Even with Adam Moore,Mariners can’t stop Baltimore

     Tonight in Baltimore 12,375 paying fans got to watch an eleven inning game between two struggling clubs who are playing for pride at this point in the season. Both the Mariners and the Orioles under new managers, played tonight as if it was the 7th game in the World Series, right up to the last at-bat when ex-Mariners Adam Jones laid-down a surprise squeeze bunt scoring the winning run from third to win the game 5-4.

   On a hot and humid night one Mariner stood-out however having his best night ever going 4-5 including a homer, yes indeed Adam Moore finally has arrived on the scene showing us why he is the catcher of the future for Seattle. And even though it sucked to see David Aardsma have another meltdown (it’s been awhile) it was a treat to watch Moore gunning-down runners and swinging the bat like the tough, athletic guy he is. In my book after tonight’s debut of the real Adam Moore there is no going back to the Rob Johnson show.

  Doug Fister pitched like….. Well the real Doug Fister. After starting out looking like a superman early on I’m afraid to say that Doug Fister is really just a back of the rotation guy on a mediocre team. The Orioles got to him early and he never really looked in control tonight, but he did get through 5 innings and only allowed 3 runs on 10 hits. Doug’s shipmates Jamie Wright and Brandon League pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief tonight, as neither team really looked like they wanted to win this one, or perhaps they just forgot how.

    Jose Lopez did his usual multiple personality routine giving us a display of power, finesse and dorkiness all in one game. Lopez is definitely unique in his ability to drive fans crazy one minute, and the next play look like the real deal. But really both of these teams have some talent and fighting spirit and this game was kind of fun to watch, as the spectacle of two beautiful losers engaged in a death match has always been high on my list of favorite types of games to watch. This was the sort of game where you got to know the individual voices of the fans yelling in the background as this game unfolded. There is something magical about being on a losing team in a 3/4 empty stadium in extra innings and just letting it all out, sort of a cleansing experience that I don’t begrudge the loyal Orioles fans tonight in their bright orange jerseys.

   So that was tonight’s battle, a classic almost campy clash of two teams everyone has long forgotten about giving it their best for a handful of fans on two different coasts who have long ago quit feeling the pain of losing and instead, like the players watch for the love of the game.

  I wanted to thank Graham Womak from the Blog Baseball Past and Present who published an article on his blog about my grandfather: The original Dusty Rhodes story    Graham wrote the article  after          interviewing me this weekend and going through some old photos and scrapbooks. Graham is an earnest young guy from the Bay Area who helped begin to start thinking and talking about my Grandfather’s career in a realistic way in order to not only help me with the book I’m planning, but to also begin healing around his wonderful yet tragic career. Like tonight’s emotional rollercoaster the game of baseball is full of highs and lows and if it doesn’t kill you, can make life a lot richer and deeper.

Rays Sting Mariners 3-2

Tropicana Field home of the Rays

Willy Aybar lifted a home-run to right field off of Jesus Colome in the bottom of the 9th, delivering another crushing late-inning loss to the Mariners today at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. Jason Vargas dueled with Rays starter James Shields until he was lifted in the 8th for Brandon League. Once again Vargas was sharp and it appears Don Wakamatsu can’t come up with the right timing on when to pull a starter or a reliever.Perhaps he has been over-relying on statistical information rather than going with a gut-feeling. Anyway you look at it this game goes into the already overloaded category of tough-losses for the year.

The Mariners started out frisky in the 1st inning for the second game in a row, thanks to Chone Figgins who scored on a single he stretched into a double, followed by an overthrow on a pick-off attempt, and then a wild-pitch. I have said it before but want reiterate that I believe Figgins should be batting lead-off. He manufactured a run in the 1st on sheer hustle and daring. But I suppose there is some sort of “Belief System” thing that DonSpockWakamatsu has going with leaving Ichiro batting first. Ichiro is hot and had a couple more hits today, but I’d like to see him batting second or third where he could drive in some runs.

Incredibly Mike Sweeney hit a home-run today for his third day in a row and has filled in fine at DH as Ken Griffey watches from the bench for now. I would also like to Sweeney put on a glove and give him a game or two at first base to keep his bat in the lineup when Milton Bradley come back. Matt Tuiasosopo played first and looked awkward there and went hitless along with Saunders and Josh Wilson.

It appeared that the Mariners were going to pull this one out in the 9th when Adam Moore beat out an infield hit and Ichiro lashed a bullet to right , but Moore apparently had injured himself on the play at first and thus limped into second rather than making it to 3rd. The Mariners wasted this scoring opportunity and left the door open for the Rays to win the game in the bottom half of the 9th on Aybar’s fatal blow. Moore appears to be ok but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Josh Bard or  Eliezer Alfonzo get called up from Tacoma soon.

On a positive note both in this game and the last one in Baltimore though heart-breakers , our team showed guts and fighting spirit right up till the end. As a fan these games take the wind out of my sails for a few hours before I’m able to gather my thoughts and put up my daily post-game wrap-up. The players on the other-hand are a lot more involved, and somehow have to get over these sort of games in a professional manner and suit up again the next day ready to play. Our guys are playing with heart and I hope those of us who are true-fans can stay behind them for the rest of the campaign despite the ups and downs.http://jeffsmariners.com

Sweeney leads Mariners past Rays 4-3!

The Mariners unloaded for 3 home-runs for the second day in a row down at Tropicana field home of the Tampa Bay Rays. And for the second day in a row Mike Sweeney hit a long-ball.This one in the 8th  proved to be the difference in the game. Sweeney had 2 hits on the night as well as his first stolen base since 2006! Adam Moore also had two hits to night including a solo shot in the top of the 5th, helping to make   his case for winning the starting catchers job. Franklin Gutierrez started the power display with a 2-run blast in the first, scoring Ichiro who had 3-hits on the night.

  Doug Fister finally got enough run support to pick-up the win tonight and he pitched 5 innings before giving the ball up to Kanekoa Texeira who struck out the side in the 6th and held the  dangerous Rays from stinging the Mariners with any runs in the 7th either. Texeira unlike his fellow Hawaiian Brandon League, had the tade-winds at his back tonight and provided a bridge to Shawn Kelley and the closer Dutch Aardsma.

 The much maligned Sweeney in his post-game interview said he dedicated this game to his Brother at Arms Ken Griffey. I’m not sure sometimes what to make of  Sweeney ,  one minute he is the loyal Boy Scout and the next a street-brawler, but I love watching him play the game in his old-school style. I would love to see Adam Moore step-up and earn the catcher’s job as it seems Rob Johnson is still nursing last years injuries at times, and not too mobile behind the dish or at bat.

 Interesting to note that the Tampa Bay Rays have never won a game on May 14 in franchise history, and now move to 0-11 on this date. So perhaps there is still some luck in store for our team. I know King Neptune has tried our sailors this year, but tonight we had a well-rounded performance that helped quiet the recent storms. Mike Sweeney is the kind of guy I would like to have with me on a picket-line or when going ashore in a foreign Port. Perhaps character isn’t valued much in modern-day professional sports, but as a Mariner either at Sea or on the Baseball field character separates the winners from the losers in the long haul.http://jeffsmariners.com

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