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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 12, 2008 8:00 PM

Morrow blows another

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Brandon Morrow got the first two outs of the ninth, then walked Billy Butler. David DeJesus hit the next pitch into the right field bullpen to hand the Mariners a 5-4 loss. Stunning development.

A good job by Jarrod Washburn in not letting that 39-pitch first inning do him in. Washburn held on and stayed in the game for six innings, throwing 111 pitches. The bullpen took over from there, with Sean Green and Arthur Rhodes carrying things though to the ninth and Morrow getting the first two outs.

But it was not to be.

One of you, I believe it was ScottM, brought up the point about all the mental miscues tonight. Well, it might have gone unnoticed in most of the post-game discussion here so far, but I can tell you the Mariners noticed. Mariners manager Jim Riggleman addressed the players post-game and let them know they can't keep giving away extra outs or ruining chances at extra runs.

"I just reminded them that we do not have an offensive club out there right now that's going to overcome a lot of mistakes,'' Riggleman said after his team's sixth loss in seven games. "Things happen that we have to minimize because we are not scoring seven or eight runs a game.''

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Riggleman later added: "When you make a mistake, that mistake has to be seen by the whole club. The worst thing will be if somebody else repeats that same mistake.''

In other words, he doesn't want one guy making a mistake one night and then another guy doing the same thing two weeks later. It's not enough to say "Hey, I've never done that before.'' When one guy does it, the whole team has done it. That's the way he's looking at things.

And as we mentioned in the game thread, he has to. This team, this offense, will lose 110 games at this rate. When you score four runs per game at most, the margin for error is just about zero.

Riggleman talked about Jeremy Reed getting thrown out at home when he was already assured of being on third with only one out. That's probably the fifth run right there. You score that, the walk to Butler would not have seemed as dire. Whether the mistake is mental, like Yuniesky Betancourt getting doubled off first on a routine flyout to right, or the result of being too aggressive, like Reed, Riggleman says they both fit into the same destructive category right now.

"Jeremy's hustling,'' he said. "It's an aggressive mistake. But we just can't do that.''

There was the throwing error by Jose Vidro in the first inning that helped lead to two unearned runs. The failure to turn a double play on a ball Adrian Beltre held on to a split second too long -- though that was probably the least of the miscues tonight. I tend to give Beltre the benefit of the doubt because he does make tough plays on defense.

But that scoop attempt by Vidro on Beltre's one-hopped throw later on was awful. No more runs scored on that play, but it did force Washburn to throw more pitches.

Riggleman went easy on Morrow. Said he's been throwing lights-out for so long that he was bound to have a setback or two. Thing is, he added, he was still looking lights-out on those first two batters of the inning.

Could this be a valuable lesson for Morrow? After all, he's given up three home runs his last two outings, blowing two saves. He hadn't had this type of adversity to overcome before. Can he learn from it? Maybe, maybe not.

"I don't know, it's tough to say that I've learned anything,'' Morrow said. "The pitches they hit out were fastballs down the middle that I've gotten away with plenty of other times.''

We'll see what happens from here.

But one thing's for sure. This team will contemplate several trades over the next few weeks. They'll probably part ways with some players. Jobs will be won and lost. But whatever changes occur, this team has got to start playing the game right. There can't be a tolerance for the way this team has tossed away chances to win this season. No tolerance for mental mistakes by the same offenders. Are the Mariners a "country club"in the true sense? Not sure about that one. But they are a team where players have gotten away repeatedly with mistakes. Where players have been allowed to severely underperform and keep getting trotted out there night after night.

Until that culture changes, until this team becomes a place where mediocrity is held accountable, it will stay mediocre and keep losing. No matter who is brought in. Richie Sexson was the first step at what could be a major housecleaning. But the house has to be cleaned. If the players can't clean it themselves, somebody will need to do it for them.

Oh yeah, Horacio Ramirez just looked like Cy Young himself. He was tonight's winning pitcher.

