Snell gone, Mariners woes continue losing 4-2

  The St. Louis Cardinals used five pitchers, including newly returned starter Jeff Suppan to beat the Mariners 4-2 at  Busch Stadium tonight in front of 40,269 fans. The Mariners started out with Ryan Rowland-Smith tonight, and the big  Aussie looked a little better than usual in his four innings of work giving up 3 runs including a two-run bomb to Colby Ramus. This kid  Rasmus is the kind of player I’d like to see us get in exchange for Cliff Lee, he is 23 years old, hits for power with 13 dingers on the year, and seems to be confident. Of course the Cardinals who are rumored to be in the hunt for Lee will probably hang on to this budding star, but I wanted to use him as an example.

   The Cardinals in general are a well-balanced club with some depth at the major league level including newly acquired ex-Mariner Randy Winn who came in to pinch-hit late in the game. Of course their star Albert Pujols is the glue that holds this club together and he delivered a solo home run off  Shawn Kelley in the 5th to put this one away. Not that the Mariners didn’t have chances to score tonight. As a matter of fact they stranded 9 runners including two bases loaded situations, one in the first and one in the 5th, each time the Paper-boy Josh Wilson failed to deliver the clutch hit.

   The Mariners did manage to lift a couple of balls out of Busch stadium tonight, one by Milton Bradley in the 4th and the other a pinch-hit homer off the bat of Ryan Langerhans off another ex-Mariner Ryan Franklin in the 9th. Also on a positive note I did notice that several Mariners were more aggressive at the plate tonight going after first pitch strikes and though it didn’t produce a victory I hope in the long run this approach will help our club.

   The Mariners made a long overdue move today designating for assignment Ian Snell and bringing up 36-year-old Brian Sweeney from Tacoma. Maybe Snell will get picked up by another club who will be able to turn him around, as Lord knows the Mariners gave him every possible chance, and then some. All and all this was not a terrible game, our boys just couldn’t get the clutch hit tonight, and with a solid club like St. Louis you need to take advantage of scoring opportunities or the Cards will prevail. So it is one more game against the Cards before coming home for the weekend to face more NL teams starting with the Reds on friday who are in a tight race with the Cardinals in the NL Central.http://jeffsmariners.com

Snell finished, Mariners reverting back to 80s farmclub?

Ian Snell got handed an early 2-0 in the first inning  against the first place Texas Rangers and then went on to pitch himself and the Mariners into a 8-2 hole before being pulled in the second. The Rangers went on to win this one 12-2 as the Mariners sank to 9 games back in the AL West with no relief in sight. We did get to see Luke French for five innings tonight, and though he gave up 4 runs he was nowhere near as painful to watch as the former Pirate Ian Snell. The Rangers finished the night with 15 hits including a couple of home runs against a team that has lost its way.

   Outside of the” Paper Boy” Josh Wilson who had a couple of hits, the Mariners lineup was futile. It was absurd to have to listen to Mike Blowers and Dave Sims once again give a running tally every inning on the Rangers pitch-count as if at some magic moment the score disappears and the only thing that matters is how many pitches are thrown by the opposing teams starter. To his credit Dave Niehaus reminded everyone that the Texas Rangers philosophy does not adhere to this pitch-count magic like the Mariners. This of course falls into one of those “Belief System” things that seem so important to Don Wakamatsu and apparently the hired hands at FSN. I’m sick of it, how about sending our guys up to the plate with a quick briefing on what to expect then giving them the green light to swing at the first pitch if it is a meatball?

   Somehow this “Belief System” stuff has gotten so strong that the Mariners field operations generals not only believe their own BS  but they think the other teams will believe it too. So for instance if our guys get told to make the pitcher throw a lot of pitches so we can magically win, then the opposing team won’t swing at first pitch strikes and blast the ball all over the park because we do it the right way….NOT. As Ian Snell proved tonight you can give-up 8 runs on less than 45 pitches in no time at all!

   Anyway this year is starting to look like the 80’s in the Kingdome with Gormon Thomas, Rey Quinones, Spike Owen, Mickey Brantley, Bob” Sarge” Kearney etc. Only back then we had not tasted victory yet and thus we were ok with being the farm club for the rest of the Major Leagues. It was part of our “Belief System” so to speak that we sucked, but at least we could watch other good teams come to town. This year we had all the hype, so much in fact that I decided to go to Spring training, learn all this blogging technical stuff and start an Expansion Blog!  And now we still have over 100 games to go and our ship is marooned in futility with the only real excitement revolving around who we get for Cliff Lee!

