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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 7, 2008 6:01 PM

Hernandez to start Friday

Posted by Geoff Baker

oak0707 003.jpg

Greetings from Oakland. The travel here would have made a good video. My Alaska Airlines flight was over an hour late, forcing me to go from the San Francisco Airport directly to the ballpark, suitcase and all. I'm staying in San Francisco this time and had hoped to fly in there, drop the bags off at the hotel, then hop the rapid transit train to here. But nope. This is what flying in the U.S. has come to these days. The system just isn't reliable. Not if you need to be somewhere at a precise time, without several hours of flexibility. Good job everyone, keep up the splendid work.

On the positive side, I had a nice conversation with my cabbie as he sped at 85 mph up the freeway towards Oakland, trying to avoid getting caught in rush-hour traffic. He asked me what Seattle was doing for power and whether Jay Buhner was still with the M's. Told him nothing and no. But I had a good laugh.

On to baseball, Felix Hernandez is to start on Friday in Kansas City. You can see Hernandez, above, getting set to audition as an extra in Pirates of the Caribbean IV. No, no, he's just finished a workout with trainer Rick Griffin. Anyhow, he goes Friday, Carlos Silva tomorrow, then Miguel Batista, then R.A. Dickey. Erik Bedard could go on Saturday or Sunday depending on how his shoulder feels. If not, Ryan Rowland-Smith will start in his place. Read Rowland-Smith's latest blog post on prolebrity.com right here.

I asked Mariners manager Jim Riggleman whether he's tempted to just rest Bedard until after the All-Star Break.

"That's certainly a possibility,'' he said. "But it's going to be determined by how he feels and the doctor.''

Riggleman and the team will keep apprised of how Bedard's shoulder feels.

"If it's a little achy, I think we'll probably end up doing that,'' he said of skipping Bedard in favor of Rowland-Smith.

By the way, if Jarrod Washburn goes out and gets lit up for seven runs over three innings tonight, I don't want to hear from any of you. The question isn't whether Washburn can sustain this pace the rest of the year. I don't care if he does or doesn't. This team's biggest trade deadline question is whether a team out there feels Bedard can do better than this pace (of the past six weeks) moving forward for the final two months of 2008. If they feel he can't do it, or might not, then the trade returns likely won't be substantial. If the M's do get something significant back, it will be because a team is either desperate, or actually does think he can turn things up a notch this season. Simple as that. The Washburn comparison was made to show that Bedard's actual results have been no better over a six-week span. Not to advocate Washburn as the better choice. To show what the M's are up against in perhaps needing to change some perceptions if they wish to deal Bedard and get some returns back.

Anyhow, Jeff Clement is back in at DH tonight, so many of you will be happy about that. Richie Sexson is in there as well, batting fifth. I know many of you -- most of you -- won't like that.

oak0707 013.jpg

The lineups:

MARINERS (35-53)

51 Ichiro RF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
44 Richie Sexson 1B
2 Kenji Johjima C
9 Jeff Clement DH
16 Willie Bloomquist CF
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS

56 Jarrod Washburn LHP


OAKLAND (47-41)

14 Mark Ellis 2B
15 Ryan Sweeney RF
32 Jack Cust DH
8 Emil Brown LF
24 Kurt Suzuki C
28 Carlos Gonzalez RF
45 Wes Bankston 1B
22 Jack Hannahan 3B
2 Gregorio Petit SS

30 Dana Eveland RHP

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Posted by Chopper58

6:08 PM, Jul 07, 2008

Well at least Vidro our power DH is sitting

Posted by Captain High Top The Love Commander

6:11 PM, Jul 07, 2008

Well, I tell ya this lineup is just damn awesome! I bet Eveland is shaky shakin in his boots! When will it end

but hey at least our D has been making some plays! Reed ol boy even got a WEB GEM yeeeeeaah baby!

Posted by Clambaker

6:12 PM, Jul 07, 2008

Why isn't Reed in CF????

Posted by M's Fan

6:22 PM, Jul 07, 2008

Why isn't Reed in CF????
I was wondering the same thing...

Posted by fish93

6:27 PM, Jul 07, 2008

Did anyone see the interview with Bedard on Mariners Live. HE said he likes doing the one on one interviews better then the after the game group interviews. He actually seemed pretty nice during the interview.

Posted by fish93

6:28 PM, Jul 07, 2008

It was Mariners All Access not Mariners Live.

Posted by Captain Hightop The Love Commander

6:37 PM, Jul 07, 2008

Reed ain't in CF cuz Riggy has a boner for Bloomy

Posted by AKMarinersFan

6:38 PM, Jul 07, 2008

well duh...fly into Oakland. What did you expect. You are covering a baseball game not going o vacation.

Posted by Fletcher

6:48 PM, Jul 07, 2008

I love Sexson/Joh back-to-back in the lineup. This way it doubles our chances for inning-ending double plays. Let Clement bat 5th and catch, and play Reed in Center.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

6:53 PM, Jul 07, 2008


Yea & the cab ride is coming out of your check...