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Posted by ethan

6:49 PM, Jul 12, 2008

well at least Kenji doesnt have a stupid ugly "DONT BLAME ME" facial expression 24-7.

Posted by Quinault

6:49 PM, Jul 12, 2008

I see that we turned HoRam into a winner. Fire sale now.

Posted by 11Records

6:50 PM, Jul 12, 2008

You can't walk a guy in 4 pitches in that situation and put the tying run on base. That's embarrassing. And, that's why he grooved one down the middle to DeJesus - who happens to be an A.S. caliber player.

Bad times. Very bad times.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

6:54 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Loss # 58 and counting...

Posted by 2009

6:55 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Silly me for thinking wins were, at least hypothetically, possible in the Riggleman administration! Every day, a new way to lose...
Walked into the TV room after dinner and literally "Hey we're up in the bottom of the 9th with two outs - Morrow's pitch - Oh !@#$%^!, we just lost!"

Posted by Bums

6:58 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Weird how Morrow starts looking human as Putz gets closer to returning. Guess he can't severely outperform the overpaid bunch forever or he would make them look pathetic.

Posted by Tom

6:59 PM, Jul 12, 2008

The Mariners season in a nutshell right there.


Hey Brandon, THROW MORE PITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!

For the love of pete, if a hitter is sitting on the fastball all the time and you keep throwing it, what do you think will happen???

God, this whole season is just painful.

Posted by Scott

6:59 PM, Jul 12, 2008

It is going to be really interesting to see how Morrow responds to adversity. If he responds well, a true sign of a good closer. I hope that if there is a save situation tomorrow, Riggleman runs Morrow right back out there.

Did anyone else just sense that HR coming from DeJesus after the walk? ...

Posted by cesame

7:01 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Maybe it's destiny that Strasburg becomes a Mariner. Works for me.

Posted by Jonathan

7:03 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Team needs action now.

A) Washburn pitched awesome after a slow start. His value probably won't get any better, time to move him.

B) I'm fully on boat with Morrow to the rotation but we can't just throw him in there. He needs to go down to the minors and add more pitches then his fastball. Every earned run he's given up this year has been via home run. I believe he's given up 5 home runs on the year now in only 30 or something innings. If I'm not mistaken thats the worst on the team.

C) Vidro experiment needs to end now.

D) Congrats to Tug for his first ML hit.

E) I'm not a big fan of Jeremy Reed as anything more than a 4th or 5th out field. Isn't a good baserunner, is horrible against lefties. Bleh

Posted by Bums

7:03 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Maybe now when Putz returns he will become the closer again and this organization comes to their senses and start to stretch Morrow's arm out to become a starter like he should be. You do not draft a guy very high to be a closer, especially when he is supposed to be some dominate starter.

Posted by Mariner Fan, but won't admit it in public

7:03 PM, Jul 12, 2008

What a bunch of friggin' losers. It's time to clear house, nobody is untouchable. The losing attitude needs to be purged.

Posted by ethan

7:03 PM, Jul 12, 2008

looks like someone needs to hand Morrow a blog from the stands.

Posted by Tom

7:09 PM, Jul 12, 2008

What good is Strasburg gonna do when Lincoln, Armstrong, and Nintendo are still here ruining this team and leaving this organization to rot.

I'm so sick of the attitude of this organization just waiting to make money and having to sign players because their from a certain country.

How 30,000 people a game want to keep watching this crap is beyond me.

I mean, my God, this is what this organization has come to, rooting for the team to lose so we get a certain draft pick. What a pathetic way to go about things.

And until Nintendo sells the team to Chris Larson, this dysfunctional franchise will never change.

Posted by Briguy17

7:11 PM, Jul 12, 2008


I feel for you, man. It seems like you have to cover all of the tough games/losses while Romero/Wyrich/Stone/O'Neil get to cover the wins.

I'd really wonder what the M's record is when you cover their games... probably pretty bad.

