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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 10, 2008 3:22 PM

Mariners at Oakland A's: 07/10 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

sexxson0710 002.jpg

A shot of lovely West Oakland as we bring you today's game between the Richie Sexson-less Mariners and the hometown Athletics. Remember, Ichiro is not playing because of a tight hamstring.

The streak is over. Willie Bloomquist hit a one-out, ground ruled double to the left field corner in the top of the ninth inning for his first extra-base hit in 125 plate appearances this season. Bloomquist then stole third base and was driven home on a double to left by Jose Lopez.

So, it's now a 2-0 game. R.A. Dickey walked the leadoff batter in the eighth, but Sean Green pitched out of the jam. Brandon Morrow now on in the ninth.


14:56 p.m.: R.A. Dickey now takes a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth after Jose Lopez opened the scoring in the top of the frame. Lopez notched a leadoff double past the third base bag to lead things off against Santiago Casilla. He advanced to third on a flyout, then saw Adrian Beltre walked. Jose Vidro then chopped one towards the hole at second base for an infield single that scored the run.

Jeremy Reed looked at a fastball down the middle from Jerry Blevins on a full count with the bases loaded to end the threat.

1:54 p.m.: We're still scoreless heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. Both teams have three hits apiece, with the biggest chance going to the A's when they loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first. Miguel Cairo led off the fifth inning with a single against A's starter Greg Smith. But the lefty promptly picked Cairo off as he leaned off the bag.

A's right fielder Ryan Sweeney left the game in the third inning when he dislocated his pinky finger as he attempted to steal second. Sweeney was thrown out on the play.

R.A. Dickey has retired 13 of his last 15 batters faced.

12:50 p.m.: Still scoreless after an inning of play. A double and two walks helped the A's load the bases with one out against R.A. Dickey. But then Emil Brown grounded one to Richie Se...er, Miguel Cairo at first base and he thre home for the force out. Carlos Gonzalez then grounded out to the shortstop.

The Mariners got a two-out single from Raul Ibanez in the top of the first inning, but Adrian Beltre grounded out to second.

For the reader who asked me whether Richie Sexson was popular in the clubhouse -- yes, pretty popular amongst some players. He seemed a likeable guy the times I spoke with him. He'd been in a tough spot lately. Knew he was going to be let go at some point. I can see why the team would release him if he is going to be unhappy and show it everytime he sits out. He still has influence on players in that clubhouse. You don't want his locker to become the village square for all beefs and gripes in the clubhouse. Not if you know you're going to release him at some point anyway. If he had another year or two left on his contract, it would be a different story. Not saying he was trying to be a clubhouse cancer. I think he handled his tough situation as best he could. But he still had the potential to become a distraction, however unintentional it would have been.


The lineups:

MARINERS (36-55)

16 Willie Bloomquist RF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
3 Jose Vidro DH
2 Kenji Johjima C
13 Miguel Cairo 1B
8 Jeremy Reed CF
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS

41 R.A. Dickey RHP

ATHLETICS (49-42)

14 Mark Ellis 2B
15 Ryan Sweeney RF
45 Wes Bankston 1B
32 Jack Cust DH
8 Emil Brown LF
28 Carlos Gonazalez CF
18 Rob Bowen C
12 Donnie Murphy SS
22 Jack Hannahan 3B

23 Greg Smith LHP

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Posted by cesame

12:58 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Fantastic lineup out there today. Just fantastic.

Posted by rob in richmond (eastcoast)

1:05 PM, Jul 10, 2008

I really don't want to sound like I'm constantly complaining about something, but there is absolutely no reason why Clement shouldn't be in the line-up every damn day!! Why does he sit the bench while we keep playing guys that have no place in this team's future.

Posted by ferrari

1:16 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Geoff:

How will Clement learn how to hit lefties if he never gets to start against them? Sure, he's worse against them, but he needs to learn someday. Why not this season?

Also, don't be hatin' on Oakland... I could take much less flattering pictures of Seattle.

Posted by BrianL

1:20 PM, Jul 10, 2008

I believe Jeff Clement hit lefties better in Tacoma than he did righties...

Posted by byebyeIbanez

1:21 PM, Jul 10, 2008

cesame, it's better than having Ichiro, Mr. I can't hit an extra-baser to save my life, Suzuki and Richie "warning track power" Sexson in the lineup, isn't it?

