Mariners kick-off Seafair weekend with 7-1 win

   The Seattle Mariners started the Seafair weekend out with a nice well-rounded effort tonight, beating the visiting Kansas City Royals 7-1 in front of 20,411 fans at Safeco Field. Tonight’s game showed a glimmer of hope for the rest of the way against the Royals who have faded out of the race as well. Last year’s Cy-Young winner Zach Greinke, got the start tonight for the Royals and has owned the Mariners for the last couple of years. However tonight the Mariners seemed to have finally figured out that Greinke throws first-pitch strikes and instead of watching them go by they actually took some cuts and were rewarded. Ryan Langerhans who started in left for the injured Saunders went 3-4 including a homer, and each of his hits were a result of anticipating a first-pitch fastball and swinging. I know this sounds like a routine thing and actually at the Major League level good hitters seem to have a knack for anticipating the next pitch and unloading on it when it comes. Unfortunately it seems guys like Gutierrez and Lopez have not only been lacking in recognizing pitches coming out of the pitchers hand, but more importantly not being able to look for patterns and out-smart opposing pitchers. It was nice to see the veteran Langerhans leading by example tonight as far as anticipating pitches and perhaps it will wear-off on some of the regulars.

   Luke French got the start tonight and went 8 innings giving-up only the one run and pitched what I thought was his best game since coming over from Detroit last year in the Jarrod Washburn deal. French did not walk a man, and though the Royals had 9 hits tonight French was composed and once he got the ever elusive run support from his team, settled into a nice groove. Chone Figgins has quietly moved his average up to .251 with a couple of hits tonight and 3 RBI’s. It is also fair to note that Casey Kotchman who has been disappointing at the plate, turned in another great performance defensively tonight and has yet to commit an error this season. Tonight’s game was a relief after watching the Mariners lose 9 of their last 10 games.

   It was interesting to read earlier in the week about Zach Greinke and his statement that the Royals will not be ready to compete till 2012 after his contract is up. Basically Greinke is signaling that he wants to be traded to play with a contender. While I don’t blame him, it is still inappropriate to say it to the press while the season is still alive. I give credit to guys like Felix Hernandez and Ichiro who are both capable of starting anywhere, but keep their mouths shut and play the game. Our team has been through a lot this year and the players and their manager deserve a few more games like tonight, not to mention us fans!

   I’m looking forward to heading down to the Safe this weekend and hopefully we can build on tonight’s game and win a series at home to celebrate Seafair……http://jeffsmariners

Royals edge Mariners 3-2 with help from a lame fan

Fan interfering in play that cost the Cubs a World Series

 The Kansas City Royals squeaked by the Seattle Mariners 3-2, in a game that may have been lost by a Mariners Fan who interfered on a play in the 8th inning, denying the Mariners a possible tie game at the time. This game featured a little of everything including great starting pitching by both clubs. The Royals sent Zach Greinke last years Cy-Young winner to the mound tonight riding a streak of 29 scoreless innings pitched against the Mariners, and he pitched a gem. Greinke mixed his fastball with his great curve all-night, keeping the Mariners guessing and only allowed 1 run on 2 hits through 7 innings of work.

  Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched another solid game though he was charged with all three of the Royals runs. Rowland-Smith was in command of his pitches early on and pitched well enough to win, but instead will go to 1-8 on the year. The Mariners staked their starter with a run in the third on a perfectly executed squeeze-play by Jack Wilson who laid down a bunt to score Michael Saunders. The Mariners have tried the squeeze a few times without success before tonight including the botched effort by Eric Byrnes way back in April which led to the release of Byrnes. The Royals were kept scoreless until Wilson Betemit hit one out in the top of the fifth, Betemit would go on to have a big night driving in all three of the Royals runs. Rowland-Smith has a tendency to lose his composure with runners on base and tonight was no different. The big Aussie gave-up a double with one down in the sixth, then loaded the bases with a walk to Brian Butler followed by a pitch that grazed the foot of Jose Guillen, setting the stage for Betemit to drive-in another run.

    Sean White came in to the game with a runner on first in the top of the 8th and went on to do what Sean White will do, which is give-up runs in the late innings. Sean White has an ERA of over 7 and just when you try to forget about him he seems to show up like a reoccurring nightmare. For the second night in a row the camera showed Brian Sweeney warming up and I thought for sure he would get the call, but once again Wakamatsu went with one of his favorites.

  The bottom of the 8th was interesting to say the least as the Jack Wilson got on with a one out single that should have been an out. Ichiro came up and moved Wilson to second on a single to right setting the stage for Wilson to swipe third for his first stolen base of the year. Chone Figgins who has been clutch all season with runners on third and less than two-outs, drove in Wilson with a fly to left, making it a 3-2 game. Russell Branyan then drilled a ball right over the bag at first and as Ichiro was closing in on third and possibly coming in to score a fan reached down and grabbed the ball stopping play! This game may be the first loss of the year that can be blamed on a lame fan. Wakamatsu went out to try to argue that Ichiro would have scored were it not for faninterference, but the umpires didn’t go for it. The replay actually showed Ichiro was not at third when the fan touched the ball; it also appeared to me that Ichiro was not running full-speed on the crack of the bat which is just as disturbing. Either way Jose Lopez choked again hitting a weak grounder to third with runners on 2nd and 3rd with the game in the balance. For the second night in a row the Mariners did get something going in the 9th as Casey Kotchman singled through the same hole on the left side of the infield that he hit one through last night in the 10th. Unfortunately Michael Saunders followed and went down on strikes as did Ryan Langerhans  to end the game.

  On a positive note for the second night in a row Dave Sims was not on TV calling the game. I am not sure if he is on vacation or perhaps FSN has received enough complaints that Sims was sent down to AAA or wherever. Dave Sims is hard to listen to especially with his East Coast bias and his rambling irrelevant monologues. Maybe Dave Sims should just get a blog like me where he can ramble on without irritating so many people…..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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