Posted by 11Records

7:13 PM, Jul 12, 2008

on the "insult to injury" continuum, having HoRam get the win is pretty high up there.

Posted by Fredo

7:13 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Great result tonight

1)Washburn keeps his trade value pretty high

2)Morrow blows another save, making it less likely they will waste his future in the bullpen

3)We stay in the hunt for the #1 overall pick in 2009

Anybody who actually sits around and get upset over losses like this.. I applaud you for being diehard fans, but seriously, there is no point in winning games at this point.. especially when half this roster doesnt figure into the future.. the manager doesnt figure into the future.. the interim GM doesnt figure into the future, etc...

It's better to lose.. so that we get the best draft pick possible... so we can take a franchise arm or bat..

Plus, losing makes the new GM more inclined to blow up this poorly equipped roster.. losing also assures us that Pelekoudas doesnt get hired, nor do we retain Riggleman..

Nice guy.. okay manager..but we can certainly do better

Posted by scottM

7:14 PM, Jul 12, 2008

GEOFF, Yuni deserves to be ripped, and Reed. Who's to say that those two base running gaffs weren't the difference in this game. You're right. The lack of concentration and repeated bonehead plays by the likes of Yuni and Lopez have got to stop if the M's are going to change the team culture.

Losing that 15 inning game burst the bubble on Riggleball. Losing today shattered any illusions that this team is playing with heart and focus.

Today showed that Vidro is worthless at 1st. Why is he still with the team?

Time for an extensive try-out. Bring up LaHair and Balentien, and anybody else the M's have with promise. Let's see if we can find players with heart, focus and skill.

Posted by GrannyHelder

7:15 PM, Jul 12, 2008

The #1 pick assures us the top college arm..

Which means Bedard can be dealt for some young bats.. because we'd still have Felix-#1 pick-Morrow to head a rotation..

Keep hoping we lose

Posted by Gary

7:16 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Holy Crap!

Horacio Ramirez - 7 batters, 7 outs on 21 pitches. That is awful. Did he ever get 7 consecutive outs at any time last year???

Vidro has to go during the all-star break. Period!!

Morrow needs to be a starter.

In 2009 Fields and Putz can take care of the 8th and 9th innings.

Posted by UberTrac

7:17 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Stop ripping Lopez.. kid has been our best offensive player all yr. His translated hitting stats are fantastic.

Yuni on the other hand is garbage. Wish they could get rid of him

Posted by Nelson

7:21 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Geoff, You dont know anything about baseball. I am tired of people saying Brandon Morrow is good. He throws the ball right down the middle, has no offspeed pitches, he is a thrower, not a pitcher. This team is flat out garbage. There is not one player on this team that is untradeable. Yes, even Felix is tradeable for the right deal.

Geoff, how do I get a job talking about sports, I know more about the game of baseball then anyone. I almost played college ball, i was on matt tuiasasopo's summer team while i was 17 and 18. I know this game. Help me get a job

Posted by Jonathan

7:22 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Lopez is still a so-so fielder but he's one of the leagues better hitting second basemen. He's probably the only offensive player to meet expectations this year , maybe Ibanez can be included. I see why people are losing faith in Betancourt. He just doesn't seem to take that leader SS role that Jeter does. Heck I miss the days of A-Rod and Carlos Guillen putting in 100% at the position.

Posted by David Gee

7:27 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Talk about the offense, talk about the defense, talk about the pitching, but here's the thing about the Mariners: THEY JUST FIND A WAY TO LOSE. Today? Our closer, who had been phenomenal, half-asses a fastball to some bum for his second straight blown save. Whatever it takes to lose. up, seven down against HoRam, who couldn't get me out on my worst day (and I SUCK). Whatever it takes to lose.

