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August 16, 2011 at 11:54 PM

UPDATED: Mariners pitching goes AWOL in 13-7 loss

If you missed Geoff Baker Live! tonight (see video replay above), we told you a cool story about Felix Hernandez meeting pre-game with an opposing pitcher who is also a “fan” of his from back home in Venezuela. We gave you some reaction from myself and M’s manager Eric Wedge to the signing of No. 1 draft pick Danny Hultzen. Somebody asked me whether Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez should be sitting out to give more playing time to Casper Wells and Trayvon Robinson. Here are my thoughts on that. Somebody asked for my thoughts on the “best” and “worst” moves made by the team this past off-season. Another person wondered whether I felt the M’s would increase or cut payroll next season.
No sign of any “man in white” stealing signs for the Blue Jays from the outfield stands in this one. Only some good, old fashioned bad pitching by the Mariners all night in what became a 13-7 loss.
Josh Lueke was about the only pitcher I can recall who didn’t stand out on the awful side.
Everyone else kept walking guys left and right, or bouncing balls past poor Miguel Olivo in the dirt, or giving themselves whiplash snapping their heads around to watch another home run blast clear the fence or line drive sear into the outfield.
Jason Vargas looked real good his last time out in Texas. And he looked real bad in the first inning of this one, giving up six runs and throwing 36 pitches.
Oh yeah, and then there was that Ichiro bunt play with two on and two out in the fifth inning of a three-run game. Ichiro grounded out to end the inning, heard some boos, then got a word from manager Eric Wedge about it afterward.
Wedge didn’t feel that Ichiro made the best decision.
“I still want him to swing the bat right there,” Wedge said. “I know what he’s trying to do, He’s trying to keep the inning going. He felt like the third baseman was back and was trying to keep the inning going, to get to the next guy. But in that situation, with two outs, I want him swinging the bat.
“So, we talked about it. If it’s a situation with one out, a different set of circumstances, you’re trying to keep them moving a little bit. But with two outs, as good as hitter as he is, you’d like to see him swing the bat there.”

But Ichiro’s choices aside, this still wasn’t a very well-pitched game. Some bad pitching by Toronto starter Brad Mills — who was way too tentative for a guy with a 6-0 lead — allowed the M’s to get back into it.
Casper Wells hit a two-run homer to get the comeback started. That’s home runs in four straight games by Wells, making him the first M’s rookie to do that since DannyTartabull back in 1986.
“I don’t know how to really describe it,” Wells said. “It’s just something that happens. I’ve never done it before. People were asking me before the game whether I’d ever hit three home runs in a game. I mean, I’m not going up there trying to hit home runs.”
Ken Griffey Jr. has the Seattle record and is tied for the MLB mark with homers in eight straight games, which he did in 1993.
“Everyone’s talking to me about Griffey hitting home runs, eight in a row or something like that,” Wells said. “But no, I’m not going to go home thinking about how I’m going to hit a home run tomorrow. I’m just going to try to have the same approach and hopefully get some mistakes from pitchers.”
Wells wan’t happy with his final at-bats of the game, saying they were below par compared to what he’d done in prior outings. In the end, he said, that’s what he’ll take home from this contest and try to do more tomorrow.
The M’s still made a game of it after the Wells blast.
Olivo then went deep right after that to make it 6-3. One inning later, the M’s tied it up, with help from a single by Mike Carp — extending his hitting streak to 16 games — and a two-run single by Trayvon Robinson. Robinson would add a double in the fifth to complete another good game.
But to be honest, the pitching was so bad in this one, it’s tough to put too much stock in the stats.
The thing is, Vargas even had help in his rough first inning when Adam Lind gave him a second out by not running hard to first base initially on what could have been an infield single. Vargas was initially upset with himself for not getting slow bouncer and trying for an inning-ending double play.
But as I said, he caught a break when second baseman Dustin Ackley was able to throw out the slow-moving Lind, who tried to put on a burst of speed at the end when he realized the out would not be routine.
Still, Vargas could not take advantage. With two on and two out, Vargas walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases, then served up a Colby Rasmus double to right center that cleared them.
Aaron Hill hit a two-run homer that inning en route to a four-RBI night.
It was 6-6 in the fifth when Vargas walked another guy, then gave up a single to end his night. Tom Wilhelmsen entered and two walks, two wild pitches and two sac flies later, four runs had scored and that was all she wrote.
Laffey gave up a huge two-run homer by Jose Bautista to help Toronto cap the rout with a three-run sixth.
Bad night for the M’s on the mound. We haven’t seen many of those this year. But this one was ugly.
Wedge felt Wilhelmsen was a victim of some “bad luck” and actually had “good stuff” on the mound even if it didn’t translate into results. Chalk it up to more of the learning curve as Wilhelmsen gets his feet wet in the majors again as a reliever following several weeks of starting in Class AA.
This was his second straight night of work and he was off.
The M’s had played better baseball of late. They’ll try to win the series tomorrow.



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