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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 5, 2008 6:54 PM

7/5 -- Mariners vs. Tigers game thread

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

8:45 p.m. Galarraga gets Beltre again with two-on, two-out -- this time on a groundout to shortstop. The M's have stranded eight in five innings.

8:34 p.m. Dickey gets out of that bases-loaded jam. He can thank Raul Ibanez for nailing Dane Sardinha at the plate, and then he did a great job of getting Cabrera, who had absolutely smashed the ball during his first two at-bats. Still 2-0 Tigers.

By the way, Richie Sexson has drawn two walks today, and he has now walked 12 times in his past 12 games. He has a .444 on-base percentage in that span, which dates back to June 21 (which happens the first day of summer).

8:10 p.m. Ichiro just climbed that wall like he's Tenzing Norgay. But Miguel Cabrera would not be denied a second time, shooting a 0-1 Dickey pitch past the fence in right field. 2-0 Tigers.

8:07 p.m. Adrian Beltre strikes out, and the Mariners leave two stranded again. (By the way, the big screen at the ballpark said Beltre's favorite road stadium is Coors Field. I'd like to meet a hitter who doesn't prefer Coors.)

7:54 p.m. Big third inning for Dickey; he got through it in only six pitches (he's at 50). Also a big inning for the defense, which got a couple impressive plays from Jose Lopez and Raul Ibanez. Middle three, and it's still the Tigers up 1-0.

7:50 p.m. The M's let a good opportunity -- Jeremy Reed's one-out double -- pass by. Jeff Clement and Yuniesky Betancourt both fly out. Still 1-0 Tigers after two.

7:18 p.m. Carlos Guillen didn't hesitate on that R.A. Dickey 87-mile-per-hour fastball, sending it 391 feet to right field. Then Miguel Cabrera almost followed with another home run, but Jeremy Reed made a jumping catch at the track in center. 1-0 Tigers.

Before we get started, I wanted to point out two stories that have come out today:

-The New York Post is reporting Ichiro will be an outfield starter in the All-Star Game. Apparently, he'll be in center field.

-Jeff Weaver will pitch another day. He's been signed to a minor-league deal by the Cleveland Indians.

AND...as a reader point out, Jose Guillen got into a little tiff with the Royals pitching coach.

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Posted by Maui Mariner

7:35 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Good old Jose Guillien getting into it with the coach. Maybe we can trade Riche for him straight-up?

Posted by The Ancient Mariner

8:09 PM, Jul 05, 2008

AB = Jonah

Trade him!

Posted by Todd S.

8:25 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Jeff Weaver really shouldn't be allowed near baseballs anymore.

http://thedaveburbarevolution.blogspot.com/

Posted by Gary

9:16 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Why did Ichiro swing at that 49 mph pitch?...it was going to hit him. It looked like a whiffle ball play where the batter moves out of the way from the ball in order to hit it!

Posted by scottM

9:21 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Beltre, Beltre, Beltre

Are three RISP choke jobs at the plate, the best you can do, buddy?

Clement!!!

Posted by Scott

9:31 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Why is Vidro our cleanup hitter? You have problems when Vidro is hitting in the 4 hole and can't get the ball out of the infield.

Sad times.

Posted by Gary

9:39 PM, Jul 05, 2008

WOW - Clement! Nict to see.

Posted by scottM

9:39 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Clement!!!

(and, no, I don't stutter)

WooHoo!!!

Posted by Mariner faithful

9:49 PM, Jul 05, 2008

I just saw the Mariners future and it doesn't look too bad. Clement, Morrow and Reed. Great game youngsters.

Posted by Ben

9:49 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Oh yeah! 17 games back!!! we're almost back in it!

Posted by M's Fan

9:50 PM, Jul 05, 2008

GREAT WIN!!!!!!!

Posted by EricD

9:56 PM, Jul 05, 2008

If Clement actually keeps his stroke, he is destined for cleanup.

Posted by Joe "The Pro"

10:05 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Very nice win!

Great efforts by R.A., Clement and "The Vaporizer!"