Posted by David Gee

7:30 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Nelson, you might want to watch the game and try to learn something before you hit your keyboard. Morrow, even with the two straight blown saves, thus far has a WHIP this season of about 1.00...which is GREAT. When you're only giving up an average of one baserunner per inning, you don't suck. Don't believe me? Go to and look up the seasons in which pitchers had WHIPs of around 1.00. You'll notice a lot of low ERAs and usually a lot of wins.

Posted by ethan

7:33 PM, Jul 12, 2008


Posted by Lenny Randle's Breath

7:35 PM, Jul 12, 2008

As a group they don't have it. I've watched almost every game since the end of may and they do not play well together. The infield? Please destroy. I don't care what the stats say. They don't look good together.

Please hurry to make changes. Yuck. It's obvious by now. Not a winning combo.

Posted by DistantFan

7:36 PM, Jul 12, 2008

The 2008 Mariners slogans...

"Choose To Lose"
"No Mo' Mojo"
"With Attendance Almost as Bad as the Sonic's"
"In It To Win The #1 Draft Pick"
"As Bad as the Kingdome Years- But With a View!!!"
"My O My God This Team Sucks"
"Hey- At Least We're Not the Nationals"
"Come Down to the Ballpark- the Red Hydroplane Might Win!"
"The Tacoma Rainiers' Expansion Park"
"It's the 2001 Team, Only in Reverse"
"Rallies Are For Car Races"
"Free DFA Player with Every Ticket Purchase"
"Catch the Fever... and Seek Immediate Medical Help"
"Get Out the Rye Bread, Grandma, 'Cuz I'm Really Hungry After Tonight's Loss"

Posted by ethan

7:41 PM, Jul 12, 2008

"its like the Bad News Bears. Except not really. Because even the Bad News Bears pulled it together and won at the end of the movie after going through many sub-plots and crass pratfalls. Even Kelly Leak could hit. But not the Mexican twins."

too long?

Posted by HenryTracks

7:41 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Nelson.. u are clueless..

Brandon Morrow has one of the best late movement fastballs in all of baseball..

You're an ignoramus if u think he's throwing a straight fastball down the middle..

Until 3 days ago.. the guy hadnt allowed a run in 18 IP.. and was totally dominating big league hitters..

He's likely run into a little bit of a tired arm... since he's not used to the present workload

Posted by Craig

7:47 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Can Shultz include the Mariners as part of any new settlement with Bennett?

Good grief.

Posted by Nelson

7:48 PM, Jul 12, 2008

No, Morrow has been pumping straight fastballs down the middle the whole year, and now that teams have seen him, and read scouting reports that thats all he has, they are hitting him. Go back and watch footage, he has the same fastball today as he has had the whole year.
Opinions are like bu** holes, every has one, the fact of the matter is you guys are stupid

Posted by byebyeIbanez

8:05 PM, Jul 12, 2008

This is why Morrow is not a closer. He is a starter! I'm glad he's blowing saves. If he kept up his 0.00 ERA as closer the Mariners brass would start getting ideas...

Posted by OleJoe

8:18 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Rooting for the Mariners is like rooting for Custer.

Posted by David Gee

8:27 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Nelson, the best thing you could have done was to look back at Morrow's results this season, even including the last two outings, and said, "Okay, I do see your guys' point". But no, your pride HAD to get in the way and with that comes outward stupidity. Let's put it this way: if we all voted on whether or not Morrow has been very good so far this season, you'd lose. Badly. And then your opinion would be like a butthole. It would stink, and nobody would want to hear it.

Posted by Eddie

8:37 PM, Jul 12, 2008


You are an expert because you ALMOST played baseball?! Give me a ____ break!

Yes, we all have opinions.

Posted by Capo

8:40 PM, Jul 12, 2008

I disagree....I won't fault a player for being overly aggressive on occasion, given this idiotic lineup and putrid offense.....but I'd sure as hell have shown Yuni the bench for his gaffe.....that was simply inexcusable.......and hisd level of play as of late makes me feel a short "time out" is warranted.

