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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 21, 2008 9:38 PM

Boston Red Sox at Mariners: 07/21 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

bosox0721 042.jpg

What a night for Jon Lester, who has a 4-0 lead over the Mariners as we enter the bottom of the eighth. Lester had thrown just 61 pitches the first six innings before a 22-pitch seventh got the Mariners their shot at him. But with two on and one out, Lester fanned Miguel Cairo on a 1-2 pitch. That brought Jose Vidro in to pinch-hit for Bryan LaHair -- which the team had better do at that point if it's going to keep Vidro on the roster. Vidro worked the count to 3-1, put a good swing on the ball, but flied out hard to right field.

I knwo the blogosphere will be in an uproar over Vidro pinch-hitting there. But if you aren't going to pinch-hit for a rookie who's gone hitless in his first six major league at-bats, when are you going to do it? If the M's are going to justify keeping Vidro by saying they see value in him as a pinch-hitter, then you have to use him when the situation calls for it. That's my take.

Boston then added a pair of runs on a Jed Lowrie single off Cesar Jimenez in the eighth. Doesn't look good for the home team. Not with Lester still out there in the eighth.

8:45 p.m.: Still a 2-0 game as we head to the bottom of the sixth. Jarrod Washburn was allowed to pitch the sixth inning, got two outs, but then walked Kevin Youkillis on his 113th pitch. That was it for him. Mark Lowe came on, walked Coco Crisp to load the bases, then got Jason Varitek swinging at a 1-2 pitch. Not a bad outing for Washburn overall, coming within one out of a "quality start". Will this hurt his trade value? No. Help it? Maybe not. What we saw tonight was what teams already know about Washburn. When he's on, teams mis-hit balls, which the Red Sox did a lot tonight.

But he is prone to one bad middle inning at times and they often cost him. Might cost Washburn a loss tonight the way this offense is swinging the bats. Washburn's control wasn't what he wanted at times. Of the 113 pitches, only 63 were for strikes. No, he wasn't putting the ball in hitter's wheelhouses, other than to Jason Varitek on the homer you can see in the photo above. But he was falling behind in counts a lot. A mixed bag tonight, but he leaves with his team still very much in this game. If you can't score three runs in one night, chances are you're going to lose in any event.

8:18 p.m.: Well, I was one batter off on that walk prediction. Jarrod Washburn got the first batter of the fifth inning, Kevin Youkillis, to fly out. But he walked Coco Crisp, then fell behind Jason Varitek. Washburn worked the count full, then saw Varitek deposit the next offering into the left field bleachers to put Boston ahead 2-0. The patient Bosox also worked Washburn for 32 pitches in the inning, putting him at 98. He might get to face some hitters in the sixth, especially if the team is showcasing him for scouts. But that was a costly fifth inning, as he's often had.

8:04 p.m.: We've got a pitcher's duel going here between Jarrod Washburn and Jon Lester. Still scoreless as we head to the bottom of the fourth. Washburn has thrown 66 pitches through four innings. The key, as it's been for him during this prolonged run of success, has been in avoiding the big hit. He's scattered four hits already, but none have gone for extra bases. There have been two double-play grounders as well.

The fifth inning is where he often runs into trouble. Let's see how he does. It starts with a good count-worker in Kevin Youkillis. Leadoff walks have come back to haunt Washburn a lot. He has to avoid that with Youkillis.

Lester allowed a one-out double to Yuniesky Betancourt, but escaped the third with a nice defensive play from second baseman Dustin Pedroia, going deep in the hole for an Ichiro grounder and throwing him out by an eyelash at first base. Willie Bloomquist then struck out.

7:28 p.m.: Jarrod Washburn gave up a leadoff single to Manny Ramirez in the second, then erased that on a 1-4-3 double-play grounder by Mike Lowell. Washburn fell behind 3-1 in the count to Lowell, but battled back and notched the comebacker.

He then caught Kevin Youkillis -- better known as The Greek God of Complaining -- looking at a third strike to end the inning. Actually, Youkillis was nicknamed The Greek God of Walks in the Moneyball book of 2003, though his reputation for whining about umpire calls and throwing his helmet in the dugout has earned him the ire of teammates like Ramirez. You can see why.

7:20 p.m.: A big test for Jarrod Washburn tonight as the Mariners try to establish him as legitimate trade bait. There is word the New York Yankees could be interested in him as a fallback plan if their talks for A.J. Burnett don't lead to anything. One thing teams will want to see is how Washburn fares against more serious opposition. The Boston Red Sox count as that, even if they don't play all that well here and do begin the night two games behind the AL East leading Rays.

Washburn had a 1-2-3 first half-inning, though not in the traditional sense. He got Jacoby Ellsbury of Oregon to pop out to right, then yielded a single to center by Dustin Pedroia. But J.D. Drew hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Local boy Jon Lester returned the favor in the bottom of the frame, also retiring the side 1-2-3 in the more traditional sense, with two strikeouts sandwiched around a popout to the shortstop.

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Posted by 9k

7:36 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Please explain why you would DH Cairo? I just don't understand it... we have a team with no power in that position.

Posted by scottM

7:38 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Yeah, I was disappointed to see that Calabro will not be announcing the M's. I guess the Mariners prefer a heavy dose of monotone from the likes of Blowers and Shannon Drayer to keep its fan base somnambulant during this pathetic season.

