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July 24, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Eric Wedge shaves off mustache in bid to lighten mood around losing Mariners

You just knew this one was coming. The Mariners have lost 14 in a row and keep sending out a bunch of different lineups to no avail.
And so, manager Eric Wedge decided to make one more lineup switch — his mustache is gone.
First thing I thought of is, man, there are thousands of t-shirts in-stock out there that are going to make nice car simonizers.
After that, well, I thought, hey, that dude looks pretty clean-shaven.
“Drastic times, you know?” Wedge said, adding that he’s thought of shaving for a few days and did it last night. “Drastic measures I guess. We’ll see. I just wanted to get the reaction out there that I’ve been getting from everybody and hopefully lighten them up a little bit. They’ve been pressing like hell, wanting to win so bad that they’ve been getting away from themselves. Last night, I thought it was as evident as ever. So, we’ll see. Come out here and relax and play hopefully today.
“It wears on you and you carry it around like luggage, like baggage,” he added. “And you just can’t do that. You’ve got to come out here, relax and play. If I can help lighten them up a little bit, get them to smile, release some of that anxiety and stress, maybe that will help us a little bit.”
That’s about it. Miguel Olivo is back in at cleanup today. Chone Figgins is at third and Jack Cust at DH.
Jack Wilson is still on the bench, and Adam Kennedy is going to rest, so there are limits to today’s more-veteran lineup.
Speaking of Kennedy, I asked him about the bunt play in last night’s eighth inning with nobody out and runners on first and second, the M’s down 3-1. No, he was not bunting on his own. It was indeed called from the dugout.
Kennedy bunted one hard right back at reliever Daniel Bard, who had time to get the lead runner at third.
But third baseman Kevin Youkilis had his foot at the bag and the runner was ruled safe. Not the textbook way to load ’em up, but Kennedy said he’ll take it.
“Sticking your face in there (to bunt), with the guy throwing 98, it’s not fun,” Kennedy said.
Seeing the No. 5 hitter bunt in a situation like that is somewhat unusual. Studies have shown a team is more likely to score two runs with runners at first and second with none out, than at second and third with one out.
But those “average” teams are also not quite as bad at scoring as the 2011 Mariners. Just something to keep in mind.

On the subject of Youkilis, Brendan Ryan still could not believe this morning that he was thrown out on that seventh inning play. Ryan appeared to have an infield single to the left side that would have made it a 2-0 game. Instead, third baseman Youkilis charged the ball, lunged toward it, then made a bullet throw from his knees to nab Ryan and end the inning with Seattle up only 1-0.
I asked Ryan whether he stumbled at all coming out of the box. He told me that the swing he put on the ball left him somewhat off balance, but no, he didn’t stumble.
“As far as getting out of the box goes, it probably wasn’t optimal,” he said.
Mariners (43-57)
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
26 Brendan Ryan SS
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
30 Miguel Olivo C
17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
20 Mike Carp (L) LF
21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
29 Jack Cust (L) DH
9 Chone Figgins (S) 3B
36 Michael Pineda RHP
Red Sox (61-37)
2 Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
15 Dustin Pedroia 2B
28 Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
20 Kevin Youkilis 3B
34 David Ortiz (L) DH
13 Carl Crawford (L) LF
16 Josh Reddick (L) RF
39 Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
10 Marco Scutaro SS
49 Tim Wakefield RHP

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins


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