    Well Hiroshi Yamauchi if you happen to be reading this blog {it’s possible!} could you please take a trip over here and see for yourself what is happening. Don’t rely on that fork-tongued Howard Lincoln or that shifty Chuck  Armstrong as they don’t know anything about baseball unless it has to do with bobble-head promos. Mr. Yamauchi I know you transferred  ownership to NOA a few years back, and you are getting old, but you are our last shot….. could you possibly see fit to fire a few people and maybe pull out a little of your cash and buy us a few new players that want to win? I’m going to sign out for now as I can sense this post is deteriorating fast and I need to brush-up on my soccer lingo before the World Cup so I don’t sound like an angry, ignorant American when I meet Mr. Yamauchi for a power lunch in Ballard……http://jeffsmariners.com

Matsui leads Angels over Mariners 7-1

 Hideki Matsui connected for three hits tonight including a 2-run homer in the second inning against Mariners starter Ian Snell as the Angels took the first game of this weekend series. Matsui who came over from the Yankees was matched hit for hit by Ichiro, unfortunately Ichiro had two of his hits negated by Chone Figgins who doubled up  Ichiro in both the first and third innings. Joe Saunders who started for the Angels was able to pitch out of several jams early on in this one and now goes to 4-6 on the year.The Angels went on to score 7 runs on the night, and the Mariners  only managed to  put up 1 run in the fifth inning on an otherwise quiet night for the offense.

  The Mariners starting rotation has been strong this year with the exception of the fifth starter. Ian Snell is now 0-4 on the year and appears to get rattled easily with runners on base in addition to other issues that do not seem to be working themselves out. However the skipper Don Wakamatsu on the radio tonight in the post-game interview sounds like he has had enough. It was a bit disturbing to hear the manager talking about Snell’s problem with throwing strikes and the slow tempo of the games he pitches, then Snell coming on the air and basically dismissing his own manager. Snell is obviously on his way to being dismissed and will hopefully be replaced by Luke French who is 6-2 with a 1.93 ERA  for AAA Tacoma.

   Wakamatsu on the other hand seems to have some issues of his own as far as being able to be direct with his players as far as what is expected of them. The reports coming in that he and Griffey did not speak for the last week of Griffey’s stay with the team is another example of poor communication, though Griffey I’m sure had a part in some of that situation. It appears that Wak is always thinking which is good, but not good if the players are not sure of their role with the team and what is expected of them at any given time. The catcher situation is another example of the guessing game that is going on as far as who will end up as the starting catcher. This is not good for team morale and at some point a decision has to be made even if it ends up to be Rob Johnson the clear favorite of Wakamatsu despite the fact that all three of the other catchers have performed better this year.

  This is a big series and unfortunately Doug Fister will be out tomorrow due to a sore shoulder, instead Ryan Rowland-Smith will get the call. It would be a perfect time to bring up Luke French, but Smith seems to be another project that somehow keeps hanging around for no apparent reason. In addition to sending  my daily posts to the Seattle PI, I have been picked up by the folks over at Mariners Mayhem part of the Bloguin network, and wanted to thank them and remind my readers to go over  and check out all the great things going on at that Blog at www.marinersmayhem.com  .http://jeffsmariners.com

Angels walk all over Mariners Bullpen 9-7

With the exception of the female species, nothing in my life has given me more joy or frustration than the game of baseball. Just like the never-ending winter this year, the Mariners continue to find ways to cast gloom over the Puget Sound. Todays 9-7 loss was a meltdown, but in comparison to the nightmare going on in the Gulf of  Mexico our leaky bullpen is just a nuisance,  but oh so hard to watch.Ian Snell started out today with his usual shaky outing and left the game in the 5th with a 7-2 lead. Snell has not won a game since last year and set the tone by giving up 4 walks in this game.

Yes you read it right, Snell left with a 7-2 lead in the 5th thanks mostly to the new catcher Eliezar Alfonso who had 3 hits today including a 3-run homer in the fourth off of Angels starter Joe Saunders. Josh Wilson and Figgins also had a couple of hits today as part of the Mariners 13-hit attack. The Mariners offense however fizzled late in the game when they had opportunities to add-on.

 But todays game was lost by the leaky Mariners bullpen plain and simple. Jesus Colome started things off by giving up a couple of walks in the 5th including a bases loaded walk that forced in a run. Texeira came in next and walked in a run himself before getting yanked for Shawn Kelley. Kelley pitched decent despite having a run score on a catcher’s interference to Matsui making it 7-5 in the sixth. In the 7th the Angels picked up another run off Kelley to make it 7-6 with a home-run by Kendrick, just out of the reach of Gutierrez who climbed the fence in a good effort.

