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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 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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Posted by OlyHomer

5:55 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Maybe Ichiro can pitch some late innings if they run out of relievers.

Posted by GoRentonGo

5:57 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Geoff --

Where are you?

Posted by what the f-ck?

5:59 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Isn't there anyone better than Vidro to bat cleanup? Honestly, I would rather have Sexson there..at least he has THE CHANCE to hit it hard..Vidro is sooooooooo weak. I mean any of the other 8 players would be better. He should have been released long ago, but to bat him cleanup. I am beginning to think that Vidro has naked pictures of Lincoln and Armstrong spooning each other. Unbelievable incompetence. The Mariners should hire George W to be GM...fits perfect...

Posted by 6killer

6:19 PM, Jul 01, 2008

I agree with the previous guy. Vidro batting clean-up doesn't seem like a very wise choice. Isn't your clean-up guy supposed to be the guy on your team with the most power? To me Vidro is a 9 hole hitter. He is hitting just .220 with a slugging of .326! How do you explain that he is batting 4th? I'm confused. It would seem like Beltre is a better choice for clean-up. At least he has pop.

lineups like this, combined with the whole bullpen starting makes me wonder if the M's even care.

Posted by shortbus

6:20 PM, Jul 01, 2008

My guess is that the team is shopping all the players that would be involved in trying to get Ibanez to DH and / or play 1B. The team doesn't want to diminish their potential trade value by kicking Sexson or Vidro out of the lineup, or by moving Ibanez out of left field. The season's toast and we don't really need more than two months to look at the guys in AAA up here, so it's ok to wait until after the deadline to make any moves.

But dang is it boring to watch. I keep myself entertained by rooting for Vidro and Sexson to fail at the plate, and for Ibanez to fail in the field. Though it would actually be easier to move them if they all played like 1996 Ken Griffey Jr. the rest of the way.

Posted by GripS

6:39 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Good chance we see a massacre here tonight.

Yeah.... I know. Thanks captain obvious.

Posted by scottM

6:51 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Is this one of those games where the counter-intuitive Larry Stone will predict that the M's will win?

OK, I'm going for it. The M's 4, the Blue Jays 3.
Happy Canada Day, Toronto!

Posted by Village Idiot

6:59 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Watch RRS go for 7 and pitch a shut out. I can dream people.

Posted by 6killer

7:00 PM, Jul 01, 2008

shortbus you could be right, but I don't see how Vidro stinking up the joint could improve his trade value. I am betting that evryone in the league knows Vidro doesn't have what it takes to hit MLB pitching anymore.

Posted by Nat

7:08 PM, Jul 01, 2008

greyguy- (from the previous post)
I had to laugh at Novice as your example of a troll. Technically, you're right. But don't you have to laugh when you read his comments? Ya gotta admit he's got a good sense of humor.

There are other trolls who are so much worse. I won't name them though cuz I don't want to stir 'em up.

Here we go, everybody ready for the "All Relievers All Night' game? I'd like to see RRS get a W for his effort! Yeah,yeah, he probably won't go five innings, but...you never know!

Posted by Don

7:14 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Tom, Geoff, et.al.

Can someone please ask Riggleman what the thinking is behind having Vidro and his .220 as the DH and batting cleanup? There's no reason any manager should get a free ride for making a lineup like that.

Posted by Nat

7:27 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Another game with Vidro still on ther roster, another roster with Vidro playing cleanup, another DP - is this what the FO meant by changing things up?

Posted by 6killer

7:28 PM, Jul 01, 2008

That DP was a perfect example of why Vidro should be on the bench or bat no higher than 9th.
I think his only value is as a PH of the bench, maybe. I lose some repect for Riggleman when I see him put Vidro in the clean-up spot.

Posted by 6killer

7:32 PM, Jul 01, 2008

by the way guys (and gals?) MLB.com has a free 5 day trial of their broadcasts. I'm watching 4 games right now, it's cool, almost overkill though hehe.

