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June 18, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Mariners didn’t put away the non-member of the Fab Four when given the chance

On Geoff Baker Live! earlier tonight, seen in the replay above, we played a clip of Eric Wedge explaining why Franklin Gutierrez wasn’t in the starting lineup. Greg Halman had two singles as the starting center fielder, though Gutierrez entered late as a pinch-hitter for Carlos Peguero. A viewer asked whether the Mariners will try to make the playoffs with their existing team, or try to bring in some new faces. I think this core is the one that will be kept, with some limited exceptions and a possible trade of a starter — though it would have to bring something real good back. Another viewer asked how much playing time Chone Figgins will get going forward. Somebody asked whether I’d seen the trailer for the new Moneyball movie. Yes, indeed. I had a lot to say about the Moneyball book, Billy Beane and my hopes for the movie. I have a tiny bit of personal history with the book and its author, Michael Lewis, which I wanted to be up front about. Also some strong opinions about the book and whether Lewis pulled off what he was trying to and was fair to people he depicted in it. It’s a complex subject, dealing with a book that clearly changed some of the game’s history. For the record, I enjoyed the book immensely and the ideas it tried to promote. Just don’t think Lewis did it as fairly or accurately as he could have, which is why he invited so much controversy, some of it unfairly directed at Beane.
On to the post…
You ask anyone who they’d rather face when the Phillies are in town and the name Vance Worley comes up a lot.
It isn’t that he’s terrible, given his 3-2 record and 3.41 ERA.
Nope, it’s just that he isn’t Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt or the guy the M’s face in tomorrow’s finale, Cole Hamels.
And the M’s had Mr. Worley on-the-ropes early, with two on in the first, then two more on in the second after Dustin Ackley’s home run. But that was it for the scoring.
One run ain’t going to do it against the Phils. Even with Felix Hernandez pitching.
Seattle had just an Ichiro infield single after the second inning. And then, by the time they got their second hit after that, there was one out to go in a 5-1 game.
When you’re facing the Phillies and you get four hits and a walk the first two innings against the guy named Worley, you’d best score more than a run if you plan on winning. Lesson learned for the Mariners as they go about this whole contention thing — now 1 1/2 games back of the Rangers with the Angels closing fast.
Nobody has to teach Adam Kennedy that lesson. He’s been to the playoffs before. Done things there the M’s can only dream of, like hitting three homers in a clinching ALCS game back in 2002.
“We kind of let them off the hook,” Kennedy said. “You can’t keep giving that offense a chance and then, their bullpen is very good the later in the game it is. So, you need to get those runs early.”

Mariners manager Eric Wedge agreed, as you knew he would. Wedge isn’t a real big fan of walking your way off a non-scoring island.
He saw his team get four free passes tonight. But they couldn’t buy a big hit when it really mattered, other than Ackley’s homer.
“We missed some opportunities early,” Wedge said. “Their guys did a good job. Their starter did a good job, bullpen did a tremendous job against us tonight. But we had him working hard early, missed some opportunities and that really changed the outlook of the game.”
Wedge added: “What we need to get back to is doing a better job of – what I’ve said before – finishing off innings. Two-out knocks, or stringing something together. That’s what Philly did. They were able to string some at-bats together, put the heat on us and got some big hits in the late innings.”
And that’s all there is to it. No complex analysis needed.
Hernandez did a great job of battling through innings, but left a couple of breaking balls up against some lefties and saw Victorino’s double decide the game.
Ackley thought it was “pretty cool” to have that nice ovation and curtain call from fans after his first big-league homer tied it 1-1 in the second. He didn’t know what to do, but a couple of teammates pushed him out to the dugout steps where he tipped his cap.
Justin Smoak thought he might get to do a home run trot in front of his family — his mother is watching him play in Seattle for the first time — but had the ball hit the wall. So close, but yet so far for the M’s tonight.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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