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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 22, 2008 11:01 PM

M's finally score, still lose

Posted by Geoff Baker


Not every night so many fans get to cheer and go home happy from Safeco Fied after another loss by the Mariners. But these are the Red Sox in town, with their fans in tow. The Mariners go down to a 4-2 defeat and the fans, thousands of them, are cheering in the aisles.

R.A. Dickey told us after the game that he challenged J.D. Drew with that first inning sinker, with the count full, because he did not want to risk walking him with a knuckleball and putting him on base for Manny Ramirez so early in the game. If he was going to get burned, so be it. He got burned. For a solo homer. The M's never caught up.

"I feel for the offense, it's tough,'' he said after giving up four runs over six innings. "Our job is to keep producing quality innings so we have a shot to win at the end of the game.''

Dickey did his part. But this offense is comatose.

Good news?

Well, the M's saw Bryan LaHair get his first major league hit, in the eighth inning off Daisuke Matsuzaka. An Ichiro double would later bring home LaHair all the way from first base with Seattle's first run after 18 consecutive scoreless frames.

"As soon as Ichiro hit it, I knew it was in the gap so I took off,'' LaHair said.

LaHair grew up watching the Red Sox in Worcester, Mass.

"Unbeleivable,'' he said of his feelings after the hit. "It felt great.''

The M's got another run, on a Jose Lopez single, but that was it.

This team is now 24 games under .500. Yes, a season-high.

"We've just got to come out and put more pressure on the opposing ballclub,'' Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said. "We've got to do more earlier in the ballgame, get something there and hopefully not be facing the Papelbons of the world every night.''

The M's did indeed see Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who shut them down in the ninth for a second night in a row.

Riggleman feels his players are still working hard and take pride in what they do on the field. When it doesn't worj for them, he said, it hurts.

"When you're going through something like this, you want your players to care,'' he said. "And they care. maybe too much.''

Riggleman was optimistic about the results of Erik Bedard's MRI.

"I was pretty encouraged by what I heard,'' Riggleman said. "I think Erik was encouraged. Whatever was found there, whether it was an impingement, or whatever terminology was used, my understanding is that Erik feels like he's going to get out there and start throwing again soon.

"That's the hope,'' he added. "I don't know when he'll throw again or when he'll be throwing to a catcher again or just playing catch.

"But we need him out there,'' he added. "He wants to be out there. There are some things going on there, though, that are just not allowing him to be free and easy.''

Jeff Clement won't be catching again until Friday at least. He can still swing a bat, which may get him some pinch-hit duty tomorrow. But that torn nail on his thumb is preventing him from throwing the ball.

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Posted by Briguy17

10:03 PM, Jul 22, 2008

How low will this team sink? Good luck coming up with a story tomorrow, Geoff. I found nothing interesting about this game.

Posted by nodiggity

10:04 PM, Jul 22, 2008

So, what is the magic number for the overall #1 pick in next year's draft? Let's start the countdown for finishing with the worse record in MLB.

Posted by Oly Mike

10:13 PM, Jul 22, 2008

This team is now 24 games under .500. Yes, a season-high.

The Palll of death floats above this corpse and there is no hope coming from the hum and flash of the MRI machine!!!

Posted by Full Count

10:26 PM, Jul 22, 2008

Does anybody worry that the Mariner farm system absolutely has nothing to offer for 2009 and nothing that can contribute in 2010.
#1 pick is the least of this team worries, wow when you look at the whole organization top to bottom and the cash they spent, they have got nothing, time for new scouting director.

Posted by jj

10:30 PM, Jul 22, 2008

It's obvious that the team needs OFFENSE is in a big way. no speed, no power, no on-base average, no doubles power, etc, etc, etc.

Trade Washburn for some offense, please Do NOT get rid of our two best offensive players - Beltre and Ibanez. Life would really be ugly

Posted by Dave from the coast

10:39 PM, Jul 22, 2008

Maybe the strategies are wrong. Perhaps M's hitters aren't patient enough. Perhaps more consistent pitching is needed. Perhaps a knuckleballer who's been throwing for 5 innings needs to be taken out before his pitches slow down even more, as happened tonight. Perhaps more 'run manufacturing' is needed. Bavasi's gone, McLaren's gone, players have come up and have been sent down, maybe the M's hitters have been one-dimensional in their approach...this whole thing has been analyzed to death. It's bigger than any of us. I think it's best to accept the fact that 'things just aren't happening for the M's' and leave it at that. Even the best teams have a little bit of luck thrown into the mix...the M's seem to have no luck. Of course, excellence begats luck, to a degree. Whatever the case, this '08 season is acquiring a fascination all it's own; this season is so undeniably abysmally BAD that Nothing Can Help. The Mariners are truly in Baseball Purgatory.

