Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
March 16, 2008 12:18 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
Just getting underway here on a 59-degree day. The expected thunderstorms have held off for now. I've put our "Sights and Sounds" feature below for you to peruse during the game.
One of the bigger lessons being given at this morning's workouts was on how not to get picked off base by a left handed pitcher. Yuniesky Betancourt -- not to mention Ichiro -- has been having quite the misadventures on the basepaths of late. The deception that a lefty pitcher brings can be far more difficult to pick up on thatn a righty. So, the M's had groups of left handed pitchers come over to a back field to work with some of the team's would-be basestealers.
You'll hear guest coach Rich Amaral address the group, then manager John McLaren say he used to look for "body language'' of runners as a bench coach more than anything else.
3:55 p.m.: Anyone catch M's president Chuck Armstrong going for that pop-up from his seat behind home plate. When's the last time you saw that? Doubt we'd see Howard Lincoln do the same, but you never know. Anyhow, it's still 8-4 for the Brew Crew here in the ninth. I've been downstairs waiting on Felix Hernandez. He took his time getting out, as he sometimes does. Nice to be 21 and carefree, I suppose. Although Hernandez did seem a little distressed about his performance. Went 4 1/3 innings, yielding five runs on seven hits (and two home runs). Didn't blame the wind. Said he simply kept falling behind too often. Couldn't spot his fastball enough. His slider was working a little better, as was his change-up. But the hitters weren't swinging at that, he said.
Apparently, they were waiting on his fastball. Pretty smart, those Brewers.
3:20 p.m.: It's now an 8-4 game, the Brewers having added three runs in the top of the sixth. Gabe Gross crushed a solo homer to right center off Chris Reitsma and then, two singles later, Arthur Rhodes took the mound with runners at the corners and one out. Rhodes struck out the first batter, Lance Nyx, but then yielded a two-run double by Joe Dillon that was socked over the center fielder's head. Rhodes got out of the frame with a strikeout and has looked OK so far this spring, despite the Dilllon hit.
Seattle went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. Mark Lowe is now on the mound for the M's.
2:55 p.m.: For the second time today, the M's stranded a runner at third base with nobody out. Tug Hulett was at third and Jamie Burke at first base in the fifth inning when Yuniesky Betancourt popped out. Ichiro then reached on a fielder's choice, with Hulett getting hung up between third and home and tagged out. With two out in the inning, the ball popped out of the catcher's glove and Burke appeared to get hung up between second and third deciding what to do. Ichiro started to run to second, thinking Burke was headed to third. But when Burke stopped and headed back to second, Ichiro was caught in a rundown and thrown out.
Milwaukee took a 5-4 lead in the top of the inning. Felix Hernandez issued a one-out walk and was pulled. Chris Reitsma came on and gave up a single and a walk to load the bases. Cory Hart (him again) then scorched one that appeared headed into left field. Third baseman Miguel Cairo knocked the ball down with a dive, but that was it and the run scored. Reitsma then turned an inning-ending 4-6-3 double-play.
2:23 p.m.: Add on another home run to Milwaukee's total, with J.J. Hardy ripping a Felix Hernandez pitch over the left field wall. The wind had nothing to do with that blast. So, we're all tied up after 3 1/2 innings. Ben Sheets is out of the game for Milwaukee. Seth McClung now on to pitch.
2:13 p.m.: The score hasn't changed after the Mariners stranded a runner at third with none out in the third inning. Mr. Clutch reached on an error, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then stood there as jose Lopez grounded out weakly to the right side. Jamie Burke walked to put runners at the corners, Yuniesky Betancourt flied out to shallow center and Ichiro tapped one back to the mound.
Felix Hernandez gave up a two-out single in the top of the inning, his sixth hit allowed, but erased the runner on a fielder's choice by Mr. Sunglasses (at night).
1:54 p.m.: Still a 4-3 game heading into the third. Felix Hernandez gave up two more singles in the second inning -- now five hits on the day -- but escaped serious trouble when J.J. Hardy was caught stealing. Hernandez fanned Rickie Weeks to end the inning. Mariners have seven hits on the day, but stranded a pair with two out in the second when Brad Wilkerson struck out.