Hate to state the obvious, but ... (you know)

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

10:12 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Where is the guy that was saying Clement is washed up, or the guy that said Clemenet is the biggest bust ever, Great game otnight, and I am sure this place will be rather quiet.

Posted by Ziasudra

10:14 PM, Jul 05, 2008

What's infuriating about Beltre is striking out on ball four - doesn't he know what a walk is?
Oh, bye-bye Johjima

Posted by Scott

10:30 PM, Jul 05, 2008

When Clement gets some confidence (hopefully, tonight will help with that), look out.

I think that we actually have a pretty good nucleus in the infield with Lopez, Betancourt, Beltre and Clement. We just need a first baseman...

Posted by GeoW

10:31 PM, Jul 05, 2008

I just want to add a comment about Richie Sexson. Earlier this year he would swing wildly at low and away sliders (like Beltre), striking out multiple times. Tonight he walked three (!) times, and in fact his walk in front of Clement's 2nd home run was crucial part of the win. I've thought plenty of negative thoughts about Sexson this year and last. It's nice to have a positive one.

Posted by headliner

10:41 PM, Jul 05, 2008

any positive thoughts about vidro at cleanup?

Posted by Miles

10:43 PM, Jul 05, 2008

With the last few come from behind victories, it's nice to get away from that whole "down by 2 runs and they never win" stat Geoff likes to go on and on about.

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

10:49 PM, Jul 05, 2008

"any positive thoughts about vidro at cleanup?"

Any positive thoughts abotu herpes?

Clement better be in the 4 spot tomorrow.

Oh, and looks like RRS gets the start. Anyone think Morrow will start when JJ gets back?


RIGGLEMANIA!

Posted by GeoW

10:53 PM, Jul 05, 2008

No, I have nothing positive about Vidro, at clean up or anywhere else in the lineup. He seems to have totally lost it. I would expect him to be released as soon as the M's feel they have an adequate replacement. On the other hand, what Mariner regular should be the clean up hitter? Certainly not "can't hit a slider" Beltre.

Posted by scottM

11:17 PM, Jul 05, 2008

After tonight, I can definitely see both Reed and Clement as part of our Mariner youth brigade moving forward. Reed has been making some outstanding catches in Center and has been clutch at the plate. He carries himself with a resolve and much more professional demeanor than he did two seasons ago.

I think this is the game where Clement will relax and show more confidence. He also is showing more resolve.

Reed is a pleasant, pleasant surprise. I couldn't stand his approach at the plate in '05 and '06.

If Balentien can grow past playing like a deer-in-the-headlights when up with the Big Squad, then maybe the M's will be 3 for 3 with these prospects.

I'll settle for these first two, and a big FA power hitting Outfielder in LF

If Riggleman doesn't watch out, he'll generate enough grassroots support to kick the "interim" title to the curb.

Riggleball !!!

Posted by GripS

11:18 PM, Jul 05, 2008

An awesome game to witness... Clement had a hell of a night.

Vidro....well....thats Vidro. Please put this guy out of OUR misery.

Beltre.... WTF man!!!?? Why do you keep swinging away at poor pitches. Having someone at 3rd choke you up a bit or what?

Batista....you shut me up on this one. I was shocked as hell to see you do so well against a team that can actually hit. String a few of those together and change my opinion about you.

Dickey had another respectable start. He could have gone longer. I was furious when I saw Batista go out to the mound. Riggleman really gambled there...Thank god it paid off.

Nice win for the M's. Good for Clement. 2 homers in one game is sure to boost his confidence level.

Posted by jack

2:01 AM, Jul 06, 2008

Vidro sure tried his hardest to lose the game. I know Beltre wasn't great either, but Vidro is TERRIBLE! He shouldn't even be in the lineup, let alone hitting cleanup.

Posted by Rob

2:48 AM, Jul 06, 2008

Ichiro is only 20 hits away now for 3,000 for his combined NPB/MLB careers.

And the media doesn't care.

