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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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March 16, 2008 4:29 PM

M's lose ugly

Posted by Geoff Baker

steal 032.jpg

The Mariners trudge off the field after an unusually long, 8-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Not much of a game from a Seattle fan's standpoint. Felix Hernandez gets mugged, the base running was terrible and the team president pulls a Steve Bartman on M's catcher Jamie Burke. Chuck Armstrong was OK, by the way, having the towering pop-up by Ozzie Chavez bounce off the palm of his hand.

Burke made contact with Armstrong, the latter saying that's what caused him to drop the ball. It's hilarious when the games don't count. And they don't, so let's not go too crazy on this.

By the way, if you look closely at the front row in the photo below, the guy with the blue cap and gray hair (in the blue jacket, not the beige one) is Armstrong. No, I don't have much to talk about today, you've got me.

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Mariners manager John McLaren wasn't the happiest looking guy afterwards. Yes, the weather conditions were cold and windy. It affected some of his pitchers. Chris Reitsma, Arthur Rhodes and Mark Lowe had some problems. Lowe allowed just one hit and otherwise got through the seventh unscathed.

But the only truly dominant Seattle arm belonged to J.J. Putz, who fanned all three batters he faced. I think it's getting to that point in spring where some guys just want the real games to start. Things really dragged today.

This was not a well-played game and McLaren knew it.

McLaren said he felt Hernandez got a little frustrated. Later on, he talks about team president Armstrong in this clip. "Looks like it's spring training for him, too,'' McLaren said.

Hernandez himself was pretty consistent about what went wrong.

"When I fall behind in the count, that's what I can expect,'' Mariners starter Hernandez said. "They're going to hit it and hit it hard. They were waiting for the fastball and I gave it to them.''

"I've got to throw strikes,'' he added.

Hear a Hernandez audio clip right here.

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Posted by Charles

5:18 PM, Mar 16, 2008

A little bit off topic, but with what Griffey said to dale petroskey I think he wants to end his career as a Mariner and I hope the FO brings him back when his contract ends with the Reds. I wonder what else petroskey and griffey talked about maybe about introducing neihaus into coopsertown in june. I also wonder what color A-rod is going to pick for his plaque when he gets in the hall of fame.

Posted by DrLo

5:35 PM, Mar 16, 2008

Falling behind in the count can be the result of trying to be too fine, misguided but understandable. Hitting a batter when up 0-2 in the count, however, is much less excusable, especially when you follow it up with a HR. Per last week's discussions, despite his talent Felix will not be a number one starter until he can retain his focus through difficulties and shrug off the bad luck instead of allowing it to overwhelm him. He's
young and time is still on his side, but for now at least this is a real achilles heel.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

6:32 PM, Mar 16, 2008

Reed has gotten 17 AB's so far in srping training. Most of his AB's recently have in late inning situations. There are 20 guys that have more AB's than Reed including several that have already been cut.

Meanwhile Reed is hitting .438/.550/.500. He's walked and struck out three times.

Them McLaren makes a cowardly comment about Reed dragging a few days ago. I am sure that Reed wants out of this organization.

This team tries to lose.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

6:41 PM, Mar 16, 2008

Oh yeah and Cairo has gotten 41 AB's while batting .317/.317/.488. Reed has more RBI's in 16 AB's than Cairo has in 41. What a waste.

Posted by markus

7:08 PM, Mar 16, 2008

But Cairo is a veteran and has proven what he can give you. And even though it is crappy, he will always give you the same crappiness. If the M's had their way, I think they'd love to keep any youngster from ever having a chance to prove himself if it meant that they got to load up on old, expensive, unproductive, boring 'talent'

Why do they hurt me so?

Posted by scottM

7:13 PM, Mar 16, 2008

Charles, I think we can expect A-Rod to wear his favorite shirt to Cooperstown. You know, the one that has "I Love A-Rod" in big letters on the front and back.