Jose Vidro had reached on an infield single, then did a nice job going from first to third -- something the M's have preached down here -- on a single to left center by Richie Sexson, his second hit of the day.
1:33 p.m.: First team to 25 wins. It's now 4-3 for the Mariners after just one inning as Raul Ibanez connected for a two-run blast off Ben Sheets. Richie Sexson then reached on an infield single, Brad Wilkerson got on when first baseman Eric Munson flubbed a grounder, and my own "Mr. Clutch" came through with an RBI single. That's my new nickname for Miguel Cairo because I know how much some of you love it. Jose Lopez struck out on a pitch two feet from his bat, but Jamie Burke singled to center to bring in the go-ahead run.
By the way, if you thought the wind was blowing out yesterday, you should see it today. Anything hit to left or left center? Look out. That's where both of today's homers and a very long Joe Dillon double wound up going. Three of the Seattle runs that inning were earned. Sent nine men to the plate. Nice to see the Hulett clan checking in down below.
1:17 p.m.: Felix Hernandez is completing the 1-2 punch with Erik Bedard, having already yielded a two-run homer to Cory Hart to fall behind 3-0 after a half-inning. Couldn't see whether Hart had sunglasses on, but I could swear I saw him tell Hernandez to "never surrender!'' as he rounded the bases. Ah, Cory Hart, shades of my native Montreal. Accent on "shades".
A change in the Milwaukee lineup from what I posted earlier. Same
23 Rickie Weeks 2B
25 Mike Cameron CF
27 Joe Dillon LF
2 Bill Hall 3B
1 Cory Hart RF
13 Eric Munson (L) 1B
7 JJ Hardy SS
14 Gabe Gross (L) DH
18 Jason Kendall C
15 Ben Sheets RHP
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) CF
3 Jose Vidro (S) DH
28 Raul IbaÃ±ez (L) LF
44 Richie Sexson 1B
6 Brad Wilkerson (L) RF
13 Miguel Cairo 3B
4 Jose Lopez 2B
15 Jamie Burke C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
34 Felix Hernandez RHP
20 J.J. Putz RHP
33 Chris Reitsma RHP
53 Arthur Rhodes LHP
57 Mark Lowe RHP
62 Cesar Jimenez LHP
The shot above is what it looked like when I left Scottsdale Stadium yesterday evening. I liked the mountain in the backdrop. Nice desert scene.
Posted by AKMarinersFan
1:05 PM, Mar 16, 2008
With my usual "negativetism" I will predict that Vidro and Sexson "struggle offensively" today.
Felix will be GREAT.
Ichiro will have a multihit day.
And they Mariners don't score against Sheets
Posted by newm'sfan
1:27 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Hey Geoff I think your sitting close to my mom and grandfather at the game today. atleast you took one of the pictures right behind where they are sitting. My cousin is Tug Hulett that is why they are their to see him play. You should not be so quick to count him out as Lopez is not exactly having a banner spring training. Im not saying he is going to start off in the bigs this season but let lopez choke during the first half of the season and Tug should get a shot.
Posted by Charles
1:45 PM, Mar 16, 2008
I think Corey Hart is gonna be a force to be reckoned with this year maybe an 2007 brandon phillips year in the works for him.
Posted by Choska
2:03 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Sorry for the off-topic, but I picked this up from Baseball Prospectus, "Cincinnati right fielder Ken Griffey told Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey during his visit to Reds’ camp that he would prefer to wear a Seattle cap on his plaque in Cooperstown."
Posted by Charles
2:47 PM, Mar 16, 2008
The game is on FSN if anybody didn't know.
Posted by AKMarinersFan
3:27 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Cairo has made 3 errors today although only 1 was officially recorded. He is horrible.
Posted by markus
3:29 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Yeah!! Error on Cairo! Good thing we are keeping him around for his fantastic bat and we don't need his defense!
bleh...get this guy off the team.
Posted by ET90210
3:29 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Not sure they are even really competition in 2008, but I just came across a team preview for the Oakland A's. It breaks down the lineup, rotation, bullpen, prospects and even gives a win total. Also has a reader poll to vote in. Worth the read!