Posted by Bums

4:03 AM, Jul 06, 2008

All it took was a bit of time for Clement make a big impression. Maybe things are coming together for him and he will start performing up to the potential we all saw throughout the minors. Great start by RA, he is turning into a great pickup and Morrow is still lights out. If/when Putz comes back, how do you take Morrow out of the closer role unless he is going to be made a starter, but I don't see that happening with the way he is rolling right now.

One thing that stands out about the Riggelman era, they are winning like everyone thought they would in the beginning by scoring a few runs, getting good starting pitching and strong work by the bullpen. Still wonder where they would be at this point if Mac weren't the manager. Then again I wonder who was the major problem Mac or Bavasi.

Posted by oceansaway

5:18 AM, Jul 06, 2008

Any chance that the Mariners have anything the Dodgers may be interested in enough to get Clayton Kershaw in return?

Posted by Lance

9:21 AM, Jul 06, 2008

Jeremy's first great catch last night ended up as one of ESPN's web gems. The second didn't, but it should have. But, of course, they couldn't make web gems simply a Jeremy Reed Show.

Although, one of the ESPN guys made this interesting comment. "Seems we have Jeremy Reed on here almost every night."

Yesterday I commented on who should now be considered this team's new core players. I neglected to mention Reed. He should remain the Mariners' centerfielder of the past, present, and future.

He should be hitting third, however. He's looking like a solid .300 hitter, but doesn't belong in a RBI power slot (4-5-6).

Posted by byebyeSexson

9:31 AM, Jul 06, 2008

Posted by GeoW

10:31 PM, Jul 05, 2008

I just want to add a comment about Richie Sexson.

George, I too noticed that. I want to find a more permanent replacement for Richie but as long as someone keeps writing his name on the card, he can work on getting walks and the occasional single. Then there is the monthly home run to look forward to.

Congrats to Clement. Don't put him at cleanup. He doesn't need more pressure at this point. He also needs a pretty fat pitch to hit with power. Currently he has a couple of strike holes in his swing, but he will improve.

byebye

Posted by Ziasudra

9:35 AM, Jul 06, 2008

Just to expand on my earlier post - the key play (as RAD pointed out) was Clement blocking the plate on Raul's throw. Joh hasn't made that play the whole time he's been here. Anyone who thinks Joh is a better defensive catcher than Jeff better find a video clip of Joh doing that.
And, as much as I bad-mouth Raul's arm, that was the best throw by him in recent memory. Maybe he had some confidence that Jeff could actually complete the play.
That's our replacement for Vidro - Joh as DH.
And as someone else pointed out, Sexson did in fact contribute to the win by taking walks, unlike Beltre.

Posted by Lance

9:40 AM, Jul 06, 2008

Is it just me, or, after this game, does anybody else feel it's time for the Seattle media to learn how pronounce Jeff Clement's name correctly? Hopefully, even his manager will learn to get it right, too. Although, that seems to be the only thing he's getting wrong so far.

On Fox NW Brad Adam gets it wrong half the time. Krueger never gets it right. Which makes you wonder how much other stuff he gets wrong. Blowers struggles with it, too. Only the women on Fox see able to get it right. Mentink always has it right, but she's the biggest pro there.

The radio guys are good with it. Even Niehaus AND Dave Sims. So, if they can do it right there's really no excuse for anyone else. Repeated errors at it should be a justifiable reason for termination.

Posted by Lance

9:48 AM, Jul 06, 2008

The best 1B solution for the Mariners is to re-sign Ibanez over the winter and put him there until Deenis Rabin is ready, which shouldn't be long with his college expeience.

The guy is hitting .867(!) at Everett. Yes, it's a small sample size, but it's still cool to say regardless of the number of ABs (7).

There's absolutely no need to make an expensive long-term FA signing for the position. It'd just block the kid out.

Posted by Ryan

10:30 AM, Jul 06, 2008

No, I don't think Morrow will be a starter when JJ gets back, and I wish people would stop asking that. ERA 0.65. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Too late in the season now to make him a starter.

