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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 21, 2008 11:18 PM

Lester dominates; Ramirez lectured by traffic cop

Posted by Geoff Baker

bosox0721 045.jpg

The Boston fans in the crowd here, and there were thousands of them at Safeco Field tonight, erupt as Jonathan Papelbon and company jog back to the dugout after ending a wild eighth inning. Seattle loaded the bases with one out off Jon Lester, but Papelbon came in and got a double-play grounder from Raul Ibanez to end Seattle's last real chance.

Boston wins it 4-0 as Lester scatters eight hits, three of them in the eighth inning. Lester went 7 1/3 scoreless frames, striking out six. He didn't walk anybody. Though he threw 103 pitches on the night, 42 of them came in notching his final four outs. Before that, he needed only 61 pitches to breeze through six innings.

"Lester stepped up,'' said Papelbon, who retired the side in the ninth for the save. "He's stepping up for us. He's a guy right now we're kind of leaning on.''

The story of the game, from a Mariners perspective, was not Miguel Batista pitching a scoreless ninth in which he gave up a pair of singles and a walk that loaded the bases with two out. It was Jarrod Washburn going 5 2/3 frames and allowing just two earned runs on the Jason Varitek home run. Any team wanting to trade for Washburn now has seen him go roughly six innings every time out for the past couple of months. They've seen him limit opponents to two or three runs per game. Tonight, it was against a better-quality opponent.

"They're definitely in the top three or four offenses in our league,'' Washburn said after his team's third consecutive loss. "The Yankees, Detroit and Boston. Even without (David) Ortiz in that lineup, it's an awful good lineup. They've got some speed in there and they've got guys who put the ball in-play, take their walks and they've got power.''

What teams saw from Washburn tonight is what they'll likely get. He won't dominate like Lester did tonight. But he will get you through to the late-inning bullpen guys if he keeps this up.

"He really did a good job,'' Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said. "Washburn has given us a chance to win the ballgame just about every time out there and he did it again tonight. When he leaves, it's 2-0, and when you've only given up a couple of runs to Boston, you've probably done a pretty good job.''

Want to hear a funny story? Here's one, a blog exclusive for all of you. Won't read about it anywhere else tomorrow.

Seems that Boston slugger Manny Ramirez was leaving the ballpark, with headphones on trying to look inconspicuous and quickly get away from the crowds still leaving the stadium. He started to cross South Royal Brougham Way, against the signals of a traffic cop who was directing pedestrians. The police officer demanded that Ramirez open his wallet and show identification. He warned him that he could face a $500 fine and possible arrest for disobeying a police officer.

It became clear to those watching that the policeman had no idea who Ramirez was. He didn't ask for an autograph or anything, but did ask Ramirez if he'd attended the game. After the brief lecture, and no argument from Ramirez, the police officer let him go with no further trouble.

Ah, maybe baseball needs a higher profile in this town? Or, maybe Ramirez has to sit around and talk to the media like everyone else on his team, so he doesn't get caught up in post-game foot traffic? I don't know, I just thought it was a funny story.

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Posted by smith

10:10 PM, Jul 21, 2008

you know the season sucks when you are rooting for your pitcher to do good so you can get quality players in a trade for him.

Posted by -j.

10:14 PM, Jul 21, 2008

At least there was a Reed sighting. Call off the search party. Can anyone show me the rule where it is illegal for Reed to face a left handed pitcher?

Funny how the Ms are worried about letting Morrow go more than one inning but feel completely comfortable riding Lowe into the dirt for like 50+ pitches. Lowe is the one with injury history here.

Again.. batting Bloomquist and Cairo 2nd and 6th you are asking to get shutout. Sprinkle in a couple young lefties against a tough left handed pitcher and success is a tough chore.

Hopefully Wash showed enough to get dealt.

Posted by rcc

10:18 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Do you think Baltimore would give up an outfielder say....Adam Jones for such a left handed stud like Jarrod Washburn? Or would the M's have to include a gritty utility guy like Willie Bloomquist and maybe a DH like Jose Vidro to make it even.

If the M's could actually make this trade....only in my dreams.

Posted by Dave from the coast

10:21 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Can't fault Washburn tonite...he showed some grit...especially when the ball hit him in the shin. Had that happened to Bedard, he'd probably have taken himself out of the game with cries of "Medic! Medic!"

Posted by xarmyguy78

10:27 PM, Jul 21, 2008

He won't dominate like Lester did tonight.

haha, I hardly call that a dominate performance out of Lester (at least compared to previous outings against the Mariners) Anyone can throw an 8 hit shut out against a mere AAA lineup. In fact most opposing pitchers do throw that well or better against the M's this season

Posted by ethan

10:27 PM, Jul 21, 2008

CAIRO, BATISTA, VIDRO - Giants among men.

Posted by Football season yet?