Posted by AKMarinersFan
3:33 PM, Mar 16, 2008
I admit my predictions were bit a off. Here are my thoughts.
Felix pitched better than the box score indicates. His defense let him down and the wind took a couple of pop flys out.
Vidro was bad.
The first Sexson "hit" was an error. His shorten swing might increas his batting average but that isn't going to help the Mariners. He has to hit home runs to help the team.
Cairo is a joke.
2nd base is going to be a big problem for the Mariners this year.
Shield didn't look good today.
The Mariners need to give up on Reitsma
Sims and Blowers are really really bad.
Posted by markus
3:47 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Whoa!! Cairo hit the tar out of that one! It's a good thing that it hopped over the first baseman's glove or it might have broken his glove or his hand!
Posted by Get Griffey
4:07 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Wow I actually agree with the last four, but the others are just excuses for why your predictions weren’t right (Sexon going 2 for 3, is not "struggling offensively", no matter what the definition) This is all meaningless spring stuff so how about a prediction for the season?
I bet yours would go something like:
“Without Bonds we can’t win, Sexon will suck, and we shouldn’t have improved our rotation because the Angles are better than us so why even try to compete this year”
That should be close, if I forgot any other negatives please don’t feel the need to say so.
Posted by Adam
4:13 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Hitters sitting on Felix's fastball?
Gee, where have we heard that before?
Felix's fastball is his third-best pitch. I wish someone in the Seattle organization would realize that.
Posted by wally
4:18 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Crap, Cairo has a three hit game. How many did he hit hard? I didn't see the first one, but if it was like his last two, then he didn't hit any of them solid. But a three hit game is a three hit game, and the guys he is competing against haven't gotten as many at-bats lately and so it looks like the veteran entitlement lives on! Que vivan los viejos!
Posted by AKMarinersFan
4:25 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Armstrong interfering with Burke making the play...that really says it all. Its great when your team president violates the stadium rules.
Posted by Batter Up!!!
4:30 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Rhodes is looking strong. Jamie Burke had a good day even with the FO interference. 2nd maybe a problem to start the year but I think we have several kids who might get a chane to shine there...... Mike Morse, Tug, or......
AK you went 0 for 4 with the predictions......but it's just ST who cares..........
Posted by Ziasudra
4:51 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Well, to change the subject, 4 runs scored while Rhodes and Reitsma were in the game. Neither was sharp. Lowe was better, Putz was fine. That interference n0n-call gave JJ a chance to strike out the side (whichhe did).
I agree that Cairo, like Vidro, should not be allowed to own a glove. (same for Norton)
Sexson did hit the ball hard, regardless ofthe ruling in the 1st inning.
PS - was that radar gun off? the most it read all day was 89; with Felix and JJ? Had to be 5 mph slow. . . .
Posted by bikeman
5:45 PM, Mar 16, 2008
I admit my predictions were bit a off.
Understatement of the off-season from a poster regarding their own statements.
Posted by brian
9:26 PM, Mar 16, 2008
Every year at the end of spring training, Bavasi and the M's make a roster move bringing someone that didn't go to Spring Traiining with us in a trade- Last year was Jason Ellison, another year it was Wilson Valdez. Are we going to do this again? If not, I don't see how we keep more than 11 pitchers as Morse and Norton seem to be a lock for the other two spots. Morse's hot bat and versaitiitly plus Norton's veteran status and ability to pinch hit as well as fill in for Sexson if he gets off to a slow start seem to have an inside edge if there are two spots available. If we do keep Morse, why do we need to keep Cairo as he can provide greater infield and outfield versatility and better speed on the bases. Lets get more feedback on the final 25 man roster and who makes the team, especially who the final relievers will be
Aug 19, 08 - 04:52 PM
Game thread, Mariners vs. White Sox, 8-19
Aug 19, 08 - 04:08 PM
Love this cartoon
Aug 19, 08 - 09:08 AM
Nah, on second thought
Aug 18, 08 - 08:56 PM
Same as it ever was
Aug 18, 08 - 04:45 PM
Game thread, Mariners vs. White Sox, 8-18