Mariners beat Athletics 7-5 in a sloppy but fun game

The Mariners managed to hold-on to beat the Oakland Athletics tonight 7-5 in a game that featured a little of everything tonight in front of 10,067 lonesome fans at the Oakland Coliseum. Tonight’s starting pitchers, Doug Fister and Dallas Braden started off the season as if they were bound for Cy Young consideration. But tonight they both looked quite average as they each were not locating their pitches and this one could have gone either way.

Fortunately for the Mariners they were able to have a big inning early scoring 5 runs in the second sending 11 men to the plate in one of the few big innings the Mariners have put together this year. Granted the 5-run outburst was helped along with a few bloopers, flairs, a broken bat single, a bad throw, a walk and before you knew it we had 5 runs on the board against Dallas Braden. After averaging 2 runs a game for the last 12 games I’m sure our guys were not ashamed to rock the opposing pitcher in this sort of lucky break rally. As a fan it was fun to watch the Mariners send 11 guys to the plate and go 5-5 with men in scoring position at one point in the inning.

 This game actually meant something to the A’s who are chasing the Rangers  but after tonight’s loss still remain 7 back in the AL West. The A’s of course sit across the bay from the more glamorous SF Giants who are closing in on the Padres in front of packed houses. However in working-class Oakland it is not unusual to see only 10,000 in the stands for a team that is basically a Green-collar sort of club that doesn’t get much respect, but makes the most of what they have.

  After the Mariners added another run on a homer by Adam Moore to make it 6-0, the scrappy A’s finally got a couple of runs in the 5th inning after which Daren Brown went to the bullpen. Both Garrett Olson and Jamie Wright did their jobs holding the A’s scoreless for 3 innings aided by another run in the top of the 7th by the Mariners.

  But this goofy game sort of had a mind of its own tonight and with two-out in the top of the 9th the wheels started to fall off for Brandon League. The A’s managed to get a little rally of their own together and before you could say Jack London the A’s had  3 runs in and 2 on base before David Aardsma was called in to close this one out.

All together the Mariners had 13 hits on the night compared to 12 for the A’s in what was a fun game to watch even with the sloppy play by both sides.

Summer at Safeco tradition continues

   I woke-up on this beautiful August day and decided to head down to Safeco Field to see if the Mariners could continue their little winning streak against the visiting Oakland Athletics. I usually take the bus downtown from Fremont, buy a ticket outside the game and take a taxi home. Today I broke my own tradition and drove down and parked for 20 bucks before grabbing a box seat 21 rows behind home for $30. Speaking of tradition check out the new banners plastered around Safeco that say “Celebrate the Tradition” complete with photos from the 116 win season, 1995 etc. Can’t quite fathom what goes through the minds of the marketing people for the Mariners, perhaps we are supposed to be celebrating this sort of season next year…..   

Everything was picture perfect for me and the 31,560 fans that came to root for the Mariners except the final score which ended up to be 5-1 Oakland. The Mariners sent Luke French out on this lovely day to face the scrappy A’s even though French really only has two pitches, a below average fastball and a change-up. Apparently as French attested on the post-game interview he is still working on his slider so he doesn’t throw it for now. Somehow I just can’t figure out how a guy gets to start in the majors with two pitches unless one happens to be a fastball over 95. But I guess this is not for me to ask, as my job today was to try to enjoy the sun in a family friendly environment, and spend money along with the others there. I can honestly say that though the crowd had little to cheer about today most of them seemed content to watch this sort of AAA+ team of ours complete now with a AAA manager and 3 or 4 AAA players on the field at any time.

   I do have to give credit to the A’s starter Dallas Braden who got the start today for the A’s and kept our guys off-balance at the plate with his assortment of mostly off-speed stuff. The A’s got a little help in the outfield from us today as Matt Tuiasosopo attempted to fill-in for the injured Michael Saunders and did a less than stellar job. Tuiasosopo let a couple of costly drives in the gap get by him and was slow catching-up to a Mark Ellis drive down the line in the 5th allowing an extra run to score. It should be obvious to Daren Brown that Tuiasosopo doesn’t have the ability to get the kind of read on a ball to enable him to make the kind of tough plays which are required of outfielders at Safeco. Speaking of which Franklin Gutierrez made another spectacular play against the wall in the first inning off the bat of Coco Crisp. Gutierrez really had a chance to be a hero today when he came-up with the sacks full and one out in the 7th, however Gutierrez only managed to drive-in one run on a deep fly to left-center that looked for a minute like it would get out.

