Mariners complete sweep of Reds 1-0

Mariners sweep Reds in Seattle!

    The Seattle Mariners completed a three game sweep of the visiting Cincinnati Reds 1-0 on a rainy Fathers day under the roof at Safeco field. The Mariners pitching once again steered the ship to victory with Ryan RowlandSmith navigating the first 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball. The Mariners swept a three game series for the first time since the Baltimore series on April 19-21st. Coming into the game today the Reds were batting .276 to lead the National League compared to .234 for the Mariners. But just like the previous two games the Reds were kept in-check by the Mariners pitching staff who managed to get just enough offense behind them to push the Reds down to 2 ½ games out of first in the NL Central. Unfortunately for the Mariners despite winning their fourth game in a row, they stay 13 games back in the AL West as the Texas Rangers won their eighth game in a row.

   The Mariners scored their only run of the game when pesky Chone Figgins smoked an infield single, and then was moved to third on a single by Lopez through the whole on the right side of the infield, created by the speedy Figgins stealing second on the play. Milton Bradley was unable to bring Figgins home leaving the task to Franklin Gutierrez who had the only RBI of the game with his sacrifice fly to center. Josh Wilson did pick-up another single in the inning but the Mariners rally was thwarted by the struggling Mike Carp who may be the next Mariner to go back to Tacoma. Carp gave-way to Casey Kotchman later in the game allowing Kotchman to set the record for most consecutive games by a first-baseman without an error at 239. Congratulations are in order for Casey Kotchman who has struggled at the plate this year but continues to dazzle with the leather.

   The Reds starter Aaron Harang went 6 innings and only gave up the one run in the bottom of the fourth. His opponent today Ryan Rowland-Smith managed to keep the Reds scoreless despite giving up 5 walks. It was nice to see Smith pitch effectively for the second outing in a row, and he may very well have won back his spot in the rotation with this gutsy performance. Smith showed some raw emotion after getting a strike-out in the sixth inning to pitch out of a jam. Brandon League came in to relieve Smith in the 7th after the big Aussie had walked the first two Reds. The Reds executed a perfect sacrifice bunt and suddenly the game was on the line with runners on second and third with only one out. Brandon League had other ideas today and came right after the next two batters with his A-game. Throwing 97 mph pitches with movement, League struck-out Cabrera and Phillips to end the threat.

   Brandon League after four days rest was virtually untouchable today and he mowed down the dejected Reds in the 8th before handing the ball over to David “Dutch” Aardsma. Fortunately Aardsma has also been able to rest due to the dazzling performances by Lee and Hernandez in the first two games of the series. It was nice to see Aardsma put the Reds away 1, 2, 3 in the ninth to close this game and series out for the Mariners who are quietly gathering up a little momentum before the Chicago Cubs come to town Tuesday. It is interesting to note that Jack Wilson is back in the clubhouse after his rehabilitation stint, sending Matt Tuiasosopo back to Tacoma. The Mariners will have to figure out how to keep both of the Wilson’s on the field as the Paperboy has earned a spot in the lineup. Also Mike Sweeney is back itching to contribute and I expect to see him in some capacity when Sweet Lou and the Cubs make their first appearance in 8 years at Safeco field. This has been a tough year and with Texas and the Angels playing for keeps now it will be hard for the Mariners to get back in the race. But for the next couple of days it is just kind of nice to think about sweeping the Reds and only allowing them 1 run in three games. http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners sink to 11 Leagues under the Sea in Oakland 6-5

The Seattle Mariners lost another game in the last at bat for an opposing team, and are now 11 games under .500 after losing 6-5 in the 10th inning to the Oakland A’s. Felix Hernandez started this one for the Mariners, and though not sharp kept us in this one as our guys managed to battle back on several occasions. Three of our slumping sailors Kotchman, Figgins, and Johnson had two hit nights in another heart-breaker in an unbelievable string of tough losses for Seattle.