Posted by Dave

7:42 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Jose Vidro, if he had enough ABs to qualify, would be ranked 170th of 173 MLB players in OPS. Having him in the line-up is idiotic...hitting him clean-up is bordering on throwing the game. Why would you hit a powerless, non-hitting guy 4th? Someone please give me at least a plausible explanation of what's going through Riggleman's mind--Vidro wasn't even a clean-up hitter in his prime.

Posted by markus

7:42 PM, Jul 01, 2008

The team had better be trying to trade Vidro, because there is no other reason to hit him in the clean-up spot. Not even when he was in his prime should he have hit cleanup. This is a joke. I thought stuff like this would stop with Mac's firing.

Posted by deepthroat

7:51 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Vidro must be half Japanese.

Posted by Ziasudra

7:54 PM, Jul 01, 2008

You know, if the M's are trying to showcase Vidro and Sexson for possible trades, they should sit them, on the principle "It's better to keep quiet and let people think you are atupid, than to open your mouth and prove it."

Posted by Seeker

8:13 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Where are you Geoff?

Posted by deepthroat

8:39 PM, Jul 01, 2008

He's sitting behind the left feild foul pole next to the pretty lady with the large bosoms

Posted by deepthroat

8:41 PM, Jul 01, 2008

He's sitting behind the left feild foul pole next to the pretty lady with the large bosoms

Posted by ChicoV

8:43 PM, Jul 01, 2008

He said it twice must be true.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

8:55 PM, Jul 01, 2008

I would have called up and started Feierabend for tonight. RRS is not starter material. His fastball is straight, he's got one good breaking ball and wasn't even stretched out to handle even 4 innings tonight.

Posted by OlyHomer

8:58 PM, Jul 01, 2008

I was just reading somewhere else that Feierabend was having some left elbow problems so not available to pitch right now.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:03 PM, Jul 01, 2008

No team is going to trade for Sexson and Vidro. The entire league is aware of the M's situation so they will go unclaimed if DFA'd. They have to DFA'd and then released.

Call up Balentien and have him DH and rest Ibanez in left. When Reed's empty batting average drops down to .250 in a week call up Michael Saunders for center field.

Call up LaHair and have him play first base and evaluate him to see if he's worth keeping on the 40-man roster after the season.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:10 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Olyhomer-you are correct. MiLB.com shows he is on the 7day disabled list. That explains the desperate move to use RRS. That makes sense now.

Posted by Sydney Mariner

9:14 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Geoff, Why would they pull RRS after only 3 2/3 innings? He had only given up 4 hits right? Without naming names, some of our other highly paid starters (read Batista) have faired alot worse lately.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:16 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Nice dogging it Ichiro great hustle.

Posted by sodomojo

9:31 PM, Jul 01, 2008

On a Griffey watch note...did anyone see the MLB.com article quoting Griffey as having no interest to return to Seattle now that Bavasi is gone? Seriously?

I mean, I'm sure he winds up here at some point over the next coupe of years, but he's a Bavasi fan?

Posted by Nat

9:37 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Yowsers, what a HR that was! Beltre was about as surprised as anybody. While these Mariners aren't going anywhere fast, they do have a different look to them than they did even a month ago. I don't really care about them getting a W for Riggleman's first home game, but I would like to see them beat the Jays.

Posted by Adam

9:38 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Oh - and re: Beltre's production over the past couple of weeks - that's called regression to the mean, in a good way.


No sooner did Mike, BrianL, and I start arguing that Beltre's peripherals were much too good to have the numbers he had, and all of a sudden his balls started falling in.

Nothing's changed about how he's hitting the ball.

Posted by Spike Owen

9:46 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Man ! That was a good one, deepthroat! Thanks for the laughs!

Posted by OlyHomer

9:49 PM, Jul 01, 2008

My Oh My!! It's a Sexson Home Run sighting!!!

