Mariners win 3-1,Felix lets out another long Cyyy

Cy Young considered the greatest pitcher in MLB history

  The Mariners rallied in the bottom of the eighth inning tonight scoring three runs to beat the Angels 3-1. That’s the good news, the bad news is that despite going seven innings of 3-hit shutout ball Felix Hernandez was once again denied a victory.

   Manager Daren Brown decided to pull Felix after he had thrown only 103 pitches tonight bringing in Brandon League in a strategy that looked for a minute like it would backfire as League was tagged for a pair of doubles that resulted in a run for the Angels. Fortunately League was able to get out of the inning without further damage thanks to a double-play.

  The Mariners put together a sweet little rally of their own in the bottom half of the eighth thanks to hits by Lopez, Moore and Josh Wilson combined with a walk to Branyan to lead-off the frame and a nice sac-fly by Michael Saunders that also drove-in a run. This 3-run outburst came a few innings too late once again for Felix Hernandez who desperately needs to add a few more wins to his total of 10 in order to have a shot at the Cy Young award this year.Full Box Score

   I don’t usually subscribe to players playing for stats or awards in lost seasons like this, but Felix is having a heck of a year and it would be nice to salvage something in the way of hometown bragging rights if Felix continues to blow teams away and somehow gets the votes to win the Cy Young award.

    Believe it or not tomorrow is September 1st which usually means it is time to expand the roster and bring-up some of the AAA guys to get a taste of “The Show”. However due to the fact that the Rainiers have a good shot at making the play-offs, it looks like the Mariners will be holding-off on bringing guys up till the Rainiers are done with their run at glory. Once again like the decision to pull Felix after only allowing him to throw 103 pitches, the decision to let the AAA guys finish out their season is the right thing to do, but it sure doesn’t seem fair to us fans who have suffered so much in 2010.

   On a couple other random notes it seems that Mike Sweeney is being well received by his new team the Phillies and their fans. I’m glad to see him get a chance to play for a contender and to be appreciated after all the snide comments tossed his way here in the local press and blogosphere. I also wanted to note that Milton Bradley who is out for the year with an injury, seems to be completely forgotten as a part of the various 2011 visions for the Mariners which are being thrown around. Milton may have been a disappointment this year but we are still on the hook for $12 million next year so look for his name to resurface in the offseason once the denial of his potential return fades away. If Jack Zduriencik wants to get his growing flock of doubters off his back in a hurry I can’t think of a better way than to somehow trade him away even if we have to eat most of his salary. Of course I have no idea who would take a chance on Bradley at this point in his bizarre career, so we may just have to give him a shot at a position next spring and if he doesn’t produce simply let him go… 

   Still trying to decide which game I’m going to attend in this homestand, I was trying to wait for the Indians but may just sneak down tomorrow for the rubber-match of this series with the Angels. Ciao……http://jeffsmariners.com

King reigns supreme in the Big Apple

Well I had to break-up my vacation to put up a quick post tonight after the Mariners took care of the Yankees 6-0 tonight.

  For once King Felix got some run support thanks primarily to RussellThe MuscleBranyan and his two homers including a three-run shot early in the game which shut down the crowd in the Bronx.

  After the blow by Branyan it was all about Felix Hernandez who went 8 innings without giving up a run and in the process struck-out 11. As I wrote yesterday if the Mariners manage to win one of these two series against either the Yankees or Red Sox, this road trip will be the best one of the year.

   Whatever Daren Brown is telling these guys, it is working as he is now 7-3 since taking the helm. The Yankees are in the thick of a hot race in the AL East so you know their fans and press are livid after being dominated by the Mariners!

   Is it to late to start believing in this team? I actually am feeling a slight twinge of confidence in our club after tonight. Yes I know the season is long over as far as the playoffs,  but this is fun anyway.

  The last time anything like this occurred was when we swept the Reds before losing Cliff Lee two months ago.