Posted by Get Griffey

7:17 PM, Mar 16, 2008

AKM's Fan

What hand dose Reed bat again??

Because you seem to forget he is a LEFTY along with our entire out field.

If Reed was a righty he would be getting more ABs to prove himself just like Morse is. He is not going to make the club because we need righty bench bats not lefty ones.

So yea he is not playing a ton because their are allot of guys that need time to try and prove themselves and don’t have options left.

Reed A) has options, B) is a lefty, and C) fills a different role then the other potentials. That is why he will not be playing a lot, and will not be on this team come opening day.

Posted by markus

7:23 PM, Mar 16, 2008

What happened to Morse? He hasn't gotten an AB for a couple of days. Is he hurt or is Mac just trying to get him to cool off so it won't appear so crappy when he gets cut in favor of Cairo and Norton?

Posted by chris_arsenal

7:31 PM, Mar 16, 2008

Was at the game today - yes, ugly is right - Felx was up in the zone with his fastball then coudn't locate early in the count and got tee'ed off on a couple of times. He seemed very uncomfortable on the mound which is unsettling - he didn't really take a deep breath and catch himself all day, almost like he was expecting to have a bad outing. Maybe the wind and cold bugged him? (yeah, cold - it was still 60F outside).

The baserunning was atrocious today. Desipte the aforementioned drill during practice today it appeared they were getting caught trying to be too aggressive. Strange too is that they had lots of oppy's to put hit-and-runs on with lots of baserunners and didn't really do it - all of the running doesn't matter if you don't practice going 1st to 3rd.

Couple of other observations:
- Beltre was jacking the ball in practice - he took extra BP because he didn't play and he was just pasting the ball.
- Ichiro just doesn't look comfortable at the plate
- Sexson had a nice game and hit the ball hard for 3 base hits today. 2 were crunched line drives which is good to see - if he can hit balls like that consistently then the power will come when it needs to.
- Ibanez' homer didn't deserve to be - it was a lazy can o' corn that the wind got hold of and drove out to the birm.
- Rhodes looked great early in the count but couldn't finish guys off today. Not sure what is up but he seems to be missing his out pitch based on on one game's worth of observation
- JJ looked TOUGH in his apperance in the 8th - that was great to see. The only hit was off a first-pitch fastball and it was a single - i'll take that. JJ's fastball looked live as hell.

Posted by chris_arsenal

7:36 PM, Mar 16, 2008

One more thing I forgot - the M's had 2 situations in back-to-back innings with a runner on 3rd and nobody out, and in both situations they were unable to score. THAT actually is the most concerning thing I saw today. Yuni fouled out on a 1st pitch swing in one case, Lopez grounded to the 1st baseman, and Burke flied to short center and Cammy (yes, that Cammy) made a nice throw to keep the runner at 3rd. Those HAVE to be runs in that situation and the offense can't sputter like that when you get high expected-value situations and then fail to score in either of them.

i actually thought one of the situations (1st and 3rd, 0 out, i think Yuni or Lopez up, can't remember) was perfect to work on a squeeze but Mclaren elected to play it straight-up. If we are gonna run and play small ball so much, why not put the squeeze on in that situation in a spring traning game?

Posted by AKMarinersFan

7:55 PM, Mar 16, 2008

Get Griffey - What does it matter if all of the outfielders hit left handed? All of the infielder and both catchers hit righthanded. Our DH hits equally crappy with either hand. Morse hiits right handed and Willie hits right handed. Assuming a four man bench with Morse, Reed, Burke, and Willie we would have 4 left handed hitters, eight right handed hitters, one crappy switch hitter. What's the problem. Oh yeah, Safeco's dimensions favor left handed hitters.

Get Griffey - you're a moron. Your name makes me not like Griffey, and I have a problem with it. Can you change your screen name?

Posted by Batter Up!!!

8:06 PM, Mar 16, 2008

If Felix is our achilles heal we need 5 legs.