The 10th inning was particularly difficult to watch as Brandon League was dealt another loss and moves to 3-4. League got Davis to pop-up to start off the bottom of the 10th, then walked Pennington the speedy shortstop. Barton flied out to Gutierrez who took his time getting the ball in and Pennington tagged up at first and advanced on the mental error by Gutierrez. League then threw a pitch in the dirt to Ryan Sweeney that was called a wild-pitch, but appeared catchable and allowed Pennington to advance to third. The Mariners put Sweeney on, and Kurt Suzuki came through with a clutch single up the middle to score Pennington. It was a sloppy ending to a game where the Mariners showed some life at the plate.

  The Oakland A’s are possibly our biggest rival traditionally due to their close proximity, and they seem to have our number this year. As a side note my Grandfather Gordon” Dusty” Rhodes pitched his last season in the majors with the old Philadelphia A’s under Connie Mack in 1936. In those days they left starters in to finish games,  and he had a record of 9-20 that year which was enough to send him to the minors for the rest of his career.

  So our Mariners now have to make their way back to their home-port like a bunch of sailors who have been ashore in an exotic Port where they spent all their money on booze, women and gambling, then blew the rest……http://jeffsmariners.com

Orioles stunn Mariners with 6-5 comeback win

Todays game at beautiful Camden Yards in Baltimore  started out like a dream and ended up another nightmare as the Mariners bullpen could not hold on to a 5-1 lead in the 8th and Felix Hernandez’s solid pitching performance was wasted. Unlike most of the previous losses this year our offense stepped up and we had a season high of 3 home runs. Michael Saunders, Ichiro, and Mike Sweeney all connected for homers and this loss was another heart-breaker.

The Mariners pounded Kevin Millwood the veteran for home runs in the 5th,6th, and 7th giving Felix a nice cushion to work with. Brandon League came into the game in the 8th and gave up a solo shot to Corey Patterson the pesky veteran who the Mariners released after giving him a look this spring. Adam Jones struck out but reached first on a wild pitch followed by a single and a walk loading them up for Luke Scott. Scott drove a line shot to left that Michael Saunders almost caught in a dramatic attempt but to no avail and it cleared the fence and the bases.

The Mariners did attempt a comeback and with runners at 1st and 2nd and 2 outs in the 9th, Ichiro shot a ground ball  thru the left side of the infield and Josh Wilson raced home only to be thrown out at the plate by a strong throw from Corey Patterson. This was a series we needed to win and while our offense came alive today it will go down as another loss pushing our guys into a deeper hole in the AL West Standings.

Besides Brandon League who was pitching well recently our team looked good and though we lost it was an exciting game that offered some hope despite the tough loss. So it is on to Tampa Bay and more struggle. No one said it was going to be easy, but I can’t remember so many tough losses packed together in recent Mariners history.http://jeffsmariners.com

Another Positive game for Mariners winning 5-1

Tonight the Seattle Mariners beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 on a wet and dreary night in front of 12,614 die-hard Birds fans. On display was exactly the sort of team Jack Z. promised us. Good Pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting, plus a home run by Ryan Langerhans. Mariners starter Cliff Lee picked up the win pitching into the 8th inning before Brandon League came in to finish this one out. Both pitchers were impressive facing an Orioles team that is struggling without their All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts. Orioles starter David Hernandez pitcher had another tough night and recorded his 11th loss in his last 11 decisions.

 Once again the trio from Tacoma Ryan  Langerhans, Josh Wilson, and Michael Saunders produced at the plate for the second game in a row. Langerhans playing 1st for Casey Kotchman and hit a solo homer in the 5th  Saunders also had 2 hits on the night including an RBI single in the 6th. It was a relief to see Rob Johnson pick up a couple of hits on the night including a clutch 2-out single in the 6th which scored 2 runners including Ken Griffey who hustled in when the ball was bobbled in left field. Even Chone Figgins picked up a hit tonight and had an RBI walk in the 5th.

Watching Cliff Lee pound the strike zone with first pitch strikes and his fast pace was fun to watch. But coming away from this game it was apparent to me that Brandon League is quickly becoming the go-to guy in the Bullpen. League came into the game in the top of the 8th with one out and runners on first and second, and with 4 pitches shut down the Orioles. League shut the Birds down in order in the 9th, and that was all she  wrote.

 The only way we are going to move beyond the drama from the last homestand is for this club to come together as a team like they did tonight and silence all the armchair GM’s. We looked like a team tonight and it feels good.http://jeffsmariners.com

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