There was more grumbling than usual by the Mariners after this 3-0 loss and it concerned plate umpire Vic Carapazza. The Mariners struck out 14 times against Dan Haren of the Los Angeles Angels and several Seattle hitters felt Carapazza contributed towards that with a rather liberal interpretation of the strike zone.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge, however, wasn’t buying it. Wedge was disappointed, to say the least, in how his hitters — both right-handed and left-handed — failed to adjust to what Haren was doing.
Alex Liddi had a particularly bad night, striking out four times on sliders that broke off the late at the last instant.
“He pitched a good ballgame, but we didn’t make any adjustments,” Wedge said. “I mean, he was doing the same thing in the ninth inning that he was doing in the first inning.
“That’s the red flag. I mean, you’ve got to make an adjustment. You can’t keep going up there and doing the same thing and expecting different results.”
Wedge wasn’t done. He was asked what specific adjustments his hitters should have made against Haren.
“There were specific adjustments we needed to make both from right-handers and left-handers,” he said. “But nobody did. Haren’s a veteran pitcher. We didn’t make any adjustments. We just kept doing the same thing throughout the course of the ballgame and that just can’t happen.”
So, we won’t get details about the specifics from him.
I asked Liddi what adjustments he made after the first couple of at-bats. Liddi had said Haren’s slider looked like a fastball before breaking off the plate at the final moment.
“I tried to be more on the plate,” he said. “But it didn’t work.”
Brendan Ryan agreed that the stuff off the plate kept killing the right-handed hitters.
“You look at what the other right-handed batters were doing and how he’s getting us out, because we were just zooming through this game,” Ryan said. “And it was all stuff off the plate and away. Lunging, checked swing stuff. At some point, you want to take that pitch away from him, whatever it may be.”
But nobody did.
It would have been nice at some point for a fresh bat to come in and replace Liddi, who was clearly struggling and unable to adjust. That’s supposed to be why the team has a switch-hitting guy like Chone Figgins on the roster, especially with Liddi being a defensive liability in left field late in the game.
But I’m sure Wedge figures a strugging Liddi gives him a better chance to get back into the game late than Figgins does batting from the left side.
In any event, Figgins stayed on the bench while Liddi wore the sombrero.
Only the second loss in seven games for the Mariners, so let’s not get too crazy dissecting this. We’ll see how their plate approach looks tomorrow night.