I saw Reed play in the 3rd week of ST in Peoria last year and could not believe he did not make the team.

Regarding Rhodes, I said he looked strong........ How soon they forget !!! If his elbow has healed, he will be the only one of the 3R's (Rhodes, Ramirez, Reitsma ) to come back. Here's what Sporting News had to say about Arthur Lee Rhodes when he was signed in January to a Minor League contract for a measly Million Dollars & a chance at a $150,000 bonus. The link is here if you want the entire article.

"Now, he will try to rediscover the form that made him a standout in Seattle from 2000-03. Rhodes was 26-15 in his four seasons as Seattle's main setup man, including an 8-0 record with a 1.72 ERA in 71 games during the 2001 season, when the Mariners won 116 games."

Having Arthur Rhodes in Tacoma is a very good thing and he may very well be a major player for the M's later this year.

Posted by DirtyP

10:05 PM, Mar 16, 2008

AK, calling people names now just because they explain their view on why the M's won't be keeping Reed? Please keep it up, we would all love to see you get banned. There's only one person here that needs to change their name and that's you.

Posted by Charles

10:06 PM, Mar 16, 2008

talking about losing ugly did any of you see that sonics score tonight 168-116

Posted by Merrill

1:15 AM, Mar 17, 2008


thanks a lot for the game assessment.

Go Chelsea! Go Liverpool!

Posted by thewyrm

4:12 AM, Mar 17, 2008

AKMF- You know, I actually agree with a lot of your opinions, but you really need to cool it with personal attacks. Come on, we Alaskans are better than that arn't we?

Posted by Mr. X

7:34 AM, Mar 17, 2008

If Arthur Rhodes is a "major player" this year, it's not a good sign. Joel Pineiro was 6-2 with a 2.03 ERA in 2001, and I don't want him on this team either. Ditto for Aaron Sele and his 15-5, 3.60. I wouldn't be surprised if Rhodes makes the team though. It looks like Norton will, so that means Bavasi needs 1 or 2 more NRI players to make the team to keep his streak going. Of course, NRI players don't make it on good teams, so the fewer, the better.

Posted by Mr. X

7:39 AM, Mar 17, 2008

There was a mention on another post that Ichiro was having some baserunning issues. How is that different than any other year?

Posted by Griffey24

9:45 AM, Mar 17, 2008

(For those of you wanting an actual baseball discussion, this rant is directed at AK, so you can skip my post...and I recommend skipping his as well; I don't know why I continue to read them myself).
You've now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that your handle is a flat-out lie. You can't call yourself a Mariners fan by saying, "This team tries to lose," then following it up by suggesting GetGriffey change his handle because you disagree with his opinions.
Your posts add nothing to this forum, and while I realize I'm being hypocritical with the contents of this post (adding little to no value), I hope you stay in Alaska and never attend a Mariners game. You'd be the guy that boos everything, even a game-winning homerun by a guy like Sexson or Vidro. Fans can express their thoughts when they disagree with the direction the team is taking, but if you NEVER agree with ANYTHING the team is doing, how does that make you a fan? "I boo because I care?" What a miserable outlook, I'm curious if you've ever enjoyed a baseball game.

Posted by Adam

10:03 AM, Mar 17, 2008

There was a mention on another post that Ichiro was having some baserunning issues. How is that different than any other year?

Perhaps because he doesn't?

He's got a success rate of more than 86% over the last three years.

Posted by

10:08 AM, Mar 17, 2008

AKM's Fan
OK if you really want to pretend you are dumb and hadn’t noticed what I am about to tell you, (when I know you know this) I will state “why it matters that he is a lefty and Morse is a righty”

Basically the management thinks it matters so it does, at least in terms of whether or not he will make the team.

Mac has said this allot, but here it is again.

Since All the out fielders are leftys he wants the replacement guy to be righty for reasons that should be obvious, that a righty could be placed in the lineup to rest a guy when it is better to have a Righty batting. For someone who constantly wants platoons I find it strange that you SUDDENLY can’t grasp the need to have diversity to at least some extent in the outfield!

