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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 26, 2008 12:08 PM

Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays: 07/26 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

jays0725 007.jpg

We're headed to the eighth inning, with Seattle down 8-3, but on the bigger news front, we're hearing buzz that Jarrod Washburn might not make it to tomorrow with the M's. A trade with the New York Yankees appears imminent. We're trying to peer into the dugout to see whether he's still there. We'll have an update after the game.

For those of you wondering why Jeff Clement isn't playing -- he can't. He can't throw the ball properly with tape over his injured thumbnail. He also isn't swinging properly in BP. As for Bryan LaHair, he's just not playing. They don't have confidence in him against lefty pitching yet. Frankly, he hasn't looked at that great at the plate and I can sense they're trying not to overmatch him so that he can possibly stay up here longer -- not get sent back down right away like Clement and Wladimir Balentien.

By the way, I happened to run in to Tony LaCava, the Blue Jays' assistant GM and one of the rumored candidates for the Seattle job next season. LaCava told me he'd yet to be contacted by the team. Not surprising, since it's still in-season. He told me a lot of candidates around the game would love the job and that he'd obviously consider it if asked.

"I try not to worry about that stuff anymore,'' he said. "If it happens, it happens.''

LaCava was a very late finalist for the Pirates' GM opening last year, but withdrew his name during the last stages of that team's search.

He is close to Seattle's director of scouting, Bob Fontaine, having worked for him during his tenure with the Angels.

Not much new to tell you today. Erik Bedard isn't ready to throw yet.It could be several more days before that happens. I don't know about you, but I'm starting to think he's gone until September -- if not 2009.

In case you missed this the other day, the M's are finally getting some of that national recognition they've long sought.

12:06 p.m.: Jose Lopez hit a two-run homer in the sixth, cutting the deficit to three runs, but R.A. Dickey yielded a double to Gregg Zaun, then a single to center by Joe Inglett (him again) and a terrible throw by Willie Bloomquist helps make it 7-3. Dickey is now out of the game, while Toronto has runners at the corners with one out here in the sixth. Roy Corcoran has come on.

11:21 p.m.: Well, at least R.A. Dickey got away%

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Posted by Briguy17

10:42 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Now it's 2-1 Jays. We just allowed Matt Stairs his first triple in 20 years.

Posted by Bums

11:03 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Bout time they get recognized for the successes of their great season. They sure are quietly surprising people. Not to mention the great trade in getting a gritty, tough Bedard who plays through pain and puts his team ahead of himself. Don't forget Vidro, he has been a steal of a pickup, only 8 mill considering he could fetch at least double that in an open market.

Posted by blog watcher 33

11:06 AM, Jul 26, 2008

I haven't seen this addressed anywhere, but I just don't understand why the Mariners push their young players through the minor league system only to cut the legs out from under them when they get to the major leagues. There is no reason why Clement and LaHair aren't playing against these two lefties Toronto has thrown the last two days. They're AAA pitchers, so if those two guys can't hit against them, they shouldn't even be playing in AAA!

IMO, this is why we are seeing Clement struggle, and why we saw Balentien have problems this year and Jones struggle last year. These players aren't used to sitting out, they are used to playing against everyone, even if they are overmatched. Now, when they get to play, they try to get three hits so they can play again the next day. Players can't perform well when they are pressing. Just stick them in there and let them play through their struggles. Baltimore is reaping the rewards of that with Jones right now.

It's been said that the Mariner brass reads this blog. Play the young guys, fellas! We need to know who can do what before this club can move forward. The Mariners won't be a contending team before 2012. Let's see whether Clement and Balentien can be contributing members of that squad.

Posted by downonstrikes

11:19 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Hooray! It's 5-1.

Blog watcher 33 I agree with you totally. There are so many little philosophical blunders committed by management, like you so brightly describe. This is a lost season and there is no reason to let our future sit and rot while the dud's of 08 continue to play.

Any other team using utility players full time like the M's are?

And Bums and Briguy17, yeah. We all see it and would make moves to change the situation. The M's stick with dregs and continue to travel in a rut.

Posted by downonstrikes

11:25 AM, Jul 26, 2008

6-1. Ok. I'm so glad that everyone in management is happy with this team and feels we don't need to change personnel.

And now another walk.

Posted by sean_in_seattle

11:27 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Oh, man. I love The Onion and all, but that's just dirty pool.

Posted by doug

11:31 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Today let's see how ichiro ruins the game with his pompos attitude and laze in the field. willie ballgame would have had that easy. RAUL WOULD HAVE HAD THAT EASY

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

11:35 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Cheer up! These Mariners have a chance to be the worst Mariners team EVER (see Larry Stone's article of 6/8/08). All they have to do is lose 105 games, thereby surpassing the 1978 Mariners team (56-104).

100-100 club? Aim higher. You can do it.

(Cue Jose Lopez: Two-run homer.)

Posted by wang_soldier

11:38 AM, Jul 26, 2008

I love the M's but can't stand to watch management screw up on a daily basis.
On a brighter note: 6 weeks till Seahawks Kickoff!!

Posted by joebbaseball

11:45 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Thanks to Fox's BS and MLB excepting the almighty dollar over the fans, I can't watch any Saturday afternoon games on the extra inning package. Unbelievably I still want to watch these guys! Looks like I should be more gratefull with the way this game (again) is panning out.

Posted by Hobart

11:54 AM, Jul 26, 2008

JOse Lopez is treated like garbage amongst the M's blog-o-sphere. Im guessing because of his low OBP and poor range at 2B..

But the kid is putting up .300/.325/.420 with 7 homers and 27 doubles... and he's a cheap option at 2B.. not to mention, he at least comes to the park every day and seems to "bring it"..

Personally, I wish people would stop complaining about how we need to get a new 2B and SS... Jose Lopez is having a solid season.. and given his age and projectability.. there is a good chance he really picks up his power production over the next few yrs..

This was a big yr for him.. showing that he can stay focused for an entire season.. i expect he'll only improve in yrs to come..

So seriously, i wish people would stop talkin like he's a problem with this team

Posted by BrianL

11:55 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Hobart - Lopez is regarded as being a cheap, average 2B. I don't have a problem with that. Yuni, however, is a disaster. All that range he had in 2005 is gone, and it seems that over the last two months he's completely forgotten how to hit a baseball.

Posted by Brigiuy17

11:56 AM, Jul 26, 2008

Geoff, I've said you've got rotten luck when it comes to covering M's games. Well, I think it's only because you manage to put some positive spin on EVERYTHING. Last week, you came up with the attendance story and Jarrod Washburn "auditioning" for a trade, instead of mentioning our poor hitting.

And just in today's paper, the M's article is about how our formerly decent closer found positives in blowing a lead. Talk about trying to find something, anything positive.

You know, it's okay to say to not have a positive spin. But I know I'll be seeing one tomorrow how Lopez is heating up or something.

Posted by downonstrikes

11:56 AM, Jul 26, 2008

We got some runs. Things liked promising. But, alas, it is now 8 to 3 and dismal thoughts take over my brain again. Why oh why do I torture myself?

Going to find a hobby. Knitting or Rugby perhaps.

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

12:14 PM, Jul 26, 2008

Last night's heartbreaker pretty much sets a tone for the team to lose every game on this road trip with four games vs a tough Texas team to follow Toronto. I think this would pretty much put a fork in the possibility of keeping both Pelekoudas and Riggleman long-term. We should come out of this road trip with a comfortable lead over SD and the Nationals in baseball's version of the toilet bowl - race for Strasburg in next June's MLB draft.

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