Posted by Mr. Sabermetrics

1:24 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Mr.Sabermetrics is wondering why they recalled Hulett over say LaHair? Not that LaHair will ever be a league average MLB player but why not call him up instead of another utility infielder?

If Mr. S had to guess I go with they plan to move Willie or Cairo (or even Vidro) soon. Mr. S likes what he's seen in Hulett during Spring Training AND at Tacoma. Those who don't like this aren't paying attention.

Oh, and Riggs is becoming my favorite manager. If Mac was here he'd be saying it was the right thing to do, Richie is a pro, blah blah blah. Riggs called it as he saw it...Sexson couldn't handle sitting on the bench so he had to go now.

Those ripping Riggleman are clueless.

Posted by jayfree

1:29 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Hey Geoff: could you tell staff to print OBP % stats in the paper? And/or Slugging %?

Your stats in paper are behind the times.

Thanks.

Posted by Richie loves tots

1:30 PM, Jul 10, 2008

What a lineup..

Lahair is hurt.. that is why he's not up..

Im laughing at the notion that players may take up complaints are Richie's locker..

So what if they do.. we're 20 games under, and 17 out of first place.. who the heck cares if some of the guys sulk and complain..

I think it's time to move JOhjima to 1B, make him earn that ridiculous contract he's getting..

Posted by BrianL

1:30 PM, Jul 10, 2008

LaHair is out with turf toe.

Posted by Novice

1:32 PM, Jul 10, 2008

I dont think this lineup is that bad. Willie will provide plenty of pop and speed at the top of the order.

Posted by BF Loser

1:43 PM, Jul 10, 2008

I'd much rather see Cairo as the offiesive black hole at first than Richie at 15 mil a year.

A few nagging questions for me, though...

1) Why not strech Brandon Morrow out into a SP role? Why waste his talent as a closer in a lost season? Even if he gets roped a few times trying to develop a second pitch, I think he could easily be a future rotation guy. Try him out.

2) Why not put Batista on the 60 day DL (since he's been "hurt" all season) and keep RRS or R.A. Dickey (or Morrow per above) in the normal rotation? Give the younger guys a chance. They can't suck as bad as Batista has most outings this year.

3) With Richie's departure today, Vidro would logically be next to go (unless his body language is better). Is there no one else in the clubhouse that can "protect" Raul?

4) Why not get J.J. healthy, get a couple outings out of him and trade him to a team that could make a run if they had a closer? With a few good outings I think he is very marketable near the deadline and when you're 20 games under 500 do you really need a lights-out closer?

Just looking for some logic to explain my flawed thinkning...

Posted by RustyJohn

2:01 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Does Riggleman put everyone's name in a hat and then randomly select them? (With the exception of the vaunted RBI threat Vidro, who is reserved the DH spot).

This line-up is so sad. Everyone in that organization and management ought to be ashamed of the sorry sack they are.

By the way, management, I originally intended to buy tickets for a few games this year- then you sucked, so I was only going to buy tickets to the Yankee game, but then you continued to suck and continue to do worse so I won't even do that. Enjoy your lack of revenue you morons.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:04 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Nice tough Geoff - taking a picture of a seedy part of Oakland. Is this your explanation as to why you stay in SF? You are a class act.

Posted by Charles

2:05 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Geoff,
Where did you take that picture of Oakland? From the ballpark?

Ferrari,
There are far worse pics of Oakland that Geoff could have taken. If you think that Seattle has worse neighborhoods than Oakland than you are either from there (and thus the sun fried your brains early on) or your have never been there.

As to the M's it is about time they let Richie go. I wanted him to be great. We all did. But he just isn't that talented.

I agree with rob, Clement should start now.

Posted by Al Martin

2:17 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Yes, Oakland is not one of the nicer places on earth. However, their ballclub is 7 games over .500 - we can be envious of that!

Posted by Lola

2:26 PM, Jul 10, 2008

What kind of pitch is this Siegler guy throwing?!

Posted by Jonathan

2:29 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Reed is the one who cant lefites, he's 1 for his last 26 against them.

Posted by Mike

2:34 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Hey Geoff---meant to say thanks for asking the Vidro as clean-up hitter question. At least the answer is providing laughs nationally.