Others like Larry Stone have said that Reed being a lefty is a facture in him probably not making it this year as well.

In fact here is a nice quote from his article about Reed on the edge (which I thought you had read, but apparently not closely enough)

“The manager has already said he wants his backup outfielder to have a right-handed bat, which Mike Morse, Wladimir Balentien and Charlton Jimerson possess. Reed bats left-handed.”

So in retrospect maybe you should have thought before you decided that I was stupid and deserved to be personally attacked because I made a perfectly reasonable factually based post! Odd, but when the facts speak for themselves (with a little help from Larry) the only response are personal insults directed at the “offending” poster…

and apparently his screen name too. lol

I don’t think I will respond by insulting you for being Alaskan as it is a nice place and should not be used as an insult.

Have fun not enjoying the games
Your loyal poster
Get Griffey

Posted by

10:42 AM, Mar 17, 2008

I don't know why we're having a discussion on Reed. As far as I can tell, the offensive roster is set, it just hasn't been formally announced yet. Morse makes the team, Reed is sent to Tacoma since he has options left. Balentien is going to Tacoma to refine his game and will probably be back by mid-season. Norton is on the bubble based on whether they carry 11 or 12 pitchers.

The real battle, and the discussion we should be having, is the bullpen. Who will be the left-handed setup guy? O'Flaherty, Jimenez, or Rhodes?

Who will be the right-handed setup guy? Green, Lowe or Morrow?

Who doesn't make the cut, and what are they going to do with Rhodes, Reitsma and Lowe?

Posted by

10:52 AM, Mar 17, 2008

Per Griffey: I think Junior will be in a Mariner uniform in 2009. He'll be a free agent, and will be a good fit with Vidro's contract expiring. The Mariners have a hard time signing free agents, and Griffey is practically begging to come back. A win-win situation. He'll be our DH, and occasional right-fielder.

There is a possibiity the Mariners might trade for Griffey at the trade deadline, but a lot of things would have to happen. Vidro and/or Sexson would have to be struggling, the Mariners would have to still be in a pennant race, and the Reds would have to be out of contention. If that happens I could see the Mariners giving up some mid-level prospects like Reed or Feirabend for him.

With Vidro gone, I could see them making a run at Griffey. With Sexson gone, could you see them making a run at Teixera? The Yankees will probably be in on that bidding, so his pricetag will be high.

Posted by

11:43 AM, Mar 17, 2008

ahh but Griffey bats lefthanded....thats going to be a problem according to the wise ones on this blog..

Posted by

12:07 PM, Mar 17, 2008

Left handed bat only matters if you are talking about your fourth outfielder. McLaren has said he wants his fourth outfielder to bat right handed. Makes sense, since he'll probably want to pinch hit for an outfielder and then leave him in defensively.

Posted by

12:30 PM, Mar 17, 2008

So this team is going to pitch hit for Ichiro or Ibanez? Have they ever been pitch hit for before? Possibly pitch hit for Wilkerson although I doubt it since he is a veteran. Morse and Bloomquist both hit righthanded and can play outfield. There is no logic to not keeping Reed on the team because he is lefthanded. The question comes down to who is going to help this team more...Reed or Cairo? Did you watch Cairo play 3rd base yesterday? He is awful.

Posted by

12:51 PM, Mar 17, 2008

Probably not Ichiro or Ibanez, but I can see pinch hitting and/or platooning with Wilkerson.

Posted by

12:58 PM, Mar 17, 2008

So use Morse. Again I ask what is the problem with keeping Reed?

Posted by

10:44 PM, Mar 17, 2008

Also I think we have a lot of diversity in our outfield. We have a hispanic, japaneese, and a white guy. I guess we really should have a black guy though. Griffey would make a lot of sense. Do we get special considerations for having a diverse outfield?

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