Posted by dave cameron

10:45 PM, Jul 22, 2008

god damn bedard....

Posted by Eastsider

10:54 PM, Jul 22, 2008

Geoff, any word in regards to trade with NYY for Washburn? Would the teams consider Johjima given the Yankees need for a catcher? Or is he untouchable by M's ownership?

Posted by Anna11

11:12 PM, Jul 22, 2008

Glad to hear that Clement's injury isn't really serious. From where I was sitting, we wondered if he'd broken or sprained his hand, the way he was holding it.

On the post-game show tonight, I listened to an interesting exchange about Yuni -- how he's regressed, won't learn to take pitches because it's not a habit, and is one of the fastest guys on the team...with only one stolen base. So, what to do about it? Does the team send him down to AAA to make him a better player? Do you sign another shortstop so his job security is in jeopardy, thinking that it'll motivate him to play better?

I question Bedard's commitment to baseball. 100 pitches and he's done, no matter what? Please. I'd rather have a guy like Felix out there, who never wants to be taken out of the game even when he's tired. The Bedard deal sure seems to be a bust.

As for trade rumors involving Washburn -- if they're going to involve Igawa in the deal, not only should the M's include "professional hitter" Vidro (amen), but the M's need to get a decent player who will provide them with some offense. If we're going to trade Washburn, we need to get something for him -- something more than Igawa, who hasn't pitched well this season.

Posted by shane/olympia

11:13 PM, Jul 22, 2008

full count

will be here in the next few years

also the trading of (or in some cases to release players to let the youth gain experience) washburn, bedard, Rhodes, bautista, vidro, cairo, burke and raul to bulid to the farm and the future

after reading the report on washburn i think he will be a yank soon wit Richie

tonight after seeing 37 year old Rhodes throw 13 pitches 12 for strikes to strike out the side against the bosox's you know at his age he can't be in the m's plan who would not want to add a healthy vet to a contender bullpen

wash(yanks), Rhodes(?), and Raul (DBacks) will be moved by the break!

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:16 PM, Jul 22, 2008

The latest rumor is the Yankees fleecing Seattle for Washburn in exchange for Kei Igawa, a pitcher who throws like Horacio Ramirez except with terrible command of all his pitches. The worst part of this deal is how much Pelekoudas gets suckered into taking regarding Igawa's salary. Keep in mind Igawa has been so utterly bad that he's been sent down several times to the minor leagues because he can't pitch at the major league level. Only someone who doesn't know anything about scouting would believe Igawa is a potential frontline starter.

When it rains it pours in Seattle

Posted by scrapiron

11:23 PM, Jul 22, 2008

Yuni saw 4 pitches in 3 at bats tonight. Pathetic. He refuses to take advice on how to work a count. He needs to sit on the bench and let Bloomquist play short for a while or they need to send him down to AAA to work on his approach and they give Tuiasasopo a shot.

Posted by WeNeedChange

11:40 PM, Jul 22, 2008

Did you guys hear the news- Adam Jones found Bedard's nutsack while playing centerfield. Apparently, he left them back in Baltimore.


Where Silva's sinker sinks more, not stinks more.

Where Willie Boom-Boom gets to play frequently and some think he can play full-time because he hits .700 in Spring Training.

Where you can hack away like a freakin' lumberjacker.

Where 'protection' does not mean .300 or 45 HR's but Jose Vidro.

Posted by Visiting Fan

12:25 AM, Jul 23, 2008

An impingement can be more than just a sore shoulder, and it indeed can become a catastrophic injury, Mr. Baker. Neither you nor the Mariners should be dismissing it as non-serious until Bedard is completely pain-free and his shoulder has regained full range of motion

Posted by Sounders

12:49 AM, Jul 23, 2008

I have disappeared from the blog/sinking ship for a while. I really feel for you Geoff, not having that option. The fans keep coming. I guess they don't care. It doesn't appear that way. Whatever. My greatest fear used to be that this 'new direction' stuff was just a bunch of crap. I said a while back that the M's needed someone like Kim Ng to remake this mess, and now I have a new greatest fear, that the M's are so incompetent that someone like Ng wouldn't come here even for A-Rod's salary.

