Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 12, 2007 8:30 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
Would have liked to see the Mariners score some add-on runs in that eighth inning. At least one more would have been nice. But this Tigers team is a tough group. No gimmes for J.J. Putz in the ninth. Faces the top of the order, with Gary Sheffield hitting third.
Let's see how Putz reponds, post-All-Star Break. We'll find out in a hurry how his confidence is doing.
UMPIRE BLOWS CALL
I've heard of umpires having bad nights, but rarely have I seen a guy mess up as badly as Bruce Froemming just appeared to do twice at second base in that fifth inning. Froemming appeared to get it wrong twice in a span of seconds as he ruled that Tigers shortstop Carlos Guillen had failed to tag Adrian Beltre during a mad scamper that saw him make it from first to third after his two-run single to tie the game. Replays showed Guillen appear to tag Beltre at least twice after he dove at and then slid across second base. Three runs scored on the play to give Seattle a 3-2 lead.
Beltre made it all the way to third as Guillen threw up his arms in frustration, disbelieving that Froemming missed the tag call so many times. But then, before another pitch could be thrown, an appeal was made by the Tigers at second and Froemming ruled that Beltre had missed the bag and was indeed out. More arguments followed. A replay appeared to show that Beltre had touched the bag with his fingers before sliding on by it. In which case, he would have to be tagged to be out. Not 100 percent sure Froemming missed both calls. Maybe Beltre did miss the bag. But the bottom line is, Froemming was out of position on both of the calls. By several feet. I hope MLB is paying attention to what's going on. That's all I'll say about one of the game's very veteran umpires.
On the upside for the M's, all that tough work by Felix Hernandez paid off. Now a 3-2 lead for Seattle. If the Mariners hang on to win. it will be another big step forward for this team. This wasn't a playoff game, but an intense battle between two fierce competitors. And right now, the M's are leading in a game they easily could have been blown out of early. In my book, that's the storyline so far.
MARINERS IN TOUGH, TRAIL 2-0
Hi everyone, I thought I'd just move the game thread up here where you can see it. Didn't want to bury the Chuck Armstrong stuff too far down, but the game is moving along so I'll just post this up here now. So, it's the fifth inning and the M's trail the Detroit Tigers, 2-0. This is a tough, playoff caliber team the M's are facing tonight. Felix Hernandez has been hit hard at times, but has also battled to keep his team in it. Detroit nearly broke things open in the fourth when they put runners at the corners with none out. But Hernandez held firm, notching a soft lineout and two strikeouts. The second whiff job was against Curtis Granderson, who already singled and doubled off Hernandez in two previous at-bats.
So, a tough battle being waged by Hernandez tonight. He's already up at 81 pitches through five innings, so he might not go more than six.
Seattle has been unable to solve Tigers lefty Andrew Miller, despite a horde of fielding mistakes behind him that have caused him to throw numerous extra pitches. Two errors and a botched double-play, but the Mariners couldn't capitalize. That last error, a throwing miscue by Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez in the fourth, wound up in his getting ejected from the game.
Rodriguez argued vehemently that Yuniesky Betancourt was standing in his way at the plate as he tried to throw out Adrian Beltre on a steal attempt (Beltre had struck out, but reached on a wild pitch). At one point, Rodriguez appeared to bump plate umpire Mike Winters during the exchange and was tossed. He later had to be restrained by manager Jim Leyland and coaches from getting at Winters. Leyland later ordered Rodriguez to the clubhouse after he stood in the dugout yelling at Winters.
So, lots of fireworks. But none for the M's offensively, with just five hits to this point. Three of the hits have been singles by Jose Vidro, the latest one with one out in the fifth. Richie Sexson has already twice stranded a pair of runners, grounding into a fielder's choice with two on to end the first and striking out with two on to end the third.
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