From Neyer at ESPN. http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=neyer_rob

"But there is no excuse on earth for any team, let alone a team as bad as these Mariners, to waste so much playing time on so many players who aren't a part of the franchise's future. Dumping Sexson makes sense. You have to wonder, though, about an organization that employs a manager who actually believes that Jose Vidro represents "protection". I mean, that's so laughable that you wonder if Jim Riggleman is some sort of Bizzaro Manager who says exactly the opposite of what we know is true."

Posted by D

2:36 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Even gritty, blue collar, favorite backdrop for violent crime drama Baltimore has far more appeal than Oakland (It is Charm City after all). I wouldn't willfully sleep there either. The best thing Oakland has going for it is being a BART ride away from hundreds of good restaurants in SF. That and Billy Beane. Ok, Yoshi's is a half decent jazz club. I can't think of much else.

Speaking of the 1B vacuum, what ever happened to the idea of Clement taking a turn at the cool corner? Failing the signing of a power hitting lefty free agent, he seems the obvious option to me (assuming Joh stays). He's young, spry, and hasn't yet destroyed his knees squatting behind the plate. Please don't say he doesn't want to play first. I don't think that's relevant for a rookie. PT is PT.

Posted by Marinersfan04

2:51 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Regarding the pic of Oakland, that is how much of Oakland is, especially the area around the ballpark. I"m a native San Franciscan, lived on the Berkeley/Oakland border, so I know.

".. who the heck cares if some of the guys sulk and complain." It matters A LOT. You can't begin to change the culture of losing on this team if you don't weed out the malcontents. I agree that body language is another way of saying pouting and sulking, and probably speaking that way too. I've always thought the idea of keeping Richie in the lineup just because of the salary he is drawing was ridiculous. He was given more than enough time to work out his hitting difficulties. I'd rather see an eager rookie from AAA. And if I hear the game announcers say one more time that "Richie still has a lot of good baseball in him" I'll scream. If this is true, why wasn't it showing?

A good move and hopefully the start of more needed moves.


Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:52 PM, Jul 10, 2008

For all the hand-wringing about Vidro in the wake of Sexson's release, it's only fitting that Turbo would drive in the only run of the game to date for either side. Hee.

He still shouldn't be there though.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:57 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Keep an eye on Shannon Drayer's blog over the next day or so, BTW. She may have some insight / alternate perspective on Sexson's demise.

Posted by Ben

2:58 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Wow, Dickey out there for one more inning... i guess the knuckle doesn't tire the arm like normal pitches.

Also - good to see bases loaded, 1 out and no runs score...

Posted by drake

3:12 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Willie's streak is broken... xtra bases!

Posted by BF Loser

3:14 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Didn't Willie break his streak on the first when he hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the 9th against the Jays?

Posted by drake

3:16 PM, Jul 10, 2008

w/r/t the walk-off hit Willie had before - it was ruled a single because the winning run came across before he reached second. So the streak was officially still alive. But not anymore...

Posted by Fred

3:18 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Now that Adrian has been walked twice to get to Vidro I wonder if Rigglemen will be reconsidering his "Vidro Rationale"?


Posted by Bill

3:19 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Uh oh, the secret is out: The A's just walked Beltre to pitch to Vidro. The M's are doomed!

Posted by BF Loser

3:19 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Thanks. I was so overjoyed they won that I completely missed that. I thought that was two signs of the apocalypse in the same game (Richie's two run shot in the 8th being the other sign).

Posted by kr

3:20 PM, Jul 10, 2008

I read this blog most everyday. Never write - until now. Shows what my life has become.

Where are all the Sexson haters saying I told you so? Must be at work. Ha ha. Obviously, Sexson has performed badly. I don't expect him to do any better whereever he signs for the minumum in the NL. Now we will miss both of his home runs every month for $15M. I think that Riggleman is right in giving him a chance, right in getting rid of him now especially if he is crying for not playing after all the time playing.

The main reason for my writing today is to say that you fantasy baseball geeks (most of you) should get a job. You arll need to get a clue. Most of the comments on a daily basis are ridiculous. Just because a player is playing poorly, you can't just get rid of them. As bad as most of the M's are, there isn't anything in the minors, other teams are not going to give away good players, or ones with great potential for marginal M's players.