When it comes to me its a bit hypocratic to throw everything at the players goes directly to the construction of the roster, and to a slightly lesser extent the horrible lineups that the M's are trotting out there on a daily basis.

As to Morrow, i have no problems with him closing, he's honestly a two pitch guy with a third "show me" pitch....and would probably be much more effective in a short role where he'll only face a lineup one time. The real problem has been pitch sequence....JJ suffered from this early on as well, until he relied more on the splitter to offset a FB......what Morrow needs to do is mix up the pitch sequence between his fastball and slider, or hopefully some sort of offspeed pitch......I don't care how hard you throw, if you throw 95% fastballs, or develop a reputation as a guy that has one "plus" pitch....guys are going to make you throw something straight.....and in each instance I've seen, Morrow has felt a little pressure, and gone directly back to throwing all fastballs....which has gotten him into trouble.

Posted by Ms Fan in Exile

8:45 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Another great Riggleball line-up. Brings to mind the definition for the word insanity.

- committing to the same action over and over again, but expecting different results.

Soooo, maybe the FO and Management aren't completely stupid, just insane.

Posted by MarkB

8:50 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Earth to Mariners management; earth to Mariners management, do you read me?

Morrow is a starter! This season is already in the toilet!! Get him out of the bullpen!!! The ineptitude of this team and it's management decisions has now moved beyond mind-numbing.

Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong must be looking to Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA for some organizational ideas. Geoff - can you ask them if they have been spending time together lately?

Posted by Jeff C

8:57 PM, Jul 12, 2008

The best victory the M's can get now in this lost season is the #1 pick in the draft, so please Riggleman keep throwing crappy lineups out there, just make sure Vidro doesn't vest.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

9:01 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Hey Nelson, Thank you for sharing.

Howevre, next time you want to ask a guy for help getting a job, may I suggest you don't start by trashing him.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

9:02 PM, Jul 12, 2008


Posted by Charlie Brown

9:08 PM, Jul 12, 2008


Posted by Scott

9:08 PM, Jul 12, 2008

If we land the No. 1 in the 2009 draft -- and I'm hoping that we do -- we better be drafting a stud position player, not a pitcher, unless that pitcher has hall-of-fame written on him.

We need a power bat, preferably a first baseman. When was the last time we developed a power hitter who did something for us in the big leagues? A-Rod? We need position players.

Posted by Vlad in Czech

9:25 PM, Jul 12, 2008

I didnt watch the game so I might be wrong but htere is a huge difference in being doubled off by a fly ball and being tagged out at homeplate. Did the third base coach send Reed? If not I take it back cause even in the majors it is players responsibility to pay attention to your coach when rounding bases no to decide on your own.
Mistake is a mistake and it hurts team even when you score ten runs a game so that is bad statement by RIggleman.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

9:28 PM, Jul 12, 2008

"There can't be a tolerance for the way this team has tossed away chances to win this season. No tolerance for mental mistakes by the same offenders. "

Slight logic problem, at this point: when so many players are making so many mistakes, it's literally impossible to keep all the offenders out of the lineup. A 25-man roster doesn't allow you to swap enough guys out, unless you have a bullpen composed entirely of the starting rotation + 1 or 2 guys, so you have enough room to carry a backup for every position player.

I mean seriously. If you benched based on tonight's mistakes, then that means for tomorrow's game you have Cairo at first, Hulett at 2b, WFB at shortstop... and Morrow doesn't get to pitch the 9th, so you use Rhodes or something... and then Joh or Burke are the DH... see how silly it gets? :)

There is significant cholesterol in the arteries of this team, at the major league and AAA level. You have to go awfully far down before you start seeing a lineup where you can say "ok, well, let's give these guys a try".

Posted by Casey

9:32 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Here is what I don't understand.

1) why is Vidro playing? Also, if there is a good reason for him playing, why is he batting fourth???????

2)Why isn't Morrow starting????

3)Why aren't we trading people now???????

4)Why are any veterans playing who do not have trade value???? (i.e. Batista??)

