This is going just like last night so far, with a home run putting the Rangers in the board 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth. A.J. Pierzynski drove a pitch to deep center that Franklin Gutierrez had a leaping play on. But Gutierrez actually got out-Guti’d for the ball by a fan who ran over, reached between the stands and the outfield fence and grabbed the ball away from the Mariners center fielder.
No, it is not fan interference. The fan did not enter the field of play. Gutierrez was trying to steal a home run in no-man’s land. That’s the kind of week it’s been for the Mariners. The guy who stole the ball did a little Bubba-dance in celebration that I’m sure the locals here got a kick out of, but the Mariners were probably not too thrilled about. Anyhow, the Mariners would help their own cause if they’d stop making Derek Lowe look like his old 2004 self and quit pounding every pitch into the ground. These innings are going by real quick.
5:45 p.m.: We’re scoreless three innings in, though the Mariners caught a break of sorts when Rangers starter Nick Tepesch was hit on the arm by a Jesus Montero comebacker in the second. Tepesch had to leave with a contusion and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. Derek Lowe came on to pitch for Texas and has retired four in a row heading into this inning.
Brandon Maurer has walked three batters already, but just got through a 1-2-3 third.
4:55 p.m.: The Mariners need some quality pitching out of Brandon Maurer tonight as they try to figure out their offensive woes.
Maurer held the Rangers in-check six days ago back in Seattle, going six innings and allowing just three runs in posting the victory.
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As you can see from clicking on the video above, I asked manager Eric Wedge about giving Raul Ibanez another start tonight after his rough night yesterday and continued overall decline.Ibanez is now batting just .182 and his defense seemed to drop off badly last night, though the slick grass in the outfield appeared to get to him a couple of times. Looking at his numbers from last year, he’s on-pace for roughly the same number of at-bats overall.
But when you look at how much Ibanez has played the field in the early going, that might explain his numbers drop-off.
Ibanez has already had 38 of his 44 at-bats (86 percent) come when he was playing a fielding position.
Last year with the Yankees, only 69 percent of his 389 at-bats came as a fielder, while the others were as a pinch-hitter or a DH.
Something worth considering as we go forward. The injury to Michael Saunders and continued inability of Franklin Gutierrez to stay healthy for any length of time is putting a serious strain on the outfield.
For the record, Wedge says he’s going with Ibanez tonight — remember, he could have played Endy Chavez in left — because he hit a home run off Rangers starter Nick Tepesch last week and likes the matchup. With a day game tomorrow, I doubt we see Ibanez out there.
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