  It has been a long time since I’ve been able to look forward to watching the ESPN highlights for more than one or two nights a week. Anyway I’m in Vancouver Washington with an early softball game so I won’t be giving you the usual 700 word post tonight. I just wanted to say great game Mariners and good for you Felix and Russell you are representing us well on the Eastern Seaboard so far! http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners lose a Yawner to the White Sox 6-1

  The Chicago White Sox beat the Mariners 6-1 behind the great starting pitching of John Danks who moves to 11-7 on the year. Felix Hernandez picked up the loss and his record now stands at 7-7 on the year which pretty much removes the Mariners Ace from any more discussion of him being in the running for the Cy-Young award. This game was lop-sided from the beginning as the Mariners offense never really got rolling and we were even spared the agony of watching base-runners stranded at third as has become customary this season. No this was just a flat-out beating by a superior team in late July of a season we all wish would just go-away.

  Casey Kotchman was show-cased tonight at first and proved he has a golden glove with a beautiful leaping catch that he turned into an unassisted double-play in the bottom of the second. And my new hero Jack Wilson did manage to bring Michael Saunders in to score in the top half of the third giving the Mariners a short-lived lead. Saunders has moved his average up to .242 after tonight, and is indeed looking like he has earned his spot in the outfield as of late.

   But mostly this was just a dumb, boring game that was difficult to focus on unless of course you are Dave Sims who has a way of rooting for the other team in a not so subtle way these days which is dumb but surprisingly not as irritating as it was earlier in the year. Speaking of irritating has anyone else heard the radio commercial with Cliff Lee in it where he starts out saying “I know I have moved but”…. Now this is irritating. Can we just move on and let it go already, I mean it is one thing to read about Jamie Moyer in the local papers 5 years after he is gone, but Cliff Lee was here for only half a season and we don’t need anymore painful reminders that we suck.

   Ok so I am a little grumpy tonight, maybe I have just used a hyphen too many times in my post and it’s starting to drive me crazy along with my loyal viewers, many of which are probably placing bets to see if Jeff will make it through his Rookie Year as a Mariners Blogger without giving up or completely losing it….

  Well I have written every day since the end of March on our Mariners and have actually enjoyed writing most of my posts. This is perhaps the first one after tonight’s Yawner, where it actually felt like work so I think I’m going to call it a night and hope for a better game tomorrow in the Windy City……http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners lose 3-2 despite poke from Smoak

    The Mariners lost the second game against the Angels tonight by a score of 3-2. Felix Hernandez squared off against Jered Weaver and pitched well enough to win going eight innings, but alas even a King needs more than 2 runs and 7 hits from his loyal subjects. Weaver who now moves to 9-5 on the year, kept the Mariners off-balance tonight mixing his curve and fastball up and getting outs when he needed them. Both sides had a couple of dumb base running errors that could have altered the score slightly either way.

  As this season moves along I am beginning to accept that we are in some sort of extended spring training mode and thus it is all about looking at young players with an eye on 2011. As depressing as that sounds, it is easier than looking at the standings or batting averages. So tonight I focused on the swing of young Justin Smoak and was pleasantly surprised. Smoak has a nice smooth easy swing, which he used tonight to go 2-4 including a 2-run homer in the 7th. Smoak does appear to get fooled on breaking balls, but does indeed have a natural sweet swing that should bode well in the future for this club.

  Michael Saunders went 2-3 at the plate, though he did get picked-off at first in what could be classified as a rookie mistake in the 5th inning. Outside of that the offense was its usual sleepy self. Not sure who has the worse approach at the plate, Gutierrez who loves to look at first pitch meat-balls, or Lopez who always looks like he is guessing no matter what the count. Casey Kotchman was put in as the DH tonight and went 0-4. Not sure if that means Milton Bradley is being given a time-out or what. Apparently Russell Branyan stubbed his toe in a hotel over the All-Star break in another bizarre Mariner development.

  Looking ahead at the schedule we have two more with the Angels, a series with the red-hot White Sox, then the Red Sox, and another Series with the White Sox. The month of July could be brutal indeed for our hapless sailors as we trudge towards Seafair week. There was a time when Seattle had no major league teams and the Gold Cup Hydro races on Lake Washington was the major sporting event of the year around here. This year it looks like it will be a nice distraction from this extended spring training….http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners bullpen blows-up again, Royals wins 6-4

  The Seattle Mariners lost the first game of a three-game series to the visiting Kansas City Royals by a score of 6-4 in 10 innings. Felix Hernandez got the start tonight and pitched well enough to hold the Royals to just 2 runs on 6 hits before handing the ball over to the shaky Mariners bullpen. Brian Bannister son of former Mariners pitcher Floyd Bannister went 7 innings, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits including a 2-run home run to Russell Branyan in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Royals came into the game leading the Major Leagues in hitting with a respectable .282 team batting average. Not a team known for their power the Royals will however put the ball in play and tonight they collected 14 hits. The Mariners managed to get 8 hits tonight but could not get one when in counted late in the game, and are now 1-8 in extra-innings this year.