 The Mariners escaped the 8th inning unscathed, thanks to a great play by Josh Wilson who threw out Aybar going to second on a rare slap-bunt single. By the time we reached the 9th inning my gut told me the struggling  Aardsma was going to choke like his other drunken sailor shipmates from the bullpen. And sure enough for the second day in a row the Angels hit a walk off homer, this time it was Howie Kendrick connecting for his second home run of the day and rounding the bases to a much mellower reception at home after the injury to Morales yesterday.

  Once again our boys had a chance to win a series and stay alive after Oakland lost earlier. One can only hope after this meltdown that the Mariners bring up at least Luke French to use either as a starter or in the pen. I can’t see Snell remaining in the rotation nor Colome in the pen. Aardsma,League and Texiara all seem to be shaky as well leaving us in a real jam as far as the relief staff goes. I was planning on going to the game tomorrow for my birthday but think I will head to the folk life festival instead and try to get some distance from this dysfunctional team. I’ll tell you one thing I’m going to need a relationship counselor to make it through this season with the Mariners if things keep going this way! http://jeffsmariners.com

Padres edge Mariners 2-1

The San Diego Padres managed to squeak by the Mariners tonight in a classic Pitchers duel. The Padres starter Clayton Richard went 7 full innings, and had the edge on Mariners starter Ian Snell who pitched 5 innings giving up 1 run on 5 hits. The one run Snell gave up came at the hands of 42 year-old veteran Matt Stairs in the 4th. Stairs who is best remembered for his dramatic home-run for the Phillies against the Dodgers in game four of the 2008 play-offs, crushed home-run # 260 to right field with his patent full swing.

 Ian Snell pitched well and got out of several jams early in the game. Kanekoa Texeira gave up the other run in the 6th inning on a breaking ball in the dirt that allowed Headley to score from third on a wild pitch. Offensively for the Mariners they had runners on first and third with one out in the first but could not get the sac-fly or base hit needed from either Sweeney or the slumping Lopez. Mike Sweeney did manage to drive in our only run in the 6th with a two-out single and had a 0ne-out double in the 9th to continue his hot hitting. The Mariners once again had runners at the corners with one-out in the bottom of the 9th, before Milton Bradley fanned and Casey Kotchman grounded out with Ken Griffey on deck, to end this tight match-up of West Coast teams.

 With the win the Padres managed to stay tied for first in the NL West, and the Mariners stay 8 1/2 back of  Texas who lost to the Cubs today in Interleague play. 28,670 were on hand tonight and they were treated to the complete opposite of  the slugfest on Friday with this low-scoring affair. The series is now even at 1-1 and I like our chances of winning this series when Felix Hernandez takes the mound for the Mariners in the rubber-game tomorrow afternoon. http://jeffsmariners.com

Grinch steals win from Greinke 3-2 Mariners

Ian Snell battled the Royals tonight at Kauffman Field in Kansas City against last years Cy Young winner Zach Greinke. Snell who could very well have been pitching for a chance to stay in the rotation, was in trouble right away but somehow pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the 1st without giving up a run.Zach Greinke on the other hand sailed smoothly along thru 7 without allowing a run. Fortunately for the Mariners the Royals bullpen has been rocked all year and tonight’s 3-2 Mariners come from behind win only added to their woes.

Milton Bradley had a nice game with two hits and also picked up the go-ahead RBI on a bases loaded walk in the 8th. Milton also had an ongoing back and forth with the Fans in Kansas City which can only be classified as bizarre. Milton seems to enjoy this sort of banter, hat tipping, fake ball throwing to the stands sort of behavior. Fortunately the Royals fans, true to their wholesome Midwest roots were a little more good-natured than the Texas or Oakland fans. Either way this is certainly going to be interesting to watch and as long as he produces, who cares its entertaining though somewhat Bush league.

The Mariners managed to get 10 hits and showed just enough spunk to snap a 4-game losing streak despite the brilliant performance of Greinke. Believe it or not we are only 1 game under 500 and 2 games behind the Oakland A’s who currently are in first in the wide open West Division. Tomorrow we face former Mariner  Gil Meche with a chance to win the series and come home at 500 with Cliff Lee making his Mariners debut against the Texas Rangers down at the Safe. Is it just me or has this season been an emotional roller-coaster so far? By the way I want to welcome the Mariners fans in Japan who are now reading the translated version of my Blog, Feel free to comment as we all speak the same language : Baseball! http://jeffsmariners.com

Cliff Lee,Zach Greinke,Milton Bradley,Ichiro,Ian Snell,Kauffman Stadium,Baseball

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