Having said that, I do not think the M's should be trading all their pitchers. Don't give away Bedard - unless you get back as much as they gave away to get him. He has been "hurt" all year and still has not performed badly. His value is low now and he will not be replaced easily when healthy. Washburn, Silva, Batista are going to get you nothing so keep them. Wash is pitching good, Silva has heart and will figure it out, Batista will be better with rest and health.

What the M's need is offense. I don't think the assets they have will get them much so use the money from Sexson, Vidro, etc to get a 1B, OF with some power in the off season. I agree with making Morrow a SP for next year if JJ is healthy.

Posted by Rubix

3:27 PM, Jul 10, 2008

to do list--

1. Find a GM asap- theres lots of work to bew done.

2. Dump Sexson already, enough is enough

3. Let Morrow get a few starts in. stretch him out

4. Put Elia out to third base coach, see if he can help with our horrible offense.

Posted by Ben

3:30 PM, Jul 10, 2008

And another streak is over... crap... morrow...

Posted by David Gee

3:31 PM, Jul 10, 2008

So Morrow gives up a bomb, blows two guys away, and then another bomb. I say he should just drill the next guy.

Posted by ben

3:36 PM, Jul 10, 2008

It seems that the starting pitchers and the relief pitchers on this team just can't work for each other... when the starters do well the bullpen blows it; when the starters exit early the bullpen is generally solid...

Posted by putzy

3:40 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Now batting for Richie Sexson, Felix Hernandez !

Posted by Rick Rizz

3:42 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Rubix, uh you might want to check the blog entry right before this one for info on your #2. Just fyi, ok TTYL bye.

Posted by Sam

3:47 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Anyone listening to Niehaus today? It's worse than usual. The Bloomquist double call was embarassing ("No, the streak isn't broken, as the ball bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.") I'm wondering if this might not be his last season. And, if it is, I sure hope the M's fire Rizzs and get a major-league announcer.

Posted by Damon

3:47 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Ok so you took a picture of a run down part of Oakland. You can also take one from San Francisco or any other city for that matter. I guess that you are trying to be cute or maybe you are looking for something in your price range. Maybe you are trying to deflect attention away from your lame pre-season predictions that the A's would stink and the Mariners would be good. When the game is over go up to the Oakland Hills where you will see several hundred multi-million dollar homes with fantastic views of the Bay. Homes that you cannot afford.

Posted by Dave from the coast

3:48 PM, Jul 10, 2008

As far as that picture of Lower East Oakland, remind me not to move there anytime soon. Truly the backyard of San Quentin.

Posted by scottM

3:49 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Tied, bottom of the 10th, after Morrow tanks, will this team find a way to win.

Is Riggleball for real??

Will Burke pitch today?

Posted by Dave from the coast

3:55 PM, Jul 10, 2008

I know Dave Niehaus makes mistakes...I know he's getting old...but, leave him out of these comments...he's a treasure. He lets the game Breathe...he doesn't fill every 5 second-gap of silence with mindless trivia the way Rizzs does. Dave Niehaus is Chicago's Harry Carey and should be appreciated as such.

Posted by Don't kid yourself

4:00 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Oakland is the dingiest big city on the west coast. There's no way around it.

Posted by Sam

4:02 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Dave from the coast, you're right. I really didn't mean to slam Niehaus, just noting that it's getting a bit harder to listen to him. Rizzs really is the issue. He really belongs in the minors.

I'd like the M's to hire a color guy who can actually proivde intelligent insights into the players, both M's and opponents. I agree that Niehaus is the treasure here, so he needs to be augmented by someone who can say something (other than stats) about, say, Ryan Sweeney or Carlos Gonzalez.

But I agree that Niehaus is a keeper.

Posted by David Gee

4:03 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Oooooh Damon, you told us! Great comeback. Damon should pull the cork out of his butt and not take the confusing world around him so seriously.

Posted by Damon

4:08 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Whatever.......And the Mariners still suck and have never won anything..........

Posted by David Gee

4:12 PM, Jul 10, 2008

116 games. The A's never did. Not the Oakland A's. Not the Kansas City A's. And not the Philadelphia A's. And before you say (in a pronounced lisp), "Yeah well, the Mariners didn't win the World Series that year", so what? Over 100 teams have won a World Series. Two teams have won 116 games. And don't even try another comeback. Just don't. You don't have it in you, trust me. Seriously.

