Mariners beat Yankees 7-4

 

The Seattle Mariners won the first game of a three game series against the New York Yankees 7-4 tonight. The Mariners who are currently in last place in the AL West came into the Bronx as definite underdogs to the storied Yankees who currently sit on top of the competitive AL East. Cliff Lee got the start tonight against young Phil Hughes in front of 45,780 fans who produced a dull roar in the background tonight as the Mariners managed to have one of their best nights offensively of the season. Lee did not have his best stuff tonight as was evident early in the game where Cliff Lee started out several Yankees batters with a ball instead of his normal 0-1 count. Cliff Lee who is on everyone’s mind with the trade deadline approaching proved he was human tonight giving up a walk for the first time in 38 innings, as well as allowing 3 earned runs including two homers to Nick Swisher. Lee who was interviewed after the game tipped his hand regarding his desire to play for a winning team when he said “It is fun playing in front of a knowledgeable fan base that doesn’t need a tele-prompter to know when to cheer”. Well Cliff try sitting in the stands with them for 25 years! You do deserve to play on a winning team in the limelight and the Mets apparently want you. But hey can you just stick around for a few more starts to make things more interesting for those of us who do love the game and the way you do your job?
   Offensively the Mariners looked aggressive most of the night with the exception of a couple of base running gaffes early in the game that didn’t cost us anything but looked a bit bush-league. Russel Branyon was in the lineup tonight and though he didn’t do anything spectacular he did get a hit along with everyone else on the team tonight which is the first time I remember that happening all season. Franklin Gutierrez provided the only home run for the Mariners in the top of the fourth; otherwise it was a team effort in getting runs scored. Rob Johnson had a pair of doubles tonight and narrowly missed a third in his last at-bat, nice to see him produce. Another guy who produced was Jack Wilson who knocked in a couple of runs with a two-out single in the 6th inning. Wilson has come back from his injury playing good defense and has boosted his average up to .273 which is third on the club.
  The Mariners managed to keep the crowd subdued for most of this game until the bottom of the ninth when the Yankees put a little rally together. After Posada doubled in Robinson Cano making it 7-4 with one-out the energy in Yankee stadium changed as the fans smelled blood. However after a quick visit to the mound by Rick Adair, Lee settled down and got the final two outs sending the fans home shaking their heads wondering who those guys from Seattle were. Well to be honest it felt like a different team to me tonight as well and I believe the addition of a genuine power-hitter batting third made a difference. We shall see as this season moves along as the pressure is not only off the other hitters to be who they are not, but in all reality the pressure is off the whole team when you are in last place at the moment. Hopefully our team can play looser, have fun and win some more games like they did tonight. http://jeffsmariners.com

Cubs edge Mariners 3-2 in 13 innings

Lou Piniella arguing once last call at Safeco field in 10th

 

The Chicago Cubs halted the Seattle Mariners  winning streak at six, winning 3-2 in a 13 inning thriller in front of 41,329 fans at Safeco field. This game had a little of everything today with the exception of a key clutch hit by the Mariners who had plenty of chances to complete the sweep. Felix Hernandez went 9 full innings, holding the Cubs to 2 runs before handing the ball off to our semi-shaky bullpen. Cubs starter Ted Lilly went six innings and only gave up one run in the 4th inning in what was to prove to be the start of innings today where the Mariners had chances to score more runs but choked. After Figgins came in on the RBI double by Mike Sweeney, Lopez hit a single to right but Lee Tinsley held up Sweeney at third where he would eventually die at. Both Gutierrez and Josh Wilson who got the start at first both fanned and Rob Johnson grounded out weakly to end the threat. I had a hunch right then it was going to be one of those days. 

  Today’s infield featured the double-Wilson look and Jack Wilson made several great plays at short and had 3 hits on the day. Josh Wilson on the other hand looked a little out-of-place at first and had a throwing error there. More importantly the Paper Boy had more than one chance to deliver at the plate, though he did score a run in the 7th after reaching base on an odd squibber to first and eventually was driven home off the bat of a Jack Wilson double. This game was tense the whole way and the noisy Cubs fans seemed to be riding on every pitch as most of our fans cheered their boys on in a more passive NW style. The loudest reception from the Cubs fans was reserved for Milton Bradley who came in to pinch-hit in the 9th. Bradley did manage to get a walk and was moved to second on a single by Jack Wilson. But once again the clutch-hit was nowhere to be found as Michael Saunders struck out and Ichiro grounded out leaving the winning run at second. 