     Today was the official beginning of the second-half of the season giving one hope that things were going to be different. However the Mariners put together another classic 2010 choke in their usual style. It started off in the 8th inning when Brandon League came into protect a 2-run lead, but instead surrendered a couple of runs on 4 hits before getting yanked for Garrett Olson. Olson could not close the deal either and finally it was Brian Sweeney who was brought in to close-out the frame with the game tied at four. As if that wasn’t bad enough the Mariners managed to once again strand a runner at third with no outs in a tight game. In this case it was Russell Branyon who walked to start the inning and then was moved around to third on a double by Jose Lopez. Franklin Gutierrez then went down on strikes followed by an intentional walk to Casey Kotchman to load the bases with only one down. Milton Bradley was brought in to pinch-hit for Rob Johnson and he also was fanned leaving it up to Jack Wilson who hit a weak pop-up too short to end the inning. We have seen this routine many times this year the last time was against the Cubs, where once again Felix was denied a victory by this sort of choke late in the game and probably is the reason he did not make the All-Star team.

    David Aardsma pitched in the ninth with the game tied at 4. I am not sure what was going through Don Wakamatsu’s mind when he decided to go with League in the 8th even though he had Sweeney warmed up and pitching well lately. Also generally teams save their closer till they have a lead to protect, but just like in the Cubs game he brought in Aardsma to pitch in a tie-game rather than saving him. In tonight’s game Don Wakamatsu was forced to use Chad Cordero in the 10th inning and that move proved to be another disaster as the  two ex-Mariners Scott Podsednik and Betancourt each drove-in runs to put the Royals up 6-4. The Mariners did get a couple of runners aboard but once again could not get the big hit to win the game

   I really have to question the way Wakamatsu handled his relievers tonight. The roles seem interchangeable with no real set-up man or closer, but rather a sort of committee that is picked at random. If David Aardsma has lost his job as closer, then Wak needs to say that. This business of juggling guys around is not good for the moral in the pen or the win-loss column. Granted there is no excuses for leaving runners stranded at third with less than two-outs in close games like this team has done so many times this year. If the saber metrics crowd is looking for a new statistic to measure futility this would certainly be one where the Mariners led the league. The Royals are still playing like a team that is in contention coming in to tonight’s game only 8 back in the AL Central. The Mariners on the other-hand had a chance to pick-up some ground tonight as Texas lost, but instead will stay at 14 back in the AL West with this dismal performance. I was planning on heading down to the Safe tomorrow to watch Eric Bedard make his long-awaited first start but he is apparently suffering from another mystery sore shoulder issue. Bedard seems to be another Mariner who has the fine art of disappointing Mariners fans down to a science. Http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners crush Yankees again 7-0!

Lee and Hernandez a pair of Aces

    The Seattle Mariners shutout the New York Yankees 7-0 in front of 46,309 stunned fans in the Bronx. Felix Hernandez used his wicked slider mixed in with his lively fastball to blank the Yankees giving up only 2 hits en route to his third complete-game of the year. Hernandez kept the AL East leading Yankees big bats silent for the second night in a row, following Cliff Lee’s similar performance in the first game of the three game series. Hernandez who had some rough outings earlier in the year is definitely hitting his stride in the month of June delivering perhaps his best showing of the 2010 campaign.

  The Mariners offense was back on track for the second night in a row as well giving King Felix a seven run cushion to work with. In a role reversal of sorts the Mariners came up with 4 long-balls tonight, including 2 from young Michael Saunders and one each from Milton Bradley and Russell Branyon. Bradley delivered the first bomb in the top of the second inning to set the tone for the surging Mariners who moved to 33-44 on the year with tonight’s sweet victory. In the next inning Michael Saunders came up with his first homer followed by an RBI single off the bat of Jose Lopez who is quietly finding his stroke, making it 3-0. Hernandez cruised through the middle innings toying with the powerful Bronx Bombers continuing to add to his strikeout total which would eventually reach 11.

