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March 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Wrapping up Mariners’ 12-7 loss to the Cubs

The Mariners got in a full nine today, but that wasn’t enough time to beat the Cubs, who left Peoria with a 12-7 win.
Here’s the box score.
The big story was the pitching of Jason Vargas, who allowed eight hits and seven runs (all earned) in just two-thirds of an inning before being relieved. He saw his ERA balloon to 12.46 for the spring.
Vargas said he felt good physically and that wasn’t the issue.
“Everything is fine, I felt good,” he said. “I mean I guess I wasn’t getting ahead the first couple of hitters and it kind of snowballed from there.”
Vargas walked the first batter, David DeJesus, on four pitches, setting the tone for what was to come.
“I mean I don’t even know what to tell you,” he said. “It seemed like whatever I threw, especially with two strikes, they hit, so I don’t know. Forget about it and move on. … I mean obviously I don’t want to walk the first guy on four pitches, but I wasn’t all over the place by any means. Seemed like it didn’t matter if it was a good pitch or a bad pitch, they put it in play.”
Vargas is slated to start Seattle’s second game of the year on March 29 against the A’s in Japan. With the team leaving Thursday, he won’t have another start here but said he will get in some sort of throwing between now and then.
“I felt like I’ve been throwing the ball well,” he said of his spring before today — he entered with a 5.63 ERA in eight official innings. “Even today I didn’t feel bad, didn’t feel like I was throwing the ball all over the place. Just one of hose days I guess, definitely don’t want to have too many of them.”
Mariner manager Eric Wedge said it was just one of those days.
“He just didn’t have the command of his fastball he normally does,” Wedge said. “He was up a little bit.”
Wedge said he would have liked Vargas to throw more than the 40 pitches he ended with (24 of which were strikes, indicative of his control issues), but said “we’ve had him up to 90 so that’s fine. Just one of those days for him, but he will be okay.”
Asked what is next for Vargas, Wedge said: “We’ll probably have throw a (simulated) game over in Japan and that will prep him for his start over there the second game of the season. He just didn’t have the command of his fastball and worked behind a little bit and up in the zone a little bit and they were out over the plate some. Typically you get into the season and you might let him go further but the purpose of today there was no sense in letting him do that.”
The positive was getting to see a little more of relievers Shawn Camp and Shawn Kelley, who combined to allow four hits and just one run in 5.1 innings.
“You get to see a lot of guys out of the bullpen competing for jobs. It’s interesting to say the least — we’ve got some strong competition here and we’ll have some tough decisions to make the next couple of days,” Wedge said.
Of Kelley throwing three innings, Wedge noted that: “He was real efficient his first couple innings only had 16 after that second one so we wanted to send him back out there and we need these guys to be extended in the bullpen too. Tough to have a bunch of one-inning guys. You want multiple guys in the bullpen to be able to throw two or three innings.”
Another positive was the 12 hits and five walks from the offense, including home runs by Ichiro, Jesus Montero and Kyle Seager, two hits, (including a triple) by Chone Figgins, two hits (including a double) by Brendan Ryan, and three singles and two walks by Justin Smoak. That allowed Seattle to rally from a 7-0 deficit to tie it at 7-7 after three before the Cubs pulled away with three in the eighth and one in the ninth.
“We had some real good things that we saw there offensively and we saw some things defensively too, so nice to see the guys come back the way they did.”
In a few other news items:
— Wedge said of reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, cut on Monday: “He just needs more time. You’d see pitches and hitters at times where he’d find it but he just wasn’t able to be consistent with it and with where we are in camp and the decisions we have to make, he just wasn’t going to be part of the puzzle initially.”
— Three pitchers vying for a spot in the rotation will throw on Tuesday — Kevin Millwood will start against Cincinnati and Hisashi Iwakuma will follow, while Erasmo Ramirez will pitch in a minor league game. Said Wedge: “We want to make sure that we’ve got guys that we want to see in the A game and Ramirez has done a very good job in this camp and we want to continue to extend him too so we will have him pitch in the minor leagues tomorrow.” Others scheduled to pitch against the Reds include George Sherrill, Cesar Jimenez and Charlie Furbush.
— Three pitchers threw in a minor league game today. Here are their lines:
Brandon League (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 8 BF)
George Sherrill (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3 BF)
Tom Wilhelmsen (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 4 BF)
You can see some of Wedge’s post-game session with the media below:

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Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Hisashi Iwakuma

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