   Once again in the bottom of the 10th the Mariners had a golden opportunity to score the winning run but failed to produce. In this case both Figgins and Sweeney walked to lead-off the inning followed by a Jose Lopez strike out. With Gutierrez at the plate the Mariners pulled of a double steal that brought Lou Piniella charging out of the dugout to argue the call. This was a critical juncture in the game and the play was indeed close from my point of view. It was a beautiful sight to see old Sweet Lou out there giving the third base umpire hell. Indeed it was probably the only time both the Mariners and Cubs fans were cheering together. I took the above photo of Lou knowing it may be the last time I ever see him in action so I apologize for the poor shot but I had to capture his spirit one more time. 

    After Lou settled down Gutierrez received a free-pass to load the bases with only one out. But on a day where it just wasn’t meant to be-both Josh Wilson and Alfonso went down on strikes. Brandon League came into pitch the 11th and 12th and kept us in this one with a marvelous outing, including striking out the side in the 12th. I am not sure why Wakamatsu didn’t leave him out to pitch the 13th, and indeed it proved fatal as Garret Olson and Sean White allowed the Cubs to score the go-ahead run on a single by Byrd scoring Soriano from second on a poor throw by Ichiro. The Mariners did get a runner on in the bottom half of the 13th on a Jack Wilson single, however he died there as Michael Saunders completed his 0-6 day with a final strike out to end the game. 

   So the streak is over after this long but interesting game and now it is on the road again starting with a series against the Brewers. Today’s game was the real deal and though we did not prevail it has been a great series with the Cubs that we won 2-1. I imagine the trade talks will really heat-up now especially with Eric Bedard coming back soon. We still have a lot of baseball ahead of us and as today’s game proved it aint over till the fat lady sings. http://jeffsmariners.com

Slow News Day for Mariners

Yesterday I took a nasty tumble at second base while I was playing softball,  after I shook it off the first thing that came to my mind was I’m to old at 52 to be playing shortstop. Jack Wilson is 20 years younger and he is thinking the same thing, Ken Griffey is 40 and looking at the end, and Milton Bradley is taking a deeper look at life himself for perhaps the first time. Americans have always loved to compete, and we seem to derive a little to much of our identity based on what we do for a living in comparison to other people around the world. You could make the case that our will to win is what made this country great. But at what cost to ourselves, our planet, and those we care about do we need to keep pushing the envelope?

  In my case it is a no-brainer, this will be my last season. Jack Wilson sounds like he is ready to give it up. Ken Griffey will probably finish the year in some capacity. And perhaps Milton Bradley has hit some sort of bottom spiritually and emotionally and may surprise us all by evolving into a more well-rounded human being. Of course no one much cares about my baseball career, but it is a slow news day and I thought I would break things up with a feel-good story.

  Baseball is a bit different from most sports with all the history, metaphors, and parallels to real life. When I look through my scrap-book of old players that my grandfather GordonDusty”  Rhodes played with in the majors, and look at the faces, I see people like us in their timeless poses. Somehow when I put on my cleats or head down to the Safe I get lost in to a time-warp. For the players who are actually in the dug-outs it must be even more surreal and difficult to let go of. Chone Figgins must somehow still be holding on to his confidence, Griffey to his faith in his swing, Rob Johnson to the time when he was a top prospect. In reality it is our higher nature that has to intercede and tell us when it is time to move-on, if we listen. If not the game of baseball can be a cruel Mistress indeed. http://jeffsmariners.com

Padres pound Mariners 8-1

The San Diego Padres beat the Mariners today 8-1 and won the rubber-match of the series behind the pitching of Matt Latos. Felix Hernandez got the start for the Mariners and held the first-place Padres to three runs through 7 frames. But once again the M’s Bullpen imploded and gave up 5 runs in the top of the 8th. Skipper Don Wakamatsu started Mike Sweeney at first and Matt Tuiasosopo at third in attempt to shake things up. Both Tui and Sweeney got hits and fielded well, but it wasn’t enough to get things moving. Chone Figgins continues to struggle and now has 41 strikeouts this year.

 Josh Wilson continues to play well at shortstop, as Jack Wilson appears to have a questionable future as he revealed in interviews yesterday. Ryan Rowland-Smith came in to pitch the top of the 9th in a mop-up role as the bullpen keeps revolving and morphing into I’m not sure what. On a positive note the Texas Rangers lost again so we remain 8 1/2  games back.

 This series opened with a bang and ended with a thud. Tomorrow is an off day for the club before the Detroit Tigers come to town for a 2-game series. I have enjoyed the recent comments from friends and family on here as well as the loyal followers of our team. Of course I have received a few abusive comments particularly when I stick-up for the veterans Mike Sweeney and Ken Griffey. For the record this is a Mariners Fan Blog, I do not claim to be impartial I am a die-hard Fan. Anyway I hope to hear from more of you as we trudge the road of the 2010 season still keeping the faith. http://jeffsmariners.com

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