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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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July 1, 2008 11:29 PM

Bloomquist, Sexson play heroes for a night

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

On Tuesday night, Richie Sexson had power.

On Tuesday night, so did Willie Bloomquist.

On Tuesday night, the Mariners, even as they stretched their bullpen thin, stared at a 6-2 lead and came back.

It was a crazy night.

Let's start with Sexson. The last time he homered? May 24. That was before the NBA Finals even began, to give you an idea of the timeframe here. This one was a no-doubter, 376 feet, and could not have come at a bigger moment in the game.

I wish I could tell you what he said after the game, but I can't. He didn't come out to speak with the press. Someone saw him leave out a back door in the team dining room.

Now to Bloomquist. He put one in deep left center to win it. It could have been his first extra-base hit of the season, and he joked about it after the game.

"I wanted a double. I haven't had a double yet this year, so I was hoping to get to second" he said, laughing. "No, it was kind of instinctive running, I guess. You never know if a guy falls or trips and you get the next base. I was trying to outrun all the crew trying to tackle me."

Lastly, the comeback doesn't happen unless four relievers -- Cesar Jimenez, Arthur Rhodes, Sean Green and Brandon Morrow -- don't pitch 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Morrow was again spectacular, and his ERA is now 0.74. If he stays there by the All-Star break, it will be the best pre-break ERA in team history.

OK, you all will get Geoff Baker back tomorrow. I'll be back Saturday against Detroit.

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July 1, 2008 5:22 PM

7/1 -- Mariners vs. Toronto game thread

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Jose Lopez did Roy Corcoran no favors there with that error, and the Blue Jays are starting to pour it on. It's 6-2 Toronto, with an important at-bat coming up: LHP Cesar Jimenez vs. Matt Stairs.

Perhaps the Blue Jays could have used some pitchers' fielding practice like the Mariners conducted today. Because Jesse Litsch's error on a throw to first opened the door for a pair of Seattle runs, both unearned. Sam Perlozzo decided to hold Richie Sexson at third on Jeff Clement's two-out single, and he was rewarded when Betancourt singled to right to bring Sexson home.
One note: the M's have stranded two runners in three of four innings.
Another note: that's Sexson's first s

And this is no longer going as well as the Mariners could have hoped. Here's Rowland-Smith's line, as he leaves with two outs in the fourth: 3 2/3 innings, four hits, three runs (all earned), 1 K, 1 BB, 1 HB.
And for those scoring it, Gregg Zaun's shot to left is not a single. Thanks to Vernon Wells' less-than-astute baserunning, it goes down officially as a fielder's choice. Zaun still gets the ribby.

Rowland-Smith gives up a hit in the third, but he gets out of it -- and he needed just 9 pitches for the entire inning. This is going about as well as the M's could have hoped.

The second is a 13-pitch inning for Rowland-Smith, who's rolling so far. The Mariners are hoping he can go five, and so far, it looks like he might be able to.

Oh boy. Commentor favorite Jose Vidro grounds into a double play, hit hard but right to the pitcher, and a promising inning ends.

Rowland-Smith's pitch count is going to be interesting to watch tonight, and so far, so good for him. He got through the 1st in just 12 pitches.

Pre-game

I hope so. Because it's all relievers, all night for the home team against Toronto tonight. Ryan Rowland-Smith will start, with the hope that he can go four or so innings. From there, it's everyone on call. Miguel Batista isn't available, and you'd have to think that Mark Lowe would be a last resort after going 2 2/3 last night. Expect Roy Corcoran if Rowland-Smith gets in trouble any time early.

One more thing: you might have noticed that Cesar Jimenez was slotted to start today for Tacoma before his move to the big-league club last night. I assure you this has more to do with the Rainiers' injury situation than how much Jimenez has in him today. He said he can go two innings, or about 50 pitches. Riggleman said Jimenez will be used "as needed," and I'm not exactly sure if that tells you anything.

Toronto's starter, Jesse Litsch is 7-4 with a 3.82 ERA.

