Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 30, 2008 9:30 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
Those were three debatable walks issued by Arthur Rhodes in the eighth inning. Especially the last one, to Marlon Byrd, on a pitch that appeared to go right through the strike zone. A checked-swing on the previous pitch could also have been called a strike. But it became a walk. Michael Young (who'd come in to pinch-hit for Brandon Boggs...no, I wasn't actually at the game, those photos took themselves) delivered a sacrifice fly and Rhodes and the M's take a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Rhodes, predictably, told umpire Paul Nauert, what he thought of his umpiring, Just as predictably, Rhodes was tossed. He had to be restrained and directed towards the dugout. His final M's moment? We'll know tomorrow afternoon.
Eddie Guardado gets the win. He could also be gone by tomorrow. When's the last time two pitchers of record in the same game were on different teams the following day?
Rhodes wasn't a happy man after the game.
"I'm not going to comment on that,'' Rhodes said of the umpire's calls. "I'm out there making good pitches and the ball's over the plate.''
Good thing he didn't comment.
Rhodes insisted he hasn't gotten caught up in all the trade talk. He'll probably wind up with the Marlins tomorrow. If not them, the Brewers. Guardado, the less-coveted of the two, will likely go to the team that doesn't land Rhodes.
Despite insisting that he's still a Mariner and plans to be here, Rhodes did take a positive view of all the interest expressed in him.
"I look at it as I'm having a great year this year,'' he said. "I had Tommy John surgery last year, but came back this year and proved I could still pitch.''
For now, Rhodes said, it's tough going on this Mariners team.
"This whole team is in a funk right now,'' he said. "And once you get in one, it's tough to get out.''
Mariners manager Jim Riggleman echoed those sentiments.
"Your character as a man is judged more in bad times than in good times and we're getting sorely tested here,'' Riggleman said.
Riggleman doesn't feel the team's mood will lighten any once the deadline passes and everyone knows who's staying and who -- if any -- is leaving. He says the players all rumored on-the-block are veterans who have been through this before and likely haven't altered their play because of it.
No, he wasn't thrilled with the umpire's calls either. But he was careful not to say it.
"They might have gotten every call right,'' he said. "But they're so close and you're seeing them the way you want to see them. You want them to go your way. But we can't keep forcing these games to depend on calls.''
No, they can't.
Riggleman didn't have a problem with Willie Bloomquist being sent home from third on that bases loaded, none out flyball to right by Raul Ibanez. David Murphy nabbed Bloomquist with a strong throw to complete the double play and the inning died soon after.
The manager was also pleased with how Miguel Batista rebounded from that long delay to start the fifth inning. It seems that there was some very wet ground to the right of home plate and that a hole had formed there. Both Bloomquist and Ichiro complained later that they nearly pulled hamstrings running over it. So, the long delay ensued as the grounds crew kept bringing out pails of dirt to put over the wet ground.
It took a while.
Bloomquist really distinguished himself later that inning in throwing out Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the plate after a strong relay in from Ibanez. He also had a pretty good view of the Rhodes pitches in that eighth.
"It's tough to comment on that without getting into too much trouble,'' he said. "But Arthur made some pretty good pitches. It's tough. Art's a competitor and he knows he made some pretty good pitches there.''
Not good enough tonight. Maybe the Marlins or Brewers make a better pitch tomorrow.