Posted by Charles

4:16 PM, Jul 10, 2008

I am guessing that Damon's house must be in that pic for him to be so sensitive. Great logic by the way - Oakland isn't a lousy place to live because the Mariners suck. You're a genius Damon.

Posted by delc

4:24 PM, Jul 10, 2008

nice cheap shot on oakland.

i grew up in seattle for my first 25 years but have been in the bay area since '97...i've done the full loop: lived in sf, alameda, sj, belmont and now oakland (hils) and its the best place to live in the bay area in my opinion. great restaurants in the berkeley/oakland area, got bart, great diversity and less fog than sf.

it'd be very easy to go to the CD in seattle and find the equilivent...***very easy***.

come up to my neighborhood in the hills and tell me it sucks...go to rockridge and tell me oakland's a dump...jog around lake merrit and tell me its not just like greenlake but with a backdrop of downtown.

sad stuff...

ps: go Ms!

Posted by Don't kid yourself

4:37 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Greenlake has the back drop of trees and nice houses. Lake Merritt has the back drop of the most ghetto downtown on the west coast.

Posted by delc

4:47 PM, Jul 10, 2008

and if you believe that, you haven't traveled much...but i think you already knew this.


you're welcome...


Posted by Damon

5:10 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Charles, I did not make a statement that there was a logical relationship between the picture of Oakland and the fact that the Mariners suck. So you may want to go back and read what I wrote.... u putz (oh sorry that is the name of your closer).

And the Mariners have never won anything.....So what they won 116 games. They have no rings...

Posted by Charles

5:25 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Damon,

Your are the king of red herrings. As such, I suspect you are right at home in Oakland. You probably resent those Berkeley kids and their big words.

I have to admit though, the putz thing was funny.

Posted by phillie12

8:33 PM, Jul 10, 2008

Tough loss today. Morrow's been great but today wasn't his day. My day was made when the finally told Richie to hit the road. He's been a dog for two years and needed to go. While not the only offensive problem, he was a major one. And if he expects to continue to play every day while hitting .205, he needs a change of venue. Maybe Boys Town. His Dave Kngman approach at the plate wasn't cutting it.
Why all the lack of love for Willie Bloomquist? He has brought some things to the table since he's had a chance to play more. He can steal a base, plays some nice defense anywhere you put him and hustles every day. How do you not appreciate his energy and pro approach to the game? And what was up with his skipper's critical wise-crack about him. Was that a mis-quote?
Try Clement at first base. If they want the 16 million dollar Joh around, teach Clemnt some footwork at first base. Catchers are used to catching short-hops and it really is not rocket-science to do justice over there despite what Mike Piazza wanted us to think. Clement will eventually hit and he would be an improvement over Vidro and Cairo.
And when Clemnt does catch, can he throw the ball back to the pitcher like he means it? That noodle-armed lob doesn't look very Pudge-like.
SAuMtnMan laments not drating Tim Lincecum. Oh, if we all had a crystal ball. The M's drafted Brandon Morrow ahead of Lincecum in the 2006 dratf. At the time this was the safest pick and very understandable from a scouting perspective. Any cross-checker looking at a first-round prospect would go for the 6'5", 220 lb guy with an easy 98 mph fastball over a 6'0" 170 lb guy with a 98 mph fastball with more violent, herky-jerky looking mechanics. They were afraid he'd break down. I hope Tim doesn't but the pick was no mystery. It's not like the M's got crap. This isn't Sam Bowie picked over Michael Jordan just yet.

Posted by Dave from the coast

11:42 AM, Jul 11, 2008

I've gotta say this about Rizzs...yeah, it's maddening listen to him and his endless barrage of trivia. Sometimes I've found myself screaming at the radio, "RIZZS, SHUT UUUUUUP!!!!!" That said, he seems like a really nice guy, and he does try to fill a role that makes everyone else in the booth sound their best (when they can get a word in edgewise), and for the last 10 years, Rizzs and Niehaus have been pretty-much my summertime companions. I notice this year, that the rapport between Niehaus and Rizzs seems to be a lot better. If Rizzs could just learn to let the game "breathe" a little bit, to let the 'ambience' of the game come in between well-spaced comments, he'd be really good. Rizzs seems to come from the Bob Costas school of sports announcing in which every single excruciating second is filled up with something. Yeah, Rizzs does have a brain for baseball, for sure...he just needs to space things out a bit.

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