   I did like the way manager Daren Brown wasn’t afraid to utilize his bullpen (as underwhelming as it is) making two changes in the 7th and more importantly having the foresight to have a couple of guys up and warm in case he needed them. Former manager Don Wakamatsu had a tendency to only warm-up one reliever at a time and if that didn’t work out we were kind of just stuck with whoever was on the mound. As it turned out it wasn’t that effective, as Chris Seddon who was brought in with one down in the 8th surrendered a walk then a double to Mark Ellis who got another RBI and had a big day going 3-4 and driving in 3 runs for his club.

   It was nice for the icon of the Oberto sausage family; Art Oberto to get acknowledged in the crowd today. Art Oberto in his 80’s looked fit and sharp with his 1950’s hat as he stood-up to take a bow in honor of the victory for the Oh Boy Oberto Hydroplane boat that just won the Seafair race a few days ago on Lake Washington. Of course Art Oberto is the kind of guy we can only wish owned the Mariners as he is local, hands-on, and cares about the product his family name goes on. Unfortunately our owner Hiroshi Yamauchi has never even been to a game at Safeco relying instead on Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong to fill the stands by putting a mediocre product on the field dressed up with gimmicks. I have been pleasantly surprised to read articles both in the local as well as the national news recently acknowledging the point I have been making on my Blog all season that the root of our problems comes from the inept front office. This is encouraging and one can only hope that this city and its fans will be fed-up enough after this season to somehow get some new blood at the top of the food chain instead of just firing managers every other year.

  So now we go on the road after a decent home stand, starting with the Indians and Orioles then finishing up with the Yankees and Red Sox before coming home. There are a lot of great pennant races going on around the majors as we move towards the stretch including what could be a sneak preview of the AL playoffs tonight as Texas and the Yankees go at it with Cliff Lee on the mound.  Smooth sailing to you…..

Mariners Grab Life Ring Win 8-1!

Well it looks like we can relax a bit as the Mariners ended their 8 game losing streak today at Safeco field with an 8-1 victory behind the stellar pitching of Jason Vargas. In a nice present for all the Mothers down at the Safe today, our sailors stopped drifting and begin the upcoming road trip on a positive note. I mentioned hitting coach Alan Cockerell in my post a few days ago as someone to watch, well sure enough he was given his walking-papers before today’s game and Alonzo Powell from AAA Tacoma took over.

Speaking of AAA Tacoma, our recently called up players from the minors all proved they were hungry today and hopefully will push the regulars into taking another look at themselves. Josh Wilson led the group with a 3-run homer in the 4th and also had a single, walk, and triple. Michael “Condor” Saunders let everyone know he was legit as well with a solo HR and RBI single later in the game. Ryan Langerhans got on base with a couple of walks and picked up a steal as he gave Casey Kotchman the day off to regroup. Even Adam Moore who is on the bubble picked up an RBI single in the 8th.

I hope the Cockrell move today is not the last in Jack Z’s effort to shake things up. I’d like to see Josh Wilson in the lineup when Jack Wilson comes back Tuesday against Baltimore. Josh Wilson is hungry and I bet he could manage at second base while Chone Figgins gets a chance to work with the new Hitting Coach. This home stand has been trying on the nerves and for once I will be happy to see our guys get on a plane.

In other news around Baseball Oakland Pitcher Dallas Braden pitched a Perfect Game, only the 19th in Major League History. I saw a great video clip of him hugging his Grandma after the game on Mothers day, I thought of my Mom, Suzanne Marjorie Engels who always loved Baseball and was born in NYC when my Grandfather Gordon Rhodes pitched for the Yankees. Happy Mothers day Mom , Mrs Braden and all you Mothers out there. Baseball is a timeless game that connects families and generations like no other and thus is America’s Pastime.

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