Here's the lineup:

Toronto

David Eckstein SS
Marco Scutaro 2B
Alex Rios RF
Vernon Wells CF
Lule Overbay 1B
Scott Rolen 3B
Gregg Zaun C
Adam Lind LF
John McDonald SS

Jesse Litsch, RHP

Mariners

Ichiro RF
Jose Lopez 2B
Raul Ibanez LF
Jose Vidro DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Reed CF
Richie Sexson 1B
Jeff Clement C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS

Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP

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July 1, 2008 3:22 PM

Life in bizarro world

Posted by Geoff Baker

Many of us have dreamed at some point, if only for a millisecond, of doing what Shawn Chacon did to his boss last week. Of course, we live in civilized society. I'd love to jump off the Space Needle, flap my wings and soar around Puget Sound just like a free bird sometimes. But I don't do it. The Houston Astros pitcher got tired of hearing his boss berate him in front of teammates, so he threw GM Ed Eade to the ground. Naturally, he was released by the team.

But the MLB Players' Association is going to handle a wrongful termination grievance on his behalf. They say his release came without just cause. And you thought ballplayers were just like you or me? Think again. Now, look. I realize there are probably some legal definitions and interpretations to be ironed out here. Understand that contracts have provisions for things like this and such.

But hey, in what job out there (besides baseball) is a guy going to be able to throttle a boss nearly twice his (or her) age and not lose their employment? What am I missing here? Anyone care to help me out?

By the way, I don't ever advocate physical violence as a way of sorting out workplace problems. Yes, we've all had supervisors and co-workers we'd love to give the schoolyard treatment to. And they to us. But that's not a healthy way to build a career and sort things out. In the home or office. Unless, of course, you happen to pitch for a major league team. Or hit home runs for one, as Manny Ramirez demonstrated over the weekend. For me, this is different from former Toronto manager John Gibbons duking it out with Ted Lilly a couple of years ago. Gibbons invited that scrap. Lilly took him up on it. They were both in reasonably decent shape. Gibbons was in his early 40s and a former big leaguer.

Ed Wade is 52 and a former PR assistant turned GM. I'd love to see Chacon try pulling this on Billy Beane.

But really, have we, as a contract-driven society, lost our minds in this case? Is this the end of civilization as we know it? Or just business as usual?

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July 1, 2008 10:18 AM

The "ace" prototype

Posted by Geoff Baker

Happy Canada Day, folks. Though, from the looks of things, a whole lot of visiting fans were celebrating Canada Day last night. Anyhow, as some of you have mentioned, no harm getting shut out 2-0 by a guy looking like this year's Cy Young Award winner. Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays may only be 9-6. But he has as many complete games -- six -- as any other team in the American League. Halladay currently sits sixth in AL earned run average, but is blowing away the field with 130 1/3 innings pitched. His 6-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio is also the best of any AL starter in the top-20 ERA-wise.

Yes, he's that good.

Over the past 16 months running this blog, I've made a number of references to Halladay in regards to Felix Hernandez. Unfortunately for Hernandez, he's now on the DL. Not a huge setback. The team simply couldn't afford to go through a second night of an all-bullpen start after tonight's. Some of you were wondering yesterday why the team simply didn't call up another starter for tonight's game. Well, the thing is, somebody would have had to be sent down to Class AAA. Likely Roy Corcoran. And you don't want to lose a relief pitcher with Miguel Batista already shaky, Hernandez not right and those free-swinging Detroit Tigers looming for a four-game series. The team had been hoping to avoid losing Hernandez another week to the DL. So, it crossed its fingers, waited for yesteday and hoped Hernandez could make it back to the mound later this week. When that was obviously not going to be a possibility, it placed him on the DL and freed up the roster spot to add Cesar Jimenez. This way, you don't lose a reliever.

There you go. No big mystery. No conspiracy of incompetence. Just that.

Anyhow, back to Hernandez and Halladay. We could include Erik Bedard in this discussion, but, from what I've seen the first half of the season, Hernandez is a better comparison. He's a power pitcher. Has all the right "stuff'' to be a future ace, including the innings durability and the knack for going eight or nine innings when he's on.

Continue reading this post ...


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