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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 27, 2008 11:55 AM

Washburn at Toronto Blue Jays: 07/27 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

tor0727 028.jpg

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.

tor0727 029.jpg

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.

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Posted by DTM

10:37 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Betancourt is now hitting .201 since June 8 w/little power and no walks, swinging at everything. When does his hitting start to become a real concern for the M's down the line? With his fielding seemingly regressing, do the M's still see him as their shortstop of the future?

Posted by George

11:21 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Through yesterday the Ms runs-per-game has fallen below 3, to 2.93.

Even in the NL the team ERA would need to be around 2.75 or less for this team to win.

Posted by Carlos Triunfel

11:32 AM, Jul 27, 2008

"With his fielding seemingly regressing, do the M's still see him as their shortstop of the future?"

Posted by Ragarm

11:35 AM, Jul 27, 2008

So Riggleman likes the effort the team has been giving over the last seven games that they lost. Does this speak volumes about the man, or what? Come on! This mindset is pathetic and so discouraging to the fans. They are playing horribly and we get quotes saying they are giving 100% or more in intensity.

This is so so so much a downer.

On the upside, I'm enjoying the radio broadcast today. It shows that there is still some integrity in the media.

Posted by M's Fan

11:38 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Enjoying the sound of Ken Wilson back on the broadcast today. Hope he gets considered if/when a spot opens up on the broadcast team.

Posted by Bill

11:39 AM, Jul 27, 2008,96184

I love how the "Mariner official" basically admits there are no strong personalities in the organization.

Posted by downonstrikes

11:41 AM, Jul 27, 2008

After Betancourt struck out yesterday he came back and had this, "Oh well, big deal, who cares" look on his face and his demeanor spoke volumes. It said, I'm just going through the motions.

So yes, Carlos Triunfel, his hitting and fielding are regressing. Yes Ragarm, it is discouraging and disappointing, and let me add, sickening.

Who cares about a Washburn trade? We are going to get burned one more time. A stinker is not going to trade for a sweet smelling plum.

Whose great idea was it to big a team around small ball in the AL? The architect ought to be fired since the building is collapsing.

Thursday is trade deadline. Bet we get zilch.

Posted by downonstrikes

11:44 AM, Jul 27, 2008

By the way, where is that positive thinking Amanda who wanted to keep Sexson and praised this great team? Are you happy with a seven game skid and an empty cart at the player supermart, Amanda? As long as the fans continue to support this team blindly without fault, we will go nowhere and continue the history of sub-par play.

Posted by nature

11:53 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Don't look now but LaHair has a 4 game hitting streak. Mostly a meaningless stat but considering he started off 0-6 in three games that, well, doesn't suck.

Posted by tg3me

11:59 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Why can't Morrow be a starter
OMG who is going to close. It is insane not to have someone to close, can we trade for a closer.
maybe we can trade Morrow for a closer or Putz
then we would have a closer or maybe trade Morrow and Putz for a closer I will go insane if we don't get a closer But if we traded Morrow for a closer then he couldn't start OMG

Posted by Bill

12:04 PM, Jul 27, 2008

So this is why Washburn was picked up by the M's, his stuff looks good today. Just the thought of going to a winning team sure has elevated his game over the last couple months. The human psyche is such an interesting thing. For everyone who has ever watched a player leave the Mariners and go on to do well, here's to you. The beat goes on.

Posted by Nick

12:04 PM, Jul 27, 2008

Washburn is having an amazing game. Especially considering the amount of pressure he is under with this whole trade looming. At the start of the year, and even 2 months ago, I didn't think we would be able to get any value for him .. or even just have the ability to move him! Now, the fact that we may actually be able to get a decent prospect AND dump his salary.. Thank you Washburn!

The last 2 months he has been one of the very BEST in the league. I don't care if you are like ussmariner and bash him all the time. He has been BETTER than Felix in the last couple months. The M's are very fortunate, and I hope they figure something out .. cause Washburn is sure doing his part!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:25 PM, Jul 27, 2008

I had no idea what I was missing until hearing some of Ken Wilson today. I'd be very happy to have him share radio with Dave until Dave retires, then have Ken take on radio fulltime in a bit of symmetry. And move Rizzs to TV and ditch Sims altogether.


OMG, this team is so broken, and I'm such a rabid fan, I'm actually doing fantasy lineups with the broadcasters on this team now.

...I'm so sorry.

Posted by Nick

12:26 PM, Jul 27, 2008

BTW, Geoff, you are doing an awesome job with this coverage. I'm glad to see someone reporting who can keep their head on straight with the number of rumors going on with the M's and trades. Through it all, you have still done a fantastic job with the basics such as simply reporting what is happening in the games. Thanks!

Posted by scottM

12:26 PM, Jul 27, 2008

Yes, but Nick, why has Washburn never performed this well in must win games for the M's?

He's overpaid, complacent, and one of the reasons the M's have had such a culture of losing. Washburn is about Washburn. I do hope the M's can both dump salary and return a legitimate player/prospect for the lefty. But when I think of all the important games I've seen Jarrod choke in, watching him showcase himself the last month makes me want to puke. Adios, to his kind of insidious team poison.

Posted by qmzjmt

12:28 PM, Jul 27, 2008

scottM, when have the mariners actually had a must win game? Last year was the only time that the M's have even had a chance since he has been here .. and he wasn't even close to being the biggest problem they had in August.

Posted by Neil

12:29 PM, Jul 27, 2008

Don't trade Washburn. He gets better with each outing.

How can Ichi get a leadoff triple and be left on base? What is wrong with these guys??

Posted by Nick

12:29 PM, Jul 27, 2008

haha.. that post by qmzjmt was from me. My bad...

Posted by Victor

7:25 PM, Jul 27, 2008

While we are on the subject of salary duping uummm dumping-

"Is there any way we can dump the parking lots owners around the stadium that think CHARGING $40 a game for parking is equitable?

Or perhaps they have their own show that I am unaware of that is included in the price of the parking spaces.

I find it remarkable that they can charge the same price a s a season ticket pays to sit behind first base in the lower section.

MY suggestion is after the M's trade Washout - they subsidize the parking spaces so we can save some money too.

Make the trade and save us some money...........

Posted by Dave from the same ol' coast

10:25 PM, Jul 27, 2008

I can't explain why Washburn has excelled lately...has he felt that he WAS going to leave the M's this year? If so, that implies that before then, he just didn't care; just cashed the paychecks. Or, is this all a coincidence, that Washburn has just now happened to "find" the grip that works...I honestly don't know.

What I do know is that, if tonight's Red Sox/Yankees game is any indication, Richie Sexson is one former Mariner who ain't gonna be doing better with His New Team. I saw him strike out twice. He looks totally LOST at the plate. It's just GOTTA be a mechanics-type thing.

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