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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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April 12, 2008 10:02 PM

Two down....

Posted by Larry Stone

That was an impressive win by the Mariners, and a surprisingly sloppy showing by the Angels. They made two errors that each did big damage. Starter Jon Garland was not particularly sharp, and they blew one opportunity after another against Carlos Silva. They did have some hard-hit balls turned into outs (especially poor Gary Matthews Jr., who grounded into three double plays off Silva). Many Mariners players commented how they love to play behind Silva, who works fast and throws strikes. Silva, by the way, said he was going to work the ninth until Raul Ibanez's homer gave Seattle the five-run lead. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre told Silva at that point that they were going to go to the pen to finish it off.

The Mariners had six guys with at least two hits, including Jose Vidro, who had been 2-for-20 in his last six gtames, and Ibanez, who is on fire. Sexson came back from a bases-loaded popup in the third with a huge two-run homer off Garland in the fifth, probably the key moment in the game. And they didn't make any errors. All in all, a very good night.

Here's a totally premature statistic: Sexson has nine RBI through 12 games, which puts him (as well as Jose Lopez) on a pace for 122. Ibanez has 10 ribbies, on a pace for 135. I just love April "on pace fors". Oh, and the Mariners have hit 15 homers this season, second in the AL to the Angels, who have 17.

The crack Mariners' PR staff just reported that Matthews is the first player to hit into three DP in one game against the same pitcher since Colorado's Todd Greene (9-29-04, against Odalis Perez of the Dodgers). That wasn't the end of Matthews' misery, however. He also let a ball get past him in the outfield that led to a Mariners' run, and grounded out to the pitcher (another hard-hit ball, actually) in the ninth to end the game.

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Posted by Wolfie

12:09 AM, Apr 13, 2008

Good game for the Mariners, who now have won four of their last five. Where was this against Baltimore last week? Makes me wonder had not the bullpen blown that gem of a game by Felix vs. the O's if the outcome in that four game set would have been any different.

Bedard goes for the sweep tomorrow. Let's see what happens.

Posted by -k

12:15 AM, Apr 13, 2008

I know it's only been 3 starts, but the Silva signing has been looking like genius! all three have been quality starts, even using geoff's 7+ innings requirement. He was brought in to be an inning eater. he's doing that, and more.

Sexson had another decent game too. This is going to get interesting.

Posted by PRchef

1:37 AM, Apr 13, 2008

Great to have the first two vs the Angels

Seems like the offense is beginning to wake up which is very encouraging. The sweep would be an awesome start to the season series.

I hope Richie, Vidro, and Wilkerson can keep some momentum going tomorrow...

Posted by calim

1:46 AM, Apr 13, 2008

I don't really want to nitpick, but, well, I'm going to anyway.
Why would they bring in Green in the ninth? Silva was going to come back out until Ibanez extended the lead? What? Don't you go to your pen to help out, not only if you have a five-run lead?
But really, my bigger problem is Green. He worked yesterday, threw a lot of pitches tonight and won't be available tomorrow. Why not Corcoran or Baek with a five-run lead?

Posted by k0o56

3:12 AM, Apr 13, 2008

My thoughts exactly, Calim. I was scratching my head when I saw Green come out for the 9th because I was so sure that Silva would finish it up. Oh well, it was a great game nonetheless. Looking forward to tomorrow's game. I'm gonna go out on a limb: Bedard throws 10 K's, 8 IP

Posted by Babu

6:43 AM, Apr 13, 2008

Watching Silva in Baltimore, I was impressed that he could work a lot of innings with a relatively low pitch count, avoid walks, and get himself out of jams. I know he's not in the top ranks of pitchers, but he is a significant upgrade in the rotation and he's looking like he could have a good year.

Posted by lwl

7:18 AM, Apr 13, 2008

I agree about using Green. Mac had a chance to give him some rest but now he isn't available for a possible sweep game. Any other reliever except Lowe would have been ok. Mac is an idiot....

Posted by James from Walla Walla

8:17 AM, Apr 13, 2008

I agree with you guys!!

