Rays Sting Mariners 3-2

Tropicana Field home of the Rays

Willy Aybar lifted a home-run to right field off of Jesus Colome in the bottom of the 9th, delivering another crushing late-inning loss to the Mariners today at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. Jason Vargas dueled with Rays starter James Shields until he was lifted in the 8th for Brandon League. Once again Vargas was sharp and it appears Don Wakamatsu can’t come up with the right timing on when to pull a starter or a reliever.Perhaps he has been over-relying on statistical information rather than going with a gut-feeling. Anyway you look at it this game goes into the already overloaded category of tough-losses for the year.

The Mariners started out frisky in the 1st inning for the second game in a row, thanks to Chone Figgins who scored on a single he stretched into a double, followed by an overthrow on a pick-off attempt, and then a wild-pitch. I have said it before but want reiterate that I believe Figgins should be batting lead-off. He manufactured a run in the 1st on sheer hustle and daring. But I suppose there is some sort of “Belief System” thing that DonSpockWakamatsu has going with leaving Ichiro batting first. Ichiro is hot and had a couple more hits today, but I’d like to see him batting second or third where he could drive in some runs.

Incredibly Mike Sweeney hit a home-run today for his third day in a row and has filled in fine at DH as Ken Griffey watches from the bench for now. I would also like to Sweeney put on a glove and give him a game or two at first base to keep his bat in the lineup when Milton Bradley come back. Matt Tuiasosopo played first and looked awkward there and went hitless along with Saunders and Josh Wilson.

It appeared that the Mariners were going to pull this one out in the 9th when Adam Moore beat out an infield hit and Ichiro lashed a bullet to right , but Moore apparently had injured himself on the play at first and thus limped into second rather than making it to 3rd. The Mariners wasted this scoring opportunity and left the door open for the Rays to win the game in the bottom half of the 9th on Aybar’s fatal blow. Moore appears to be ok but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Josh Bard or  Eliezer Alfonzo get called up from Tacoma soon.

On a positive note both in this game and the last one in Baltimore though heart-breakers , our team showed guts and fighting spirit right up till the end. As a fan these games take the wind out of my sails for a few hours before I’m able to gather my thoughts and put up my daily post-game wrap-up. The players on the other-hand are a lot more involved, and somehow have to get over these sort of games in a professional manner and suit up again the next day ready to play. Our guys are playing with heart and I hope those of us who are true-fans can stay behind them for the rest of the campaign despite the ups and downs.http://jeffsmariners.com

Sweeney leads Mariners past Rays 4-3!

The Mariners unloaded for 3 home-runs for the second day in a row down at Tropicana field home of the Tampa Bay Rays. And for the second day in a row Mike Sweeney hit a long-ball.This one in the 8th  proved to be the difference in the game. Sweeney had 2 hits on the night as well as his first stolen base since 2006! Adam Moore also had two hits to night including a solo shot in the top of the 5th, helping to make   his case for winning the starting catchers job. Franklin Gutierrez started the power display with a 2-run blast in the first, scoring Ichiro who had 3-hits on the night.

  Doug Fister finally got enough run support to pick-up the win tonight and he pitched 5 innings before giving the ball up to Kanekoa Texeira who struck out the side in the 6th and held the  dangerous Rays from stinging the Mariners with any runs in the 7th either. Texeira unlike his fellow Hawaiian Brandon League, had the tade-winds at his back tonight and provided a bridge to Shawn Kelley and the closer Dutch Aardsma.

 The much maligned Sweeney in his post-game interview said he dedicated this game to his Brother at Arms Ken Griffey. I’m not sure sometimes what to make of  Sweeney ,  one minute he is the loyal Boy Scout and the next a street-brawler, but I love watching him play the game in his old-school style. I would love to see Adam Moore step-up and earn the catcher’s job as it seems Rob Johnson is still nursing last years injuries at times, and not too mobile behind the dish or at bat.

 Interesting to note that the Tampa Bay Rays have never won a game on May 14 in franchise history, and now move to 0-11 on this date. So perhaps there is still some luck in store for our team. I know King Neptune has tried our sailors this year, but tonight we had a well-rounded performance that helped quiet the recent storms. Mike Sweeney is the kind of guy I would like to have with me on a picket-line or when going ashore in a foreign Port. Perhaps character isn’t valued much in modern-day professional sports, but as a Mariner either at Sea or on the Baseball field character separates the winners from the losers in the long haul.http://jeffsmariners.com

Bradley Hits Bottom, Mariners sink 8-3

In the last 24 hours the main focus in the media including all of us in the blogosphere regarding the Mariners has been focused on Milton Bradley. Today Milton admitted he needed help in a meeting with Jack Z. and Wak  for emotional issues. Perhaps it is family, romantic, or addiction issues we don’t know. All I know is that if indeed he is sincere and realizes he can’t go on living the same way and wants help this blogger is in full support and hope he finds recovery from his demons.   Just like thousands of  others around the world  Milton may have reached a place of emotional and spiritual bankruptcy, he has taken the first step towards a new life and I wish him well.

As far as the game on the field, what can I say. Another decent pitching performance by our starter Cliff Lee who kept the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays in check till the top of the 8th when he gave up 3-runs, coupled with minimal run support. So the Mariners lost their 5th game in a row but still are only 3 games back in the AL West. Franklin Gutierrez gave us some hope in the 4th when he hit the first Mariners home-run in 76 innings to drive in Kotchman and give us a temporary lead. But the pesky Rays came right back to tie it in the bottom of the inning.

Lee who is only human was left out to pitch the 8th and Tampa added on 3 more there. We got a look at Josh Wilson who came in to fill in for Jack Wilson who left early with a hamstring injury. Josh  played well till he overthrew a ball to first trying to double-up the Rays.The Rays put up 3 more in the top of the 9th and the Mariners did get a run in the 9th but the final tally was 8-3 Rays. Tonight’s attendance was 14,627 and it is starting to feel like the old Kingdome days in the 80’s when you could hear every yell from a fan across the stadium.

For some reason a lot more of you have been stopping by to check-out my new “Expansion Blog” in the past few days, I appreciate that. I have tried to stay semi-positive and will continue to do so, however if you are looking for a place to spew venom about individual players including Milton Bradley this may not be the site for you.

I remember when I was a young sailor caught in what seemed like endless storms in the Gulf of Alaska and how I thought they would never end, but they always did. And this too shall pass. http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners Floundering at Sea lose 3-1

I played two softball games today, we lost them both. I couldn’t throw strikes and kept grounding out all day. I have an excuse I’m 51 and I pay to play. The Mariners are out of excuses. Doug Fister threw 8 innings of shut-out ball only to have David Aardsma and Mark Lowell give this one to the Texas Rangers today in extra innings. Our offense is basically non-existent and we havent had a home-run in over 60 innings.

At some point Don Wakamatsu has to take some responsibility as well. For instance why not let Fister stay in and finish this game? Is it the holy grail of the pitch count? Fister only had thrown 100 pitches and he wanted this one more than anyone today. Perhaps Aardsma was a fluke last year as his control since spring training has not been sharp when we needed him to be.

  This Division is up for grabs, but with the Tampa Bay Rays then the Angels coming in next something has to give. If it is too early to make a trade, lets call up one of the hungry players down in Tacoma and give them a shot. I have resisted getting on the dump Griffey bandwagon so far as I don’t think you can put all the blame on him and think he has  enough class to know when it is time to hang them up. However we may have to get rid of a starter or two to get a power bat or maybe even pick up Jermaine Dye.  Well Happy Mothers day and one to my Mom Suzanne who loved Baseball.http://jeffsmariners.com

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