10:34 PM, Jul 21, 2008

All I have left to do is root against the M's for fantasy baseball purposes. I had Cliff Lee yesterday and Lester today. I might as well get something good out of this nightmare. I can't believe it has come to that. I'm actually rooting for them to get dominated. Sad.

Posted by tomtom

10:37 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Man, you Tacoma people are crazy. Loading the M's with new guys via some ridiculous trade away, is not going to make your AAA team a champion. Like I said in a previous post... the First Baseman from Texas wants $23M/year to play in Seattle.

Posted by kaseyswagger

10:55 PM, Jul 21, 2008

How is it the M's have made no moves yet?They are supposed be rebuilding not standing pat.It doesnt matter if we lose 90 games or 110 games either way we aint makin the playoffs.I dont care about putting out a AAA offense we already do that so trade Ibanez if that what it takes to get some top prospects he is valuable and we can always sign him next year as a DH.Why havent we traded Washburn his value is at an all time high???DFA Batista,DFA Vidro,Start getting Morrow ready to be a starter let him go to Tacoma for a few weeks.I forget do we have a GM?Cause we never make any moves when needed and when we do make a move we see how that turns out *Cough*Cough* Bedard.

Posted by PayAttentionJ

11:08 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Lol Reed is 1 for 30 against lefties the last three years. Stop your sideline managing and give it up.

Posted by miket

11:12 PM, Jul 21, 2008

How about Washburn for Chris Duncan straight up? Joel Pineiro is St. Louis no. 4 starter in the rotation.

Posted by Jonathan

11:13 PM, Jul 21, 2008

"Gotta love them starting LaHair against a tough lefty. LaHair is statistically horrid against LH pitching.

.200/.277/.280/.557 is his AAA line against lefties with him hitting .283/.381/.525/.906 against righties. Good way to set the guy up to succeed."

Who would you rather have hit Lester? Vidro?

Excuse me while I Lol at you crying about them putting Lahair in against a lefty when Reed is miserable against them.

Posted by -j.

11:43 PM, Jul 21, 2008

RE: Jonathan 11:13 PM, Jul 21, 2008

Reed had all of 7 at bats against lefties since being called up and get this... He hit .405 against lefties in Tacoma this year. The guy deserves a shot to prove himself against the southpaws.

Posted by marinersbrian

12:06 AM, Jul 22, 2008

So a Seattle traffic cop cannot recognize a major league ballplayer when he sees one? Seems he and the Mariners FO have something in common.

Great story Geoff!

Posted by David

12:17 AM, Jul 22, 2008

I'm glad he didn't recognize him. If he had, he probably wouldn't have been stopped. Should of gave him a ticket too...they're not above the law. And who's to say he didn't know who he was. Maybe he is actually competent and just didn't care.

Posted by Tom

1:15 AM, Jul 22, 2008

haha, funny story about Manny, Geoff. You'll have to tell that to your friends over at OTR.

Maybe though if the Mariners would actually, oh, I don't know, be owned by people that wanted to win baseball games first then baseball would have a high profile in this town again.

But then again, I'm dreaming. We are probably damned to Nintendo's tyranny for eternity unless they agree to sell to Chris Larson or Mark Cuban buys the Mariners for $1 billion.

But, like I said, I'm dreaming unfortunately.

Posted by bostonian

6:12 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Figure it out, dude. Manny would rather fight the traffic and crowds than talk to the press. Can't blame him one bit. Some whizkids of the keyboard back here in Boston would like to make a career out of feuding with Manny Ramirez, just as one guy did with Ted Williams.

He talks to his teammates, he talks with the fans. That's all that counts. Who gives a hoot if he doesn't talk to the media?

Posted by RustyJohn

7:39 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Batista came in during the 9th and guess what? He gave up zero runs. If it were a save situation he would have earned the vaunted "save"- a meaningless stat whose creator has passed. Hopefully the stat itself will pass and then those who can't quite make the logical connection of "good players play more, not so good ones less" can realize that 7 or 8 innings are more important than one.

I know, it wasn't a "high pressure" situation that only a few elite athelites can deal with.

What did they ever do in baseball for the 100 years before that rule was invented? Perhaps if they had it in the teens and twenties, Babe Ruth could have converted from starting pitcher to "closer", skipped the whole batting thing and instead of 714 home runs, he could have had 714 saves.

Posted by RustyJohn

7:43 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Nothing is quite so high pressure as a 5-2 game, no runners on, bottom third of the line-up to start the top of the 9th, "Enter Sandman" or some other Metallica or AC/DC song playing and watching some guy run in from the bullpen to throw 14 pitches to "shut down" the opposing team.

Clearly such a situation is deserved of only the few, the proud, the closer. Particularly if they have three or four quality pitches. Why waste them in the previous eight innings. They need to be preserved for the 5-2 lead.

Posted