Posted by ethan

1:35 AM, Jul 23, 2008

must feel good to be Felix - THE PRESSURE is on him every 5 frickin days to pull this team out of a slump.
this team is so predictable.

Posted by tomtom

2:02 AM, Jul 23, 2008

I liked the looks of that Boston team tonight. They have two Center Fielders, and I think we might be able to get one of them, next year. They have a great running SS who covers Left Field for the two CFs, so I don't think they really need a Left Fielder.... chuckle. It is kind of a foot race by the end of the see who is the fastest on that team. I saw three Red Sox that can run like Ichiro.

All kidding aside gang,,, there is no reason to be concerned about the quality of the M's game. We are packing two young men who can't hit .200 yet, and three Starters that still can't hit .230. That is five Starters with unacceptable Batting Averages...down from SIX. Remember, last year the M's fired Boone for not maintaining a .240, so I have confidence that they will let a guy or two go and bring in some Pacific Rim hitters.

And remember, after the olympics there will be a hundred guys pleading for asylum somewhere in the world... and the Mariners are THE BEST at finding those guys.... chuckle.

The best parts about last night was, LaHair didn't blunder any catches on First. Everyone remained healthy. And Boston didn't try to embarrass Seattle by having their idiotic third baseman cleat the kid playing on first.

Are you forgetting who ruined Sexon's tendon last year? It was Boston's third baseman. I think the rest of the M's asked him to.

Posted by tomtom

2:14 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Changer...chuckle... that was funny stuff.

Almost as funny as all these guys that think Seattle will trade anyone.

They don't trade in Seattle, they dump the garbage and rent someone before they buy.

Posted by tomtom

2:23 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Didn't the M's draft 28 pitchers last year..... chuckle.

Posted by Bums

3:56 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Oh god. The thought of Igawa being acquired scares the heck out of me. Might as well keep Wash and Vidro, especially since Vidro's contract expires at the end of the season. Wash is a better option than Igawa. This is why this organization needs to wait for the real GM to come in before making non-obvious moves.

My fear is that Pelekoudous and Riggelman are kept permanent because it does not involve any work. Fans continue to show up at games and spend money, what does management care?

Posted by bpeto

7:22 AM, Jul 23, 2008

People here keep whining and complaining about But you keep watching, listening, going to games. This horrible excuse for a FO keeps making money.

People here should focus on keeping CONSTANT pressure on the FO. Spend your time complaining about the management team that has brought this franchise to depths that will take years to rise from.

The players are what they are. They aren't going to get any better. IF they play to the numbers one can expect this group still stinks. Not THEIR fault.

Stop feeding the advertisers. Heck, slam THEM even. But as long as you keep the money flowing to this inept group running this franchise, you're doomed.

Posted by la verdad

8:08 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Los Marineros son horribles. Tiempo de limpiar la casa.

Posted by midaho

8:30 AM, Jul 23, 2008

I think the Mariners players should put a copy of this paragraph from the Boston Globe on their lockers:

SEATTLE - First, Jon Lester. Last night, Daisuke Matsuzaka.

"The way the Mariners are swinging, a 12-year-old from Daisuke's old Little League team from Tokyo will gladly skip Williamsport and the Little League World Series, where they're scheduled to represent Japan, to take his shot at Seattle."

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

8:52 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Jeremy Reed is hitting .248/.303/.339 slugging. The guy sucks and has no business being an everyday major league player. Before ripping other offensive players, let's not give the King of Grounders a free pass for being a pathetic hitter.

Posted by ricofoy

8:53 AM, Jul 23, 2008

It's no secret that Japanese players will be foisted on this franchise as long as Nintendo owns the team but Kei Igawa?? You gotta be kidding me!
If that happens, I'm committing hari-kari.

But it won't happen - the FO is paralyzed as usual. McLovin Peloukoudas is sitting in Bavasi's office sucking his thumb while quietly sobbing for his mommy. Meanwhile, Eagle Scout Lincoln and Howdy Doody Armstrong are off filming Dumb and Dumber - the Geriatric Years.

Posted by JP

8:54 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Watched the game last night trying to get my newborn to sleep. Had the volume up when the M's were at bat because the white noise is so soothing to her. Problem was when i see that Yuni is going to bat during the inning i know that i have to shoosh her extra hard because he swings at every pitch and kills the inning so quickly.

Patience???First pitch of the game Ichiro swings and grounds out, 4 pitches later Lopez is out....Yuni 3 AB's saw four pitches. Know wonder the opposing teams starters go 8 innings every night. 60 pitches through six innings...