Posted by BWare

9:51 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Uh Oh! The sky's falling...

Garrett Anderson went deep for the game winner...

Richie Sexon goes deep to tie...

Check the air for viruses...

Posted by Nat

10:03 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Strange night! What next?

Posted by Chopper58

10:17 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Novice, where are you. Willie B with the match winning RBI. What a champion

Posted by David Gee

10:18 PM, Jul 01, 2008

How about WFB for the game winner? That's the beauty of this game.

Posted by Swung On And Belted

10:18 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Well Novice, Your man finally came through. There's that power to alley, just when we needed it! I guess every dog has his day.

Posted by BrianL

10:19 PM, Jul 01, 2008

The sad thing for Willie? That hit doesn't count as a double. It goes into the scorebooks as an RBI single.

That means Felix still has more XBH than Willie Boom Boom.

Posted by Joe

10:19 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Sign the apocolypse is upon us: WFB hits a game winning 2B.

Posted by David Gee

10:20 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Well, or least that dog's ass gets some sunshine now and then.

Posted by Nat

10:20 PM, Jul 01, 2008

We're never gonna hear the end of this from Novice now :)

Posted by Novice for President

10:22 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Secret power alleys indeed!
P.S.-enjoy the sunshine!

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

10:31 PM, Jul 01, 2008

The first thing I thought of when I saw the game-winning hit by Willie: Check the blog for Novice! LOL!

Fun game and strange night (Sexson homers, Beltre tomahawks, Willie wins the game). Go Mariners!

Posted by scottM

11:05 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Note my post at 6:51. I predicted the M's winning by one.

OK, the truth is I went to the Casino and lost at blackjack tonight, but while I was there missing the game, the M's won. I should have made a sport's bet in Vegas instead!

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:08 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Nothing's changed about how he's hitting the ball.

I strongly disagree. He's been tearing the cover off the ball because he's been working himself in favorable counts. Even his swing appears shorter the past few weeks. He was not doing that in May and June. To say nothing has changed in Adrian's approach is laughable. He's definitely been more disciplined the past few weeks.

When you get ahead in the count, you get a ball that's heavy in the strike zone. This equates to not being behind and swinging at low and away sliders, or having a defensive swing that lines out to an infielder as Adrian has been doing.

It's called having a good approach at the plate, that Adrian did not have when he was swinging horribly at the plate with a 20+ line drive percentage most of the year.

For example; His first hit of the game he was in a 3-1 count.
His second hit he was at a full count 3-2, again he wasn't behind.

His third hit, the home run was out of the strike zone near his neck line and had the bat speed to knock it out. Pretty amazing swing by Adrian ala Vladimir Guerrero. He was actually behind in the count. Rack that one on pure Beltre. So while Adrian wasn't disciplined in that at bat, results pretty much sweep that under the rug.

I'm glad Adrian is heating up. Historically, he usually does extremely well in July and August. I hope his trade value heats up as well and then we can hide Lopez's glove at third and move Betancourt to second base.

Posted by Mariner faithful

11:15 PM, Jul 01, 2008

For how horrible this season has been, it's games like this that remind me why I put myself through the torture of watching these guys play every night. Good game tonight Ms..

Posted by Adam

11:26 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Resin - How many times do we have to go over this?

Beltre's walk rate is the best he's had as a Mariner. He's swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone than ever before. He's making better contact than ever before. And yet his production is down compared to the last two seasons, despite all that.

I've asked this question numerous times, and nobody has given me an answer: How can it be that Beltre has improved in all these areas, yet he's getting less production?


This isn't about his approach at the plate. This is about him finally getting some balls to drop in for hits. He's hitting the ball as hard as he ever has, it's just in the last two weeks that he's finally getting luck back on his side, or at least to neutral.

Posted by Andrew

11:30 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Danggit, the first time I give up on a game and this is what I miss. Is this game the first sign of the apocalypse?

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