Let me guess...

Girlfriend Amy is along & wanted to stay in SF?

Why wouldn't you want to stay in beautiful downtown Oakland???

Just kidding...

Posted by Batter Up!!!

6:55 PM, Jul 07, 2008


Opps! Beautiful as in Oakland and Amy...

Posted by Rick B.

6:58 PM, Jul 07, 2008

So, how many days rest until Burke is available out of the bullpen again?

Posted by Rick B.

7:01 PM, Jul 07, 2008

By the way, Geoff... how many times has Sexson come up with the bases loaded this year and and how many times has he failed to drive in a run? I haven't counted, but it sure seems to be happening all the time.

Posted by Lola

7:06 PM, Jul 07, 2008

(Pirates IV. Pirates III has already come out)

Posted by Greased Scotsman

7:07 PM, Jul 07, 2008

I have to believe Riggy is playing Willie so much just to make a point to Chuck and Howie... that point being, "SEE!? DO PEOPLE FRAKKING SEE WHAT THE YOU'RE GIVING ME TO WORK WITH!?!?!? THIS GUY HASN"T HAD AN EXTRA BASE HIT IN ALMOST TWO YEARS!!"

Or, you know, something to that effect.

And why.... oh, why, is Richie Sexson still on the roster? Are they actually shopping him? "Showcasing" him? Does someone have interest in trading FOR him? Can anyone explain the "Enamored with Mediocrity" phenomenon in this front office? Please?

Its just... painful to watch, even when you're actively trying to not pay attention. I mean, there I was flipping through the channels yesterday, and I saw tens of thousands of people in Safeco field, rooting the M's on as if they were in a playoff race, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there are 161 games ASIDE from that one, and that cumulatively, the goal is to win more games than you lose. THAT is the major problem. As long as the people keep turning out like that, for a team 20 games under .500 and 18 games out of first place.... what incentive do they really have to improve the product on the field? The people keep coming, they keep spending and cheering... Why would they change anything else now? The "If you build it, they will come" formula seems to be successful for them, unfortunately.

Why do I get this pit-of-the-stomach feeling this team is going to finish with about a .500 record under Riggy and they are going to get bound by indecision and inaction - AGAIN?! And not make any more moves - AGAIN... and mistakenly think its a playoff contender going into next year.... AGAIN!?

And Geoff.... an Alaska Airlines flight was late?! THE HE*L YOU SAY!!! You're KIDDING ME!!! I am simply STUNNED by this.

Wait, no I'm not.

Oh, man, seriously I stopped flying to Seattle earlier this year after the 6th or 7th flight in a row delayed by 1-4 hours. The hassle and annoyance of the entire airport experience, then to be delayed for indefinite and unacceptable periods of time is just not worth the time saved, and most of the time the whole process took just as long for the 1-hour flight as it did for the 5-hour drive anyways.

Peace out, yo.

Posted by Mr. X

7:09 PM, Jul 07, 2008

"how many times has Sexson come up with the bases loaded this year and and how many times has he failed to drive in a run?"

8 at-bats, 1 hit (single), 6 rbi, 2 walks.

Posted by Al

7:24 PM, Jul 07, 2008

I just don't understand why the M's keeping trotting Clement out at DH and not Ibanez or Johjima.

Clement at DH

13 games 45 AB 22SO .089 BA .196 OBP .111SLG .307OPS

Clement at Catcher

14 games 46 AB 12SO .283 BA .382 OBP .630SLG 1.012OPS

Yeah talk about night and day, but hey I guess the better headline is "CLEMENT STRUGGLING" right?

How about "Ibanez still not DH'ing because he's oh so Valuable in LF" ?

Well then again they sat Clement in the 15 inning game the day after he basically single handedly won the game the night before.

Posted by watever

8:16 PM, Jul 07, 2008

I say this team just trades or releases anyone on the team with a batting average below .250 and then we see what we get and piece together a pretty good team and wait for the offseason, btw Geoff your a great writer and even tho we have sucked this year its been great reading what you've had to say and i'm glad you've become so close with all the bloggers here

Posted by Brad

8:17 PM, Jul 07, 2008

Always take Southwest. Always. Best on time and they fly into the faster (i.e., smaller) airports. Besides, the Oakland airport is right next to the stadium. What were you thinking? You could have even hopped the AirBart bus to the coliseum.

Posted by Thoan

8:21 PM, Jul 07, 2008

Oakland has two right fielders tonight! I didn't realize we'd stacked our lineup with lefties.

Posted by dave from the coast

9:47 PM, Jul 07, 2008

I'm kinda thinking Bedard already knows in advance that his shoulder will be hurting, so he won't have to start until after the all-star game.

Posted by Amanda

12:46 PM, Jul 08, 2008

I LOVE it!!!!! Keep hittin home Richie!!!!!!!!!!!!

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