Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
March 15, 2008 2:49 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
Getting ready for today's 3 p.m. start at Scottsdale Stadium. A little later than usual. Traffic was a nightmare. They've merged four lanes into one on the nearby highway. Oh well. Sun in still shining. Check out the right side of Seattle's infield and outfield.
Mariners at Giants
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
3 Jose Vidro 1B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
10 Greg Norton RF
2 Kenji Johjima C
50 Wladimir Balentien CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
45 Erik Bedard LHP
18 Ryan Rowland-Smith LHP
54 Sean Green RHP
59 Eric O'Flaherty LHP
74 Philip Barzilla LHP
San Francisco Giants (5-11-2):
28 Rajai Davis LF
5 Ray Durham 2B
2 Randy Winn RF
1 Bengie Molina C
33 Aaron Rowand CF
35 Rich Aurilia 3B
40 Dan Ortmeier 1B
29 Brian Bocock SS
75 Barry Zito LHP
41 Brad Hennessey RHP
52 Bartolome Fortunato RHP
64 Merkin Valdez RHP
34 Steve Kline LHP
5:56 p.m.: This one ends 14-8 in favor of San Francisco. Mariners manager John McLaren, down on the field moments ago, said he liked what Erik Bedard brought to the mound and said none of the three home runs hit off him would have made it out of Safeco Field.
"That wasn't a Cactus League special, that was a Wrigley Field special out there,'' he said.
Bottom line? Not much was decided in this game. Greg Norton's solo homer in the sixth likely helped boost his chances of making the squad. Especially since it was a blast to left field and not the right field wind tunnel that plagued Bedard. The manager chalked up Sean Green's troubles to a lot of seeing-eye base hits. He did get plenty of grounders, as sinker specialists tend to do. Green issued a leadoff walk to Randy Winn, then a single, then watched Winn score on a fielder's choice. Another single went through the hole at second, while another was an infield hit that Yuniesky Betancourt fielded deep at shortstop, scoring a run. A double to center, scoring two more runs, and a hit batsman ended Green's day. Eric O'Flaherty came on and got a flyout, then yielded an RBI single to Winn.
Contrary to what I'd written earlier, Ryan Rowland-Smith had nothing to do with that inning. He actually worked two pretty good scoreless frames.
Time to go home, as the fans in the picture above are now doing.
5:21 p.m.: This game is pretty much done after the duo of Sean Green and Eric O'Flaherty just got torched for six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. I'll spare you the details. There wasn't much pretty about it. Now a 14-7 lead after the Giants convert the TD.
4:44 p.m.: Now an 8-7 game after Greg Norton hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth. Zito actually came back out to start the sixth and gave up the gopher-ball to Norton. Was pulled after 5 1/3 frames. M's still trail. Just got back upstairs from the latest Erik Bedard media session (my first this spring). No fuss this time, the way I see it. He was straightforward and to-the-point. Not as long with his quotes as some might like, but polite and even a touch humorous. Yes, the wind did play a role in some of those blasts. I'll let you listen to what he said right here.
Bedard's spring ERA? Now 9.69.
Here's the funniest thing Bedard said. A reporter from AP asked him what he thought of Barry Zito changing his delivery midway through spring training. Listen to Bedard's answer right here.
"Tiger changed his swing, I think.''
4:21 p.m.: The M's got two back in the fifth and now trail 8-6. Mike Morse continued his scorching spring by leading off with a single. Yuniesky Betancourt doubled and Jose Vidro brought him home with a sacrifice fly. A pair of groundouts ended the inning and finished off Barry Zito's day. The way this game began for Zito, who would have thought he'd outlast Bedard? Six more earned runs against Bedard's totals.
4:12 p.m.: Add another homer and two more runs against to Erik Bedard's totals. This time, it was Ray Durham taking him deep to right. Another ball that didn't look all that great coming off the bat. Will have to find out Bedard's take on what was going on out there. He has given up eight runs in just four innings. Not looking good, but as I said, the ball is truly carrying today. Now an 8-4 lead for the Giants. Bedard's day, as i suspected, is now done. Mike Morse will pinch-hit for him to start the fifth.
3:55 p.m.: The Giants just scored three in the third off Erik Bedard to go up 6-4. Two of the runs came on a one-out homer to right center by Aaron Rowand.
Bedard yielded a leadoff double to Ray Durham in the inning, but it was on a pop-up to shallow right center that Jose Lopez did a lousy job of tracking down. A ball in the air that long should not be dropping in. My opinion. Bedard rebounded to get an out on a more feeble infield pop-up to second by Randy Winn. But Bengie Molina then lofted a flare to right center that fell in for a single to bring Durham around with the tying run.
Not making excuses for Bedard, but the Giants scored their first four runs here today without really hitting the ball all that hard. It may be an occasion where it's better to just ignore the linescore. Up until the Rowand homer, Bedard had the four K's, a bunch of pop-ups, a fly ball that carried, and some muffed balls behind him. All that said, the next inning may be Bedard's last. He's been out there a long time in a couple of frames already.
3:36 p.m.: A 1-2-3 second inning for Erik Bedard, striking out Brian Bocock looking on a full-count offering, getting Barry Zito to bounce out to short, and fanning Rajai Davis -- once again, looking at a 3-2 offering. Bedard actually went 3-0 on Davis, then caught him looking at three straight strikes. Four strikeouts on the game for Bedard. Still a 4-3 lead for the M's after two.
3:32 p.m.: Barry Ziro just had an 8-pitch second inning after needing 22 in the first. Yuni Betancourt lined a two-out single, but got picked off by Zito to end the inning. Erik Bedard got to hit during that frame, and drilled the first offering towards the left fielder for an out. As I said, the ball is carrying somewhat today.
3:21 p.m.: Erik Bedard gave up a solo homer to Randy Winn in the bottom of the inning, so it's now 4-1. The ball is carrying today because it didn't appear as if Winn hit it all that hard. But it carried the opposite way to right and over a yellow line demarcating a homer. The ball bounced back on to the field, but the umpire called it right away. Bedard then gave up a clean single to Bengi Molina that should have been a double because it went into the left field corner. But I covered Molina in Toronto and can tell you that the slowest Mariner would win a footrace with him going backward.
Yuniesky Betancourt promptly muffed a grounder, putting two on. Rich Aurillia then launched one off the wall in left for a two-run double. Another blast that appeared somewhat wind-aided. Hard to tell if it's the hitters, the pitcher, or the wind doing the damage today. On both sides.
Bedard did strike out a pair of batters in the inning. He was in total control with two out and none on before Winn got a ball up in the air. Anyhow, it's now a 4-3 game. Should be an interesting post-mound interview session.
3:17 p.m.: Kenji Johjima hit a grand slam homer off Barry Zito in the first inning on a 2-0 pitch. Golfed it over the left field wall. To give you an idea of how the inning went for Zito, he walked Yuniesky Betancourt on four pitches to start the game. Yep. That Betancourt. Raul Ibanez notched a one-out single and Greg Norton walked to set it all up. So, Seattle has a 4-0 lead heading to the bottom of the frame.