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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 8, 2008 10:03 PM

M's lose really quickly

Posted by Geoff Baker

Not much to say about this game, a 2-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics in which the M's tallied just two hits. A Richie Sexson double in the fifth and a Miguel Cairo single in the sixth. Justin Duchscherer went the distance on 105 pitches, allowing just two hits. Faced only 30 batters.

Game time was one hour, 49 minutes. That's the shortest game time-wise the M's have played all year. It was only 10 minutes slower than the team's quickest game ever on the road.

The Mariners have scored just four runs in their last 33 innings. They've tallied zero runs in their last 17 frames. This game was so fast, I don't even have time to put up a post-game photo. Sorry about that. You didn't miss much.

Three losses in a row by the M's. More tough luck for Carlos Silva, who needed only 94 pitches to get through eight innings. That's back-to-back complete games by starters. But it doesn't matter. Well, it might matter a bit in the long run. Here's why.

Silva has been working all year to figure out why his sinker isn't working the way he'd like. It isn't sinking much. That's a big reason why he needed 100 pitches to get through five innings against the Tigers last Thursday.

It turns out, Silva made a between-starts mechanical adjustment. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, an ex-sinkerballer himself, felt Silva was squeezing the ball too hard. So, instead of holding his hands up near his chest as he began his windup -- which Silva felt caused his arms to press together and his fingers to grip the ball tighter -- he held them at waist level tonight.

"We've been trying so many things,'' Silva said of the work he's done between starts with Stottlemyre. "We've been working so hard.''

Silva had even apologized to Stottlemyre after one recent loss, figuring all his hard work had been wasted by a poor outing.

Silva needed a few innings to get used to the mechanical change tonight. Unfortunately for him, that's when all the game's runs were scored. But a team needs to score to win. That's not his fault. By the middle innings, though, he felt as relaxed on the mound as he has all season.

And now that he's got a complete-game under his belt, Silva hopes he can be more like the pitcher the M's thought they were getting when they signed him to that four-year, $48-million deal.

"Five innings, 100 pitches, that's not me,'' Silva said.

Silva has thrown a team-high 112 2/3 innings this season, so the longevity is there. It's just the quality of some of those innings that's been lacking. Take Silva's innings and Erik Bedard's stinginess over short periods and you'd have the perfect ace.


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July 8, 2008 8:37 PM

Mariners at Oakland Athletics: 07/08 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Blink and you might miss this game. It's already the eighth inning, with the Mariners down 2-0. A great game pitched by Carlos Silva so far. And the M's have finally started to "work" Justin Duchscherer, making him throw 30 pitches the last two innings. But Duchscherer enters the eighth with only 79 pitches thrown. He's working on a two-hitter. The M's have just four runs in their last 31 innings. Zero in their last 16.

For those of you asking about the ethics behind Pat Gillick perhaps wanting to overpay in an Erik Bedard trade now, as GM of the Phillies, so he'd have some talent in Seattle as the rumored incoming president of the Mariners, I'd say that's an intriguing question. There is no way to guard against it. Gillick would never sabotage his current team. He has a reputation as a winner, a guy who puts teams over the top. He'd love to do it with the Phillies. But giving away prospects? Who would not be missed by the 2008 Phillies? Well, he's also got the reputation as a guy who leaves farm systems in disarray after he uses them up acquiring players in "win now" fashion.

But could you ever prove he was willingly playing both ends against the middle? Nope. Especially not with his reputation for wanting to win now and being willing to sacrifice prospects. That's his M.O. If he keeps doing it, no one can call foul, can they? Especially if the Phils were to get in a bidding war with, say, the St. Louis Cardinals and an extra player needed to be thrown in to sweeten the pot? It would be a very unusual situation, no doubt. I'm sure that if Gillick is now entertaining any thoughts of joining the M's next season, he would not do anything silly that would warrant an investigation later on. Like an out-and-out fleecing of his own farm system. But then again, what is a fleece? The M's gave up five players for Bedard. If Gillick gives up four, is that a fleece? He'll just say the market for Bedard was set by Bill Bavasi.

In the end, the game relies on integrity. All sports do, to a certain extent. When that integrity gets sullied, by gambling, steroid use and other stuff, the sports themselves suffer. I don't think Gillick, at his age and with what he's accomplished in baseball, would do anything to embarrass himself or his legacy. It's just not worth it. For what? So, he can get the M's to the playoffs again? He wouldn't even be the GM, the way the rumor goes. But if some fans think the M's received a player too many in a deal, well, it would lead to interesting coffee table discussion, that's for sure. But we're a long way from that.

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July 8, 2008 5:45 PM

Bedard out; Beane strikes again

Posted by Geoff Baker

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A look above at Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, who just traded pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs for four players, including pitcher Sean Gallagher and outfielder Matt Murton. My girlfriend, Amy, is in the stands at Wrigley Field tonight, taking in the game (guess I drew the short straw on that exchange) and tells me the fans there seem pleased. Over here? We'll see.

Before we get into that a bit more, let me tell you that Erik Bedard has been scratched until after the all-star break. Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said moments ago that he'd rather not risk sending Bedard back out there too early. Looks like he'll start about the fourth game after the break, giving him a nice, long layoff to recover from all his hurts. For now, Jarrod Washburn goes Saturday and Carlos Silva on Sunday.

Back to Beane. He said today's deal hinged on the willingness of the Cubs to include Gallagher in the deal.

"It's always tough letting talented players go,'' he said. "But it's always nice acquiring talented players.''

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July 8, 2008 11:23 AM

Bedard on Philly radio

Posted by Geoff Baker

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A great morning here in San Francisco as I peer out my hotel window in the Nob Hill section of town. That water you see out there is the bay, where the Golden Gate bridge is off to the left, out of view of the camera. Beats downtown Oakland, which is a 20-minute train ride away. It's a million light years away from Marshalltown, Iowa. For those of you who keep writing in, please, stop. I know, I know. Jeff Clement is from Iowa and not Indiana, as I accidentally wrote in my newspaper notebook. My mistake. My apologies. That's what happens when you're trying to do 10 things at once with a deadline looming. The first casulaty, once in a while, can be the truth. But I do know Iowa from Indiana. Iowa has the potatoes, right? Kidding.

Erik Bedard went on Philadelphia radio with the local ESPN affiliate yesterday, as rumors continue to swirl about the Phillies now itching to land him in a deal. He didn't say anything overly inflammatory, other than blaming the media for his image troubles, insinuating it makes stuff up. Well, uh, only when we try to pass off Indiana for Iowa. Other than that, well, maybe if Bedard feels he's being unfairly portrayed, he can speak up and set the record straight before some potential misperceptions get out of hand? Just an idea. But he chose the path he now finds himself on. To imply otherwise seems a bit silly.

Anyhow, back to the interview. He didn't openly welcome a trade to Philadelphia, saying all the politically correct things. Then again, he didn't exactly turn it down either. I think if he gets criticized for this interview at all, it will be for actually going on the air in a city where the team is thinking of trading for him.

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with players giving interviews. I think they should do it as often as possible and be far more open and honest than they usually are. But let's get real, here. Bedard usually puts total effort into steering as far clear of the media as he possibly can. He turned down the entire Toronto press corps during a visit to that city last month. Now, he's granting a radio interview in the city rumored to be his hottest landing point in a trade? I don't think it would be unfair for some to speculate that he may be greasing the skids for a deal out of town. Either that, or he's decided to turn over a new leaf. If it's the latter, good on him.

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