Mariners Baseball: Ready to Swing (But only if they absolutely freaking have to)…
That should be the team’s new slogan, given how they have battled their way back into games and to victory on this road trip by often refusing to swing at pitches from guys who can’t throw strikes. Seattle is now tied 2-2 with the Red Sox after scoring twice in the sixth by literally standing at home plate and doing nothing.
Well, they did a little of something. Tim Wakefield was mowing Seattle hitters down until giving up a two-out single to Ryan Langerhans. Wakefield then — out of nowhere — was done for the day. Guess even knuckleballers have limits. He’d thrown 76 pitches, so he left to a standing ovation and in came designated firestarter Bobby Jenks.
You’ll remember how Jenks literally helped hand the series opener to the M’s and that he’s been booed mercilessly by the Boston faithful given his dismal showing since arriving here after a long tenure with the White Sox.
Well, Jenks was at it again, falling behind hitters one after the other. Miguel Olivo singled to put two on and then everybody else stood there and dared Jenks to throw a strike. He could not.
The M’s took 19 consecutive pitches before Michael Saunders fouled a ball off. By then, a lot of damage had been done. Justin Smoak was down 0-2 in the count, but battled back and drew a walk. Jack Cust then came up and drew his fifth bases loaded walk of the season to force home a run.
Luis Rodriguez came up next and also drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game. It was the ninth bases loaded walk drawn by the M’s this season. Saunders nearly broke it open after that with a ball laced to left field — but right at the outfielder. Jenks left to a loud round of booing.
Felix Hernandez got the side 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame. Matt Albers is now on to pitch the seventh for Boston.
Yes, there are some colors-wearing Mariners fans braving the stands at Fenway Park today. Some of them a little nuttier than others. The guy in the photo is Chad Shepherd, here today with buddy Scott Lagano. Check’s in the mail.
11:59 a.m.: Felix Hernandez struck out two more batters in the fifth and now had nine strikeouts on the day. But he still trails 2-0 as we enter the sixth.
Hernandez is up to 87 pitches, so odds of him going seven innings are growing slimmer. That’s part of the consequence of so many strikeouts. Remember, Hernandez fanned the side in the first inning, but needed 27 pitches to do it.
Considering he needed only 60 more the next four innings, that’s pretty good.
The M’s are in tough against Tim Wakefield today, having notched just an infield single by Luis Rodriguez and a Jack Cust double. Cust’s hit led off the fifth inning, but Wakefield retired the side on three straight groundouts after that. None of them managed to advance the runner.
11:33 a.m.: David Ortiz had been a bit of a non-factor in this series so far, other than failing to come through in the clutch. But in today’s third inning, with two on and one out, Ortiz launched a double off the Green Monster in left center to give Boston a 2-0 lead.
The blast was another that hit near the top of the wall without being a home run — joining two similar balls hit by the Red Sox last night. That was important because Felix Hernandez managed to strand Ortiz on base. Hernandez and the M’s are only down by a pair, but it could be far worse given the baserunners allowed by Seattle thus far.
11:10 a.m.: We’ve had an eventful first two innings here, with Felix Hernandez doing the Doug Fister Rope-a-Dope in the bottom of the first, allowing the Red Sox to load the bases with two out before firing a pitch by Jed Lowrie for a called third strike. Lowrie didn’t like the call by playe ump Todd Tichenor. Hey, Jed, join the club. Milton Bradley’s got dibbs on him.
The M’s saw Jack Cust draw a two-out walk in the second, then take third on a single by Luis Rodriguez coupled by a throwing error. But Michael Saunders flew out to left field to end the threat.
Hernandez got the side 1-2-3 in the bottom of the second, so we’re still scoreless.
10:31 a.m.: Felix Hernandez and the Mariners go for the sweep in this series and of their six-game road trip this afternoon. What a season turnaround this has been in the span of less than a week. The last time the M’s were perfect on any road trip came when they went 10-0 back in 2002.