5) Can we fire the owner??????????
-I know we can't but wouldn't it be nice?

Posted by RustyJohn

9:35 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Keep making the same mistakes over and over again...hmmmmm, like batting Vidro 4th or letting Ibanez play left field when he has no range, or not starting Clement- these seem to be pretty big mistakes, a lot higher on the totum pole than some kid who probably was trying his hardest to score because he realizes the sad sack that is the offense can't execute anything.

I'd like to think this is all some sort of grand scheme to get the 1st round draft pick, but then I realize even if they got the 1st pick they'd probably pass over this year's Linecum and, if they didn't, they'd make him into a mop up guy or right handed relief specialist.

THis organization is run by morons.

Posted by doug

9:49 PM, Jul 12, 2008

I think this is CLEAR that brandon was not ready for the closers role yet and doesnt have the closers mentality. 8th inning for him

Posted by Jonathan

9:53 PM, Jul 12, 2008

2)Why isn't Morrow starting????

I think it's obvious, he only has confidence in his fastball. He needs to develop some other pitches.

Posted by Nat

9:56 PM, Jul 12, 2008

HoRam is not a significant topic, in that the M's are not going backward. He's gone and we don't miss him. He could be a short-term wonder for the Royals - that's fine, we still don't want him back.

Geoff, if you're gonna talk about accountability- one of your favorite subjects I've noticed- you've got to talk about Betancourt and his flyballs. Does he not know how to hit any differently or is he a dimwit? Either way, he needs Mr. Elia to sit him down and give him some logical consequences. He's like a petulant child who says, "I wanna do it my way!" Those flyballs need to!

Personally, if I were a Mariners player and I went out each day and saw the lineup with Vidro batting cleanup I would be discouraged before the game ever got started. I would think, What's The Point?

Posted by localteamfan

11:18 PM, Jul 12, 2008

Go Mariners?

Posted by downonstrikes

12:00 AM, Jul 13, 2008

Distant Fan your list was hilarious, but too damn true. Why doesn't somebody do something to stop the hemorrhaging.

Geoff wrote: "Until that culture changes, until this team becomes a place where mediocrity is held accountable, it will stay mediocre and keep losing."

I couldn't agree more. From the lowest employee to the top of the food chain, mediocrity reigns in this organization.

How long do the fans have to suffer?

Posted by ferrari

1:16 AM, Jul 13, 2008

What is a losing "culture?" Does that help your digestive system?

Posted by Dave from the coast

1:48 AM, Jul 13, 2008

Well, the league is figuring Morrow out. Morrow's appeared on a regular basis for a while now, and sometimes a steady diet of fastballs ain't such a good thing. I couldn't hit one, but plenty of Major Leaguers can. That said, I was trying to watch the game whilst doing stuff around the house with my parrot on my shoulder...I looked away from the screen for a coupla minutes, and during that time, the Mariners Lost The Game. Just like that. And remember...we've still half the season yet to go.

Posted by Dave from the coast

2:03 AM, Jul 13, 2008

Ever heard that old song, "Limbo Rock" by Chubby Checker? A lyric line from that tune could be applied to the Mariners' season..."How LOWWW...can you go?" If Morrow gets a 'starting' role when J.J. returns, I smell trouble...if Morrow's coming down with 'tired arm' due to his many appearances lately, that doesn't bode well should he become a starter. I would be shocked, but not surprised, if I woke up one morning and found that the Mariners Franchise moved in the middle of the night to another town far, far away. I just can't believe how bad this season is. It's HORRIBLE.

Posted by JoHa

9:51 AM, Jul 13, 2008

Not sure why everyone is harshing on Reed. Perlozzo sent him. Get on Perlozzo's case.

RustyJohn has it right - the managers and coaches keep making the same mistakes and don't have any accountability for them. I mean, really, a baserunning mistake is something you make under the pressure of a split-second decision. The manager has all day to figure out who he's batting cleanup for the next game.

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