40,000 fans to watch the Sox not he M's. I know they are like the modern day carnies but Jesus could we at least cut them off at 35,000 supporters. Although borderline humorous i beleive that the FO would love to have them show up every other week just so they can keep revenue up. Oh wait i forgot they also averaged 30,000 fans for the Cleveland series. Guess it doesn't matter who is in town these local M's fans don't care who wins or loses they just like the smell of Garlic fries and will keep going no matter what.

One question for the blog world..During the summer months in Alaska it stays light until like 2 am. My question is if they start a baseball game at 10 pm and the sun is still shining do they consider that a day game???

Posted by M's Fan

9:00 AM, Jul 23, 2008

"let's not give the King of Grounders a free pass for being a pathetic hitter." Given the team stats of .255/.312/.371 I would say none of them deserve a free pass.

Posted by Chuck

9:19 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Typical opposites. Boston waits patiently for their pitchs to hit and make them count while driving up the pitch count of their opponents. The Ms go up there swinging at first pitchs and those out of the strike zone and their opponents pitchers also go deeper into games. When are the Ms going to learn?

Posted by Ziasudra

9:35 AM, Jul 23, 2008

talk about pitch count - we get the first two batters on, 1sr and 2nd, nobody out. It takes two more pitches to end the inning: dp by Beltre, go by Reed. Two pitches for 3 outs!
And while I'm at it, the Sox's 3 run inning - Beltre throws ten feet wide, but the scorer saays "hit" - then Raul can't get to a fly ball, scorer says "hit."
No offense, no defense. RAD deserved better.

Posted by Bill

9:38 AM, Jul 23, 2008

I'll give the M's this: Normally they make a team's #5 look like Cy Young. They faced a really good pitcher last night. Did you see the movement on Dice-K's pitches? And he was throwing for strikes. There's not much a hitter can do with some of those pitches.

Posted by diablo

9:46 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Dont be to fast in your game coach! There is no way you give up a guy like Jarrod Washburn. Slown done, progress takes some time. M's fans will appreciate some change but mostly hard work will be appreciated and Mr.Washburn works hard all the time!

The rest will follow!

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

9:51 AM, Jul 23, 2008

I think Yuni's lack of patience has moved beyond ridiculous and is now a disciplinary issue - I think Uncle Lee should wring his neck the next time he swings at the first pitch. Several games in a row sitting on the bench may be a good lesson or even a trip to Tacoma - this organization needs to set up a clear plan for their players which begins in the minor leagues like the A's and Angels and if a player doesn't follow that plan, they don't advance forward. Talk about bringing bust Igawa here for Washburn is also asinine - only explanation would be to give Joh another opportunity to catch a game in addition to being just a knuckleball catcher. This ownership group headed by the invisible Mr. Y has served their purpose and needs to go.

Posted by Mike

9:52 AM, Jul 23, 2008

It's bad enough having practically the worst hitter in the league at DH but the Ms are actually trying to justify it on their website. MInd boggling. Here's the thing, Designated Hitters are supposed to, um, hit.

And yet again today either Miguel Cairo or Jose Vidro will be in the lineup and Raul will be patrolling a very small section of left while Wladimir Balentien rots in AAA. Mind boggling again.

Posted by Mike

10:18 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Worst hitters by OPS with more than 250 PAs.

101 Melky Cabrera .648
102 Yuniesky Betancourt SEA .642
103 Daric Barton OAK .639
104 Ross Gload KAN .635
105 Edgar Renteria DET .632
106 Carlos Gomez MIN .629
107 Jason Bartlett TAM .592
108 Jose Vidro SEA .584
109 Joey Gathright .574
110 Kenji Johjima SEA .533

Maybe we can trade Wash for Joey Gathright.

Posted by scrapiron

10:28 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Wladimir Balentien was the PCL hitter of the week last week after hitting .563 with 8 RBIs and 9 runs scored and hitting home runs in four consecutive games.

In July overall, Wlad is hitting .323 with 7 home runs, but more importantly has only struck out 12 times in 81 at bats.

Don't teams in last place normally reward that type of production with a promotion?