  In the top of the 7th after Chone Figgins singled and stole second, Russell “The Muscle” Branyon blasted his first home run since returning to the Mariners and suddenly the Mariners were up 5-0. It was nice to see the burly Branyon hit his 11th homer of the year in only his second game back to help silence the critics who second guessed this move. But the night was not yet quite over for the Mariners offense as Michael Saunders went on to add another two-run blast in the eighth inning. Hitting two homers in one night at Yankee stadium will go a long way in boosting the confidence level for youngster from B.C.

   This past few weeks have felt like a new season for the Mariners, and for the last two nights the Mariners bats have given the run support to their Aces that hasn’t been there for most of the season. We still have eleven games to go before the All-Star break and it’s entirely feasible that our boys could pass-up the Oakland A’s in the standings before the second-half of the season starts. But for now it is one game at a time, starting with tomorrow mornings final of this series with C.C. Sabathia going against Ryan Rowland-Smith. You can bet the Yankees have had enough of losing to the upstarts from Seattle, Ryan Rowland-Smith will need to continue to pitch as well as he has done lately to give the Mariners a sweep in the Bronx.

    Meanwhile the Cliff Lee saga drags on one more day with the contenders posturing in the press with rumors, in an effort to try to see if they can get the Mariners to settle for prospects. The Mariners have let it be known through channels that we are looking for a Major League- ready middle of the order bat. I applaud Jack Zduriencik for playing his cards close to his chest, holding out for what we need. In reality if we can keep playing winning ball a good case can be made for keeping Cliff Lee. More will be revealed as the summer sun grows warmer……..http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners keep hope alive with 5-1 win

Ichiro Fans going crazy after homer June 19,Safeco Field

    The Seattle Mariners beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 tonight behind the pitching of Felix Hernandez who went all the way, and home runs from Ichiro and Michael Saunders. The surprising Reds who have been at or near the top of the NL central all year were held to 5 hits and struck-out 9 times tonight as they slipped to 1 ½ games out of first. For the Mariners it was their third win in a row and the first time all month they have scored more than four runs in a game. Tonight was singles night at Safeco and the crowd became more festive as the night wore on. It has been awhile since the Mariners faithful have given themselves permission to let go and have some fun, like the young fans in the photo that went wild when Ichiro hit a solo-shot in the bottom of third.

   Meanwhile Felix Hernandez for the second outing in a row showed the swagger that he displayed last year allowing the Mariners offense time to come to life. The Reds starter Sam LeCure dropped to 1-4 though he pitched well outside of the long-ball that Ichiro hit in the third, until the Mariners came to life in the sixth inning. Jose Lopez opened up the bottom of the 6th with a single to center followed by a double off the bat of Franklin Gutierrez to give the Mariner runners at second and third with no outs, and the game knotted at 1-1. For a minute it looked like once again the M’s were going to come up empty-handed as Josh “Paper boy” Wilson failed to deliver and instead lined out to first. Casey Kotchman was then intentionally walked as the Reds tried to get out of the inning with a double play. Rob Johnson was able to put the Mariners up by a run with a sacrifice fly to center, and you could sense the relief in the crowd after so many disappointing bases loaded situations this year.

   With two runners aboard the tall lanky kid from Canada with two down and two men aboard, proceeded to slam a three-run homer to right which sent the fans into a frenzy as finally someone had delivered a clutch home run. Felix Hernandez went into overdrive after being given a 4-run lead and for the second night in a row the Mariners starter went the distance. Chone Figgins also had a big night and went 3-4 hitting the ball hard as well as covering a lot of ground at second.

   In addition to the young Michael Saunderish looking guys with Ichiro spelt  on their chests I saw a group of older Japanese fans out in right field who were whooping it up tonight as well. A couple of the older Japanese gentlemen came over at one point in the game to shake hands and take photos of the “Ichiro Boys”. It was fun out in the right-field corner tonight on singles night. I didn’t meet the woman of my dreams but I had fun and even felt that elusive home-town pride in our ballclub. Jack Z. stated he was not going to make any decisions on trades till after the games with the Cubs and Reds. So for one more night the flickering flame of hope is still alive, and if we can keep rolling we may not need to replace that flame with a fire-sale next month.http://jeffsmariners.com

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