Mike Blowers:
Rall......y......fries:,...... win,',

(Blowers to Sims, whispering: "psssst, without ...the ...Rally Fries, ...what ...will ....we ....have ...about ...late ...these").

Posted by -j.

7:40 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Gotta love them starting LaHair against a tough lefty. LaHair is statistically horrid against LH pitching.

.200/.277/.280/.557 is his AAA line against lefties with him hitting .283/.381/.525/.906 against righties. Good way to set the guy up to succeed.

Posted by K Mo

7:42 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Where is Jeremy Reed? Traded? Injured?


Posted by Gary

7:48 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Refresh my memory. What was the Bonehead Bill transaction that gave Campillo to the Braves?

Posted by Village Idiot

7:54 PM, Jul 21, 2008

God Damn it I hate Ichiro!!! a Bunt would've been more effective.

Posted by Dave from the coast

7:56 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Some nights, Rick Rizzs just doesn't take a breath, and it makes the games hard to listen to. Honestly, Rizzs makes me wanna throw a BRICK thru my TV set with his non-stop barrage of endless and mostly useless factoids...Niehaus lets the game "breathe", whereas Rizz, ever the Bob Costas wannabee, just WON'T SHUT UP!!! Does anyone else feel this way, or am I just in a bad mood tonite? Oh, and so far, the M's two recent call-ups have both struck out. Boston hasn't scored yet; that'll change; the Mariners haven't scored yet, either. Not so sure if that'll change. Six innings to go; keep the faith, I guess...

Posted by Scanman

8:04 PM, Jul 21, 2008

How many of you out there in Blog land remember that the Seattle Rainiers was a farm club of the Red Sox? I think that they had a better team back then than what is on the field today.

Posted by ken

8:11 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Gary: I think Campillo was DFA'd by Bavasi and was picked up as a FA by the Braves. The M's had paid a few million $ to sign Campillo initially as an international FA. We sure could use him and Baek now in place of Batista and "1st in the buffet line" Silva. The fact that Bavasi was allowed to remain in his job so long is a pretty bad indictment of this organization's upper management.

Posted by Will

8:45 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Didn't Mark Lowe used to sweat a lot? So much so that you could see beads dripping of the brim of his cap. Why do he no longer sweat like this anymore?

Posted by Big .200 Lockwood

9:04 PM, Jul 21, 2008

At least Blowers has baseball knowledge unlike the rest of them. Niehaus only has some because he won't go away. He lets the game "breathe" because he runs out of breath after calling half an inning and they spent the next two innings giving him oxygen. Calabro should take his spot.

Posted by Briguy17

9:20 PM, Jul 21, 2008

This team chose to have Cairo and Vidro hit with RISP. Both did not even move the runners.

It's pathetic. This team is putting out lousy veterans doing the best they can to win right now, and all they're doing is hurting the club.

Time for a new mentality. Play the young guys no matter what. Who cares about wins anymore?

Posted by Dave from the coast

9:42 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Big Joe: I used to watch The "Game of the Week" back in the 60s when Dizzy Dean called the games along with Pee Wee Reese. Niehaus is a wonder to behold; he can paint a picture with words, and yet he doesn't feel the need to cram needless words into every second-hand tick. Niehaus is definitely a treasure; he's the broadcaster Rizzs and many others want to be, knowing all the while they never can be. Sports announcing is tricky...sometimes "more" is not "more". I think we're all fortunate that someone like Niehaus has stuck with the M's for so long.

Posted by Dave from the coast

9:44 PM, Jul 21, 2008

What I'm trying to say, in the above post, of course, is that Niehaus, now, reminds me of ol' Dizzy Dean; just the right combination of detail and folksiness.

Posted by Cesar Crespo

9:46 PM, Jul 21, 2008

These announcers sound like they're taking a break every two minutes to take bong hits. Who are these clowns?

Posted by Dave from the coast

9:55 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Chief leading indicator that The Game Really Doesn't Mean Anything: When Batista is called upon to pitch in the 9th inning when the M's are behind by 4 runs. Hoop-dee-doo...

Posted by Dave from the coast

10:15 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Not that I'm clairvoyant, 'cos I'm not...but my 7:56 outlook on the game was right on...of course, I assumed the M's wouldn't score any runs...I don't think a Crystal Ball was needed to foresee that...

Posted by tomtom

10:26 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Loved tonights game except for the score. Lots of NW players making good use of their skills. No glaring errors that I saw, and no fist fights. It is soooooo NICE to have Sexon gone. I didn't have to change channels when he came to bat, nor bear the broadcasters' weird comments to cover-up his two year disaster at bat.

I even liked the way Jarrod and Raul have quieted their critics. Jarrod used his curve and 94 mph fastball to prove the people yelling "TRADE" have a horrible memory when it comes to why they are on the Mariners. Nobody had to stop the game and ask Joh what the heck he was trying to call. The M's loss can be charged to carring so many minimum wage .200 batting averages among the new guys and the wrong guys.

Posted by tomtom

10:29 PM, Jul 21, 2008

They say the First Baseman from Texas wants $23M/year to play in Seattle.

Posted by mt

10:33 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Geoff, pinch hitting for LaHair is obviously the right decision. What's upsetting is that our bench is so bad that Vidro was the best option available.

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