Posted by Scanman

10:34 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Iíve come to the conclusion that we bloggers are just a small mosquito on the back of the Mariner Hierarchy. No matter how much we want a World Series caliber team, they donít care and arenít listening to us. Read the article in the Times today, its all about ĎThe Fan ExperienceĒ or give a ways. Come out and enjoy the Ball Park crap. There is never an apology to the real baseball lovers for the joke they put on the field, no, just a come-on-down and enjoy the Garlic fries and Bobble Heads. I give up, Football is just around the corner, the grand kids are coming for a visit and I just donít have time for this anymore.

Posted by scrapiron

10:36 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Great link, Mike, that story on Vidro is unintentionally hilarious. Check out this quote from Riggleman:

"It's not a classic DH situation, but I feel good every time he [Vidro]walks up to the plate," Jim Riggleman said. "The numbers may say otherwise, but I think he's going to give us good at-bats."

So the definition of a good at bat isn't a hit, walk, sacrifice or extra base hit. The definition of good at bat is it makes Riggleman "feel good".

Oh, those silly numbers getting in the way of a good story.

Posted by Mike

10:39 AM, Jul 23, 2008

"Feeling good" is important to team chemistry don't ya' know?

Posted by JP

10:40 AM, Jul 23, 2008

scrapiron you should no by now the M's don't reward anyone in AAA. They just let them rot there or call them up and let them collect splinters in their butts! Agree with you though Balentein should be up.

Vidro hitting clean up again!? Riggleball more like wiffleball. Maybe we can ask the opposing coach to instruct their starters to throw underhand.

Posted by ricofoy

10:40 AM, Jul 23, 2008

This pretty much says it all..the Mariner fan base.
Sheesh! I bet if you walked up to her at any point in the game, she wouldn't know the inning or the score.

We love coming here," said Samantha Smyth, whose son, Braden, 8, was clad in an Ichiro game jersey. "The atmosphere is great and we love getting the garlic fries and seeing the Mariner Moose."

Posted by Nat

10:41 AM, Jul 23, 2008

A couple weeks ago the camera panned in on Riggleman talking to Betancourt after an inning ended in which Yuni overthrew the ball to first. Yuni could hardly stand still, trying to wiggle out of the manager's focus. He looked just like a little kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar.

Betancourt IS very childlike in some ways. And when children make mistakes as they often do, they need a timeout. I honestly believe Yuni needs a timeout - at AAA for a month. Let Bloomquist play SS in his place. Have Yuni go down to Tacoma with the understanding that when he learns how to take pitches and it becomes habitual, then he will be recalled.

I thought Riggleman might be a little different than Mac but as it turns out, he's pretty much the same.

Posted by JoeHoch in 08

10:41 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Consecutive losses have been leading to firings or cuts, so hopefully that will happen, or at least trade wash or rhodes and cut batista, any learning pitcher is better than him. You gotta bring up Wlad, he needs to learn to hit up here not just destroy AAA.

I also would like to see them just try something different with there uniforms, I wanna see dark pants with the dark jerseys just switch things up a bit, this team needs a defibrillator.

Also ichiro should have caught that home run if he was actually looking at that ball instead of that shmoe in the stands.

Posted by ricofoy

10:47 AM, Jul 23, 2008

I see these stats and don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Adam Jones BAL 351 43 100 17 5 6 43 8 3 19 82 .285 .329 .413 .742
Ichiro Suzuki SEA 411 66 124 12 3 4 24 34 3 38 41 .302 .363 .375 .738

Posted by Scanman

10:53 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Here is a thought for J.A. Jance, have JP Beaumont investigate the death of a franchise. Iím sure he could uncover all the miss managing that will ultimately lead to the demise of the team. Who knows, maybe JP can head off the disaster and put the evil FO. Guys away.

Posted by Mike

11:05 AM, Jul 23, 2008

ricofoy---Another sad thought. Jones has 48 runs created this year to Vidro's 23. If you had moved Ibanez to DH and hung onto Jones you'd have 25 more runs. Ibanez is about -14 in plays in left (12 runs). Figure as a CF playing left, Jones would be a +14 (12 runs) or so and you save another 24 runs from the pitching staff.

Currently we have a run differential of -66 (392 runs for and 458 against). The combined 49 runs saved above leaves you at -17. With just the simple move above you go from woeful to slightly below average. That 49 runs (so far) is also a lot more than the 30-40 over the entire season you would be expected to save by going from a middling 5.00 ERA pitcher to what we hoped to get from Bedard.

The two lessons the Ms FO is still failing to learn is that young players are a better value than vets and that defense matters.

Posted by ethan

12:37 PM, Jul 23, 2008 did ESPN crown us TITLE TOWN yet?

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