Mariners lose 7-6 to Angels

    The Mariners got a moral victory tonight (doesn’t count I know) in their game with the Angels by at least battling back from a 6-1 deficit to tie it up before going on to lose 7-6. Ryan RowlandSmith got slammed for 6 runs and 8 hits in another ugly outing for him. Joe Saunders went 6 innings tonight for the halos giving up 5 runs and 10 hits to the Mariners who have lost three games in a row since the break. One has to wonder how long manager Don Wakamatsu will keep sending Rowland-Smith out to the mound after this latest showing by the kid from down-under.

  Tonight was another great night for Justin Smoak who went 3-4 including another home run in the sixth. Smoak had an opportunity to tie the game in the top of the 8th with Lopez on third but couldn’t pick-up his fourth hit to bring in Lopez. Either way I’m starting to like this kid Smoak who now has 10 homers on the year and looks comfortable at the plate. Josh Bard knocked one out of the park himself to tie the game in the 7th, and for a minute it looked like we would finish the comeback victory. But unfortunately Brian Sweeney gave-up a homer to Juan Riviera in the bottom half of the 7th to put the Angels up 7-6 which was the final tally.

  Chris Seddon recently called-up from Tacoma, looked sharp in relief pitching out of a jam in the fourth and eventually going an inning and 2/3 of scoreless relief. I would like to see this youngster get a shot at Rowland-Smith’s spot in the rotation since it seems we are basically holding try-outs for next year at this point. One guy who really should be concerned about his job, is manager Don Wakamatsu as he continues to make questionable decisions. In this case in the top of the 9th after Langerhans received a lead-off walk in a 1-run game, Wakamatsu chose to have Josh Bard swing-away rather than lay down a bunt. Although Bard had hit a home run earlier, he was unable to advance the runner and instead hit into a double-play. This was a poor decision by the manager and adds to his list of questionable calls this year.

  So the Mariners have a chance to avoid the sweep in a day game tomorrow before heading home to face the White Sox. This game did not feel so bad as by now most of us are pretty numb. Not sure how or why I’m still managing to make the time to watch the Mariners games at this point in the year with the summer weather here, but I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading!

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.

And the Beat goes on….A’s Beat M’s 8-4

Ryan RowlandSmith is lost at Sea. Tonight Smith was slammed for 7 earned runs in the first 3 innings in front of 10,051 A’s fans down at the Oakland Coliseum . Gio Gonzalez picked up the win for the A’s who snapped a 5-game losing streak winning this one 8-4. The Mariners did score a run in the top of the first when Jose Lopez knocked in Franklin Gutierrez who has quietly slipped to below .300 after his hot start. Matt Tuiasosopo managed to hit one out of the park in the 4th. And Lopez did pick up a total of 3 RBI’s on the night. Other than that tonight’s story is what will happen to Ryan Rowland-Smith who is out of options and will probably swap out with Ian Snell in the rotation.

  Luke French and Steven Shell are both looking good in Tacoma, but I think rather than losing Smith the Mariners will try to use him in the pen for awhile. Mike Sweeney sat out again tonight with a sore back, and Josh Bard got the start t behind the plate. Despite our troubles tonight, it is apparent that starting pitching is not our problem. And to be honest I don’t have the energy to re-hash all of our problems this season, as it seems to be a moving target with a wide array of leaks in our hull.

  So I want to close this post by thanking all of you who have been following my ExpansionBlog this year and hope that the first quarter of the season will be the worst and we just get better from here.

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