Posted by Mr. X

10:38 AM, Jul 06, 2008

"Ichiro is only 20 hits away now for 3,000 for his combined NPB/MLB careers.

And the media doesn't care."

And why should they? There is only one Professional baseball league that matters. When players like Andy Sheets, Roberto Petagine, and Orestes Destrade stop going to Japan and turning into superstars, then things like that will matter.

Roberto Petagine doesn't have 235 career home runs, he has 12. Destrade had 20 home runs in 153 real major league games in a season here, but somehow managed to hit 42, 39, and 41 in 130 or less games over there. Andy Sheets had 180 hits in 143 games over there, but only managed 207 hits total in 356 Major League games. He also had an .894 OPS in his first season of Japanese Baseball. Andy Sheets.

You can't compare or combine stats for the two leagues. One is clearly inferior to the other.

Posted by Mr. X

10:57 AM, Jul 06, 2008

As far as Bedard goes, I don't believe that he has been healthy all year, as I've said before. If they don't intend to trade him, I wouldn't be surprised if he were shut down soon to get him ready for next year. I'm surprised it's taking this long, since Bavasi and McLaren aren't around to try to win meaningless games to save their jobs.

It's time to bring some guys up and see what they have. Jettison or trade Sexson, Vidro, Cairo, Washburn, and Batista. Trade or put Bedard on the DL. Put Beltre on the DL for 15 days, bring up Chen, and put Lopez at 3rd and see how he does. Cut or trade Burke. Sit Betancourt for awhile, and bring up Tuiasosopo or Hulett. There will be plenty of room on the 40-man roster. Let's see September come a little earlier this year.

Posted by wag the dog

11:33 AM, Jul 06, 2008

"Bedard's talent is borderline HOF. He's that good. Probably he won't have a long enough career to sniff the hall. But make no mistake, he has that level of talent. Left handers capable of striking out 11/9 just do not come along very often. Like, almost never."

To me, this statement is a bit of hyperbole. HOF? It's not just longevity that makes it unlikely. It's makeup. There are guys with great stuff who aren't great pitchers. IMO, to be a true ace, to be a HOFer, you have to be the guy the whole team knows is going to come out every fifth day and dominate for 7-8 innings. The guy who ends losing streaks. The guy who sets the tone, brings the nasty and gives the whole team a certain "can't lose" swagger. That was Randy Johnson in his prime.

Compare Bedard to a Randy Johnson and I don't think it's close. Bedard's got the flashy ERA and K numbers but he doesn't have the mystique. He's not going to carry his team. He's not going to pitch with a sore back or a sprained ankle. He's not going to throw the first pitch of the World Series high and tight to set the tone. He's not going to give a truly spectacular performance. I really don't think he has the heart of an ace. He's a great number two. But it's a King Felix type who is going to lift the team on his shoulders, shut down losing streaks and really dominate when the chips are down.

I've been at the ballpark for Bedard starts and Felix starts. Maybe it's just me, but I think there's a palpable energy from the players and in the stands when Felix starts that isn't present for a Bedard start.

Bedard's got great stuff. But I wouldn't build a team around him. If I had one game to win and a choice of starting Bedard or Felix, I'd start Felix. I don't think you'd say that about many true HOFers - that you'd start someone else over them in a must win game.

Anyway, good to see Clement get his power stroke on. I think he's had two or three games like this but hasn't yet found the consistency to be a threat the majority of the time. Still, he's looking promising. It's been a while since the Mariners had a guy with true Safeco power. Clement can really hit it out. If Balentin can come back up and do the same, two big bats in the hands of young, energetic players would give the Mariners a dimension they haven't enjoyed much in recent years.

As for Ichiro's 3000th hit, two thoughts: first, while 3000 is impressive as it speaks to longevity, a lot of those hits did come in an inferior league. Second, the media (and fans) like a winner. If the Mariners were playing better as a team, Ichiro's individual accomplishments might merit more interest. If this were his 3000th hit with MLB, it would probably get coverage either way, but combine the fact many of the hits came in Japan with the Mariners being terrible and it really is zzzzzzzzzz........

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