It's the theory that once you warm a guy up. They did the same thing at Tampa the nite that Washburn pitched. They brought in Green even though they had scored 3-runs in the 8th. I did not understand it then nor do I now??

In Tampa they could have left Rowland-Smith in to pitch the 9th. And, last nite they could have left Silva in. I believe I remember Rowland-Smith warming up in the pen with Green. Would it not have been better to bring him in instead of Green?
Being it was the 9,1 & 2 hitters coming up. Save Green for Guerrero if need. Just a thought!

Hey Adam, Merrell, & Oregon Gal,
We have been hammering on Ibanez about being slow and not play the OF very well. Any changes in impressions of him this year so far??
Getting a triple last night on a ball hit in the left-center gap, it Blew Me Away!! Itchiro maybe but Ibanez, I was amazed!

Posted by Idaho Invader

8:34 AM, Apr 13, 2008

Hey Geoff!

Did you find out why McLaren is still a dunce with his bullpen and used a valuable reliever w/ a FIVE run lead?

McLaren just seems SOOOOO over his head late in the game. The team clearly wins IN SPITE of him, not because of him.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

8:46 AM, Apr 13, 2008

++1 to -k's comment. I'm very pleasantly surprised at just how solid Silva has been. I didn't complain about it too much on the offseason, but wasn't overwhelmed by it either; now it's looking like the 1-2 punch could be a 1-2-3 punch, if Silva can keep this up.

Re: use of Sean Green - I also barked at the TV when i saw Silva not coming in with that low pitch count. But it worked out ok. In the long run, the relievers have to build some confidence, and work on some things in game situations. We don't want to find out in late June / July that specific relievers can't get some guys out, or have something to work on. So while going to him was questionable - why not let Silva at least get one more out? - keeping him in there so long as the score wasn't close was actually something I agree with. There's also the whole thing about not burning guys out in April, as satisfying as these 8-inning outings have been.

Which also leads me to Raul - yes, he's managed to position himself well in LF; yes, he got a triple; no, he's not going to have that all year. The point about bemoaning how slow he is, is that while he might be able to keep up with the young'uns in April, I guarantee you he won't in August. Which is why he needs to be the DH. Regardless of freak occurances like the Raul triple (or the even freakier Sexson infield single, which I will be able to say I saw in person, and which I'm sure will be the last of his career :) ).

Because it's not a blog post if it isn't pessimistic, I really hope the Ms this year won't be one of those teams who only truly shows up to play against the contenders and strong teams, and then has a senior moment when facing the Orioles of the world. My heart can't take it.

And no disrespect intended, Larry - you've been covering nicely, as always - but where's Geoff? Not having him around for a series like this is kinda like when a buddy can't make it to the game b/c they got roped into shopping with their girlfriend or something. ;) ;)

Posted by James from Walla Walla

8:56 AM, Apr 13, 2008


A change in Itchiro??

I was wondering if any of you have had this same question? In watching the game last night and on prior nights I noted the following. Did Ichiro forget how to bunt?? Especially when he grounded into a double play last night. It seemed like the perfect time to advance the runner and keep out of the double play. With his speed he may just beat it out.
When a sinker ball pithcer seems to have your number, note how badly he looked swing at one in the dirt for strike three. It seemed like a no brainer to me. I have not seen him bunt once this year, though I have not seen all the games. His ability to get bunt base hits is one of the reasons I think he could hit .400, once he gets on a roll. I contend we need him to start hitting the way we know he can.
He is the grease for our offence!!

Posted by Jared

11:22 AM, Apr 13, 2008

Sexson is looking a lot better so far. Getting WALKS and showing his power. I was at the game and that HR was such a nice rip. It left the park pretty fast in the deepest part of it.

Ibanez is on a tear! He came close to two HRs last night. One was right to the wall in right then the HR came later.

They played a great game last night. Good defense, good offense, and good pitching!

Lets go get a sweep today!!!

Posted by Ichiman

11:55 AM, Apr 14, 2008

What, no mention of Ichiro's throw to home in the 2nd inning? By far the highlight of the game for me -- the kind of moment that makes you blink and ask, "did that really just happen?"

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