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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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June 3, 2008 10:45 PM

At least it was close

Posted by Geoff Baker

angellls054 019.jpg

But no cigar. Maybe a cigarette ahead of the blindfold, ahead of the firing squad? Maybe. So far, nothing that serious has befallen the M's players, front office or coaching ranks. The losses keep piling up for a team now 17 games under .500. That's a season high. The mistakes in the field hurt tonight. They hurt both teams, but the M's paid the bigger price in a 5-4 loss capped by Yuniesky Betancourt's strikeout in the ninth, pictured above. Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez struck out the side. The final four M's hitters went down on strikes.

Jose Lopez got the comeback from 5-0 down started with a solo homer, yes. But his failure earlier on to at least knock down a ground ball that rolled under him cost his team a run. If he stops the ball and makes an out, well, that's two runs saved. In a one-run game, one or two runs is huge.

As it is, the M's managed only one earned run of their own off Joe Saunders. Three more runs credited to Seattle came courtesy of gifts from the Los Angeles infield. When the Angels quit booting the ball around, the M's were never heard from again. Saunders retired six of the next seven and the bullpen mowed down six in a row after that.

How about the work by R.A. Dickey? He went 5 2/3 scoreless innings tonight after taking over from Bedard. That's 11 scoreless by Dickey since last Friday's relief effort against Detroit. I asked John McLaren afterwards about whether he's considering adding Dickey to the rotation and he said he was thinking about it.

"I don't know, it's a thought there,'' he said. "We've had that on the back burner.''

It may have to be moved up. This rotation can't keep getting outings of barely five innings. Erik Bedard didn't get hit all that hard tonight. He was frustrated at the sight of so many balls getting through the infield and finding outfield holes. But when I asked him if he was surprised to see McLaren coming out to get him in the fourth inning -- only 75 pitches into his stint -- he told me he wasn't.

"He didn't want it to get out of hand, so he came and got me,'' Bedard said.

That McLaren had more faith in long reliever Dickey, a salvation project fresh off the baseball scrap heap, than he did in the team's No. 1 starter is telling of just how this season has gone.

But he was right. Bedard didn't have great stuff. He walked the No. 9 hitter, twice. Gave up the hits after his fielders had failed to make plays. This team needs more. This team isn't getting it. The song remains the same.


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