Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 27, 2008 11:55 AM
Posted by Geoff Baker
Yes, that is indeed Jarrod Washburn out there on the mound.
Jose Lopez just extended his hitting steak to a career high 14 games with an RBI single in the seventh inning. Seattle now leads 5-1. The M's could have had more, but with the bases loaded and one out, Jeremy Reed hit into a 1-2-3 double-play. Washburn is back out for the seventh, his pitch count in the low 80s. A complete game from him, perhaps? Why not? He's unlikely to be here past this start. Let his arm rip for 120 pitches. Then, tell the Yankees: "We'll take that Gardner kid and you take all Washburn's salary. As for Kei Igawa, I hear Tokyo's real nice this time of year.''
This seven-game losing streak more or less sneaked up on this team. I can't ever remember seven losses in a row happening so matter-of-factly, or routinely. I asked Jim Riggleman about that earlier today. He said he liked the effort the players were putting in. But he agreed, this team does tend to look as if it's just playing out the string at times. He insists that's not the case.
"I'm happy with the intensity that we play with,'' he said. "In the American League -- I think this happend to us in April, May and part of June...if you're not hitting in the American League, you really look flat. Because when you're not hitting, there's not much you can do.''
In other words, it's easier to play small ball in the NL and do those types of small ball things to generate offense and stay close in games. Not so much in a slugger's league. You can scratch a run or two across in the AL as well, but it's tough to keep pace with a bunch of homer-hitting clubs unless you can slug some homers, doubles and triples as well.
11:45 a.m.: A huge four-run sixth by the Mariners, launched with a two-run homer from Jose Vidro -- countering John McDonald in the long-ball rarity department. Then, an equally-rare RBI double from Kenji Johjima plated two more runners. But prior to that, a non-play by Blue Jays second baseman Marco Scutaro helped get Seattle those final two runs. Jeremy Reed hit what looked like a tailor-made double-play ball to Scutaro. But he tried to tag the lead runner instead of throwing to second to begin a 4-6-3 twin-killing. Instead, the runner, Jose Lopez, held up slightly, and Scutaro tagged him a little too late in order to make the throw to first in time. Lopez knows all about such plays. He botched a similar play in Minneapolis last year and failed to get anyone out. You have to be quick in such situations. Scutaro wasn't quick enough.
So, it's 4-1 for Washburn and the M's heading to the seventh.
11:21 p.m.: Washburn just gave up a one-out, solo homer to John McDonald in the fifth inning, making it a 1-0 lead for the Blue Jays. Will that help Washburn's trade value? Nope. McDonald goes deep about as often as I get praised for knowing anything about analysis on U.S.S. Mariner. It was his first home run of the year. Washburn always seems to have that fifth-inning hump to get over. He's gotten through it with only one run allowed. Let's see what happens from here.
11:06 p.m.: Not much new to report so far. We're still scoreless in the bottom of the fourth. The Mariners have managed three hits off Shaun Marcum, while the Blue Jays have one against Washburn. Two walks allowed by Washburn at this point, taking his pitch-count up a bit, though six innings should not be a problem for him at this pace. This M's lineup looks hopeless so far and has for most of the series.
Seattle's best chance to score came in the top of the fourth, when Jose Lopez drew a two-out walk and Jeremy Reed doubled to right. Lopez decided to test right fielder Kevin Mench's arm and was gunned down at the plate. I understand the decision to send Lopez. This team isn't scoring and -- with two out -- needed to press the issue and try to catch Mench off guard. He had to make a strong throw and did. Lopez was out, but I won't question the decision to wave him in. Not this time. If there were fewer than two outs, certainly. But with Kenji Johjima on deck, you have to wave that runner home.
10:18 a.m.: Jarrod Washburn retired the side in order in the bottom of the first. Raul Ibanez had a two-out double off Shaun Marcum in the top of the inning, but Adrian Beltre grounded into a fielder's choice out. So, scoreless heading into the second inning. Not sure what the holdup is on the Washburn trade front. The M's don't have a front office representative here, other than the team's traveling secretary. We'll assume they're all dilligently working the phones back home, or in Cooperstown, NY.