WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE JUST BEFORE FIRST PITCH — The picture above shows the smallish crowd here tonight, something that will quickly cease to be news, probably, but for now is still symbolic of the current hard times for this franchise.
ATTENDANCE — Announced at 12,774. So second-lowest in Safeco history.
IT’S A FINAL — Nothing for M’s in ninth so it ends 8-3. M’s now 5-12.
M’S GIVING AWAY SOIL — To those who asked, the Mariners are giving away bags of soil to 5,000 fans after the games on April 18, April 22, May 16 and May 30.
It’s a promotion along with Cedar Grove Composting. Other than the press release here I don’t know much else about it.
TOP NINE — Four up, three down, one walk, no runs for Tigers in ninth. Valverde on to close it out.
BOTTOM EIGHTH — M’s got a run on a solo homer by Smoak, and then made it briefly interesting with a single by Olivo and a walk by Ryan, the latter off Joaquin Benoit, on to replace Schlereth. But Ichiro popped out to end the threat so Seattle still down 8-3.
TOP OF EIGHTH — Three up, three down for Tigers off David Pauley.
BOTTOM OF SEVENTH — Brief shades of last week as M’s got runners on first and second with two outs, the latter a walk to Bradley, that enticed Detroit to change pitchers. But Cust then grounded out to second on a nice play by former Mariner Ramon Santiago.
TOP OF SEVEN — The Tigers blew it open in an ulgy inning as Josh Lueke again lacked zome zip on his fastball and gave up three hits and a walk before leaving with the score 4-2, wild pitching one home, and two on. Chris Ray came on and then threw another wild pitch to bring home a run before allowing a bases-loaded triple by Jhonny Peralta to make it 8-2.
I imagine a lot of fans waiting to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame and then take themselves out to the parking lot.
Not much reason to think the Mariners have another Monday Night Miracla, ala last week’s comeback against the Blue Jays.
BOTTOM SIXTH — M’s got a one-out single by Olivo to momentarily raise hopes. But he was caught stealing — in what looked on the replay like the right call — and the rally ended there. Lueke now on to start the seventh with the game tied at 2-2.
TOP OF SIXTH —- Tigers tied it, but it could have been worse as Vargas finally got Avila to fly to left after an 11-pitch at-bat with runners on first and third. Bradley misplayed the ball on a double by Boesch in the corner to allow Cabrera to score from first with two outs. Vargas has thrown 113 pitches and surely done with Lueke set to come in.
BOTTOM OF FIFTH — Huge wasted opportunity as the M’s got the first two batters — Figgins and Bradley — on via walks, but got no runs. Cust struck out looking, Figgins was thrown out at third as the lead runner of a double steal, and Smoak then popped out foul to catcher. So still just 2-1 M’s to the sixth and Vargas to the mound with 82 pitches thrown.
TOP OF FIFTH — Tigers waste a leadoff double by Avila as Vargas gets the next three, including a strikeout of leadoff hitter Jackson who is 0-3 and came in hitting .175. Jackson seemed particularly frustrated after striking out on a 79 MPH pitch from Vargas.
BOTTOM OF FOURTH — Scherzer struck out the side, giving up only a two-out single to Ryan. So 2-1 M’s to the fifth.
TOP FOURTH — Easy 1-2-3 inning for Vargas, who has now thrown 68 pitches and settling into something of a groove.
BOTTOM THIRD —- Bradley followed a single by Figgins with a towering home run to right-center, just Seattle’s eighth of the year, to make it 2-1. Cust then walked but Smoak was called out on strikes and Kennedy flied out to end the inning. Scherzer has thrown 72 pitches so a battle of the bullpens beckons.
TOP OF THIRD — Vargas walked Ordonez on a full count and two outs, but then got Cabrera to ground out. So no damage and still 1-0 Detroit to bottom of third.
BOTTOM OF SECOND — M’s get a double by Kennedy to center and a walk by Langerhans to briefly threaten with two outs. But Ryan struck out swinging to end the threat. So 1-0 to the third.
TOP OF SECOND — Tigers led off the inning with three straight singles to score a run and bring back bad memories of opening night, when Vargas was shelled. But he recovered to get the last three outs and leave it at 1-0. The bad news is that he’s thrown 46 pitches already, indicating a long night ahead for the bullpen.
Also, Detroit’s Victor Martinez left after reaching second on the last of the three hits with some kind of leg injury.
BOTTOM OF FIRST — M’s got a two-out infield single from Bradley but nothing else, so it’s 0-0 heading to the second.
TOP OF FIRST — Tigers went three up, three down, though not without some history as Ryan Raburn hit a pop up behind the third base line that hit the roof — the first ball to ever do so since Safeco Field opened in 1999.
The ball landed foul between Figgins and Olivo, but there was no harm as Rayburn struck out on the next pitch.
PRE-GAME — As I type this at about 6:35 p.m., this is the emptiest I have ever seen this place before a game.
Looks like this one could definitely threaten the attendance low of 12,407 set in the last home game Wednesday against Toronto. The official game notes project the attendance for tonight as 12,500, so it will be a low one either way.
But hard to blame anyone as it’s a cold night, a losing Mariner team and not a real sexy opponent in the Detroit Tigers, who are 7-9.
And there are LOTS of tickets available going forward as the M’s report there are 34,500 remaining for tomorrow night’s game and 33,500 for Wednesday afternoon’s.
Here is Seattle’s lineup:
Chone Figgins, 3B
Milton Bradley, LF
Jack Cust, DH
Justin Smoak, 1B
Adam Kennedy, 2B
Miguel Olivo, C
Ryan Langerhans, CF
Brendan Ryan, SS
Jason Vargas, P
And here is Detroit’s:
Austin Jackson, CF
Ryan Rayburn, 2B
Magglio Orzdonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Brennan Boesch, LF
Johnny Peralta, SS
Alex Avila, C
Brandon Inge, 3B
Max Scherzer, P