didn’t see Bradley in the clubhouse after the game and I didn’t have time to wait around. But Wedge said that Bradley’s discussion with the third-base umpire in the middle of the seventh inning wasn’t a big issue.
“I don’t think there’s anything there to that,” he said.

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins


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