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April 18, 2011 at 11:38 PM

Mariners let one get away

This was a game that seemed there for the taking for much of the night.
Instead, it was Detroit that took it, and it’s no secret where the Tigers grabbed control, a six-run seventh inning that was a disaster for the Mariner bullpen, specifically Josh Lueke and Chris Ray.
“The seventh inning got ugly there,” said Mariner manager Eric Wedge. “Lueke and Ray just didn’t have it today. They were behind (in the count) then had to come in and that’s where it got away from us.”
Indeed, Lueke threw just five strikes among 16 pitches, Ray only 11 in 26. Each let in a run with a wild pitch.
“I didn’t do my job is what it came down to,” said Ray, who also struggled in the Wednesday loss to the Blue Jays. “You can’t come in the game and walk the first guy and expect good things to happen.”
The big blow as a three-run triple by Jhonny Peralta off Ray.
Ray said he left a fastball over the middle of the plate, though he said the real culprit was falling behind in the first place.
“It was bases loaded, 3-1 (count),” he said. “I had to throw him a strike.”
As for Lueke, he again seemed to lack the top-end fastball that made him so enticing to the Mariners in the first place, appearing to hit 93 or so, and not the 94-97 that used to be common.
Fans also probably wondered why the Mariners helped derail scoring chances in the fifth and sixth innings with failed steal attempts — Chone Figgins in the fifth at third base, Miguel Olivo in the sixth at second.
Said Wedge: “They (Detroit) did a good job on both of them, both of them were bang-bang. I know it was bang-bang at second base when I went out there (to argue) with Miggy — he might have gotten in there, I don’t know. And Figgy being aggressive there too. (Try to) catch a guy really quick. But Branodon Inge made a hell of a play down there at third base — very athletic. When you are pushing it, if you are out by a ways that’s one thing. But if it’s bang-bang and they’ve really got to be perfect with it, we are willing to take that chance until we become a little bit more consistent offensively with the bats.”
Asked if that meant either runner was going on his own, Wedge said: “Well, it’s a combination. I don’t ever go one way or the other, obviously, but it’s what we were looking to do and they did a good job.”
Highlights were obviously Vargas, staying in there through six after a tough start to the second; and the hitting of Milton Bradley (2-3, two walks and a homer) and Justin Smoak (a homer in the eighth).
Vargas said that “I felt very good for the most part. I felt like I was controlling the strike zone.” He threw 114 pitches and said he was glad Wedge felt the confidence to leave him in there saying that he was “just wanting to be out there and keep competing … they let me finish off that (sixth) inning and try to get a lead and a win.”
Smoak hit his HR right-handed and said he is feeling better right now at that side of the plate. “I still don’t feel great at the plate,” he said. “It’s always a work in progress.”
As, obviously, is the team he plays for.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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