NOTE: If you missed my Talkin’ Baseball segment this morning on Sports Radio KJR’s Mitch in the Morning show, click on the link above.
We’ll be discussing all the roster moves tomorrow, including the expected return of Franklin Gutierrez, Casper Wells and Erasmo Ramirez to Seattle. But there was also a game tonight in which the Mariners managed a dozen hits in a 5-4 loss but scored just four runs — three of them in the ninth inning.
They could have had more. Especially had a ball that Justin Smoak hit to right center in the second inning and another to left center in the fourth managed to leave the yard. The fourth inning blast would have given the Mariners a two-run lead since there was a man on in a tie game at that stage.
But nope. Not this night.
“The first one, I hit well,” he said. “The second one — that’s all I’ve got.”
And it wasn’t enough. The debate about Safeco Field will only grow after nights like this one. At this point,
“You get frustrated,” Smoak said. “You go up there and you try to put yourself in the best position to succeed. And you hit a ball like that and it goes nowhere.”
Smoak tried to play down the ballpark angle a bit, saying all the right things about how “it is what it is” and “comes with playing here” and stuff.
“You’ve got the roof open on a night like tonight and the ball’s not going to go anywhere,” he said. “You’ve got to get it down the lines if it’s going to happen.”
Michael Saunders did hit a home run to left center in the ninth, though it was a little closer to left. Saunders also briefly looked like he might have hit a tying grand slam to center in the sixth before the ball died just shy of the warning track.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said his players can’t let the ballpark get in their heads.
“I felt like we hit a couple of balls tonight that had a chance to get out of there, but didn’t,” Wedge said. “That’s part of it. Every ballpark’s different. But what you can’t do is let it drag you down.”
Wedge said his team has done a good job of staying with its approach regardless of the ballpark. What they can’t do, he added, is start changing things to adapt to Safeco Field.
“You’ve got to stay above that,” he said. “It’s easier said that done. All you can do is control your at-bat. Control what you’re doing in the batter’s box. Once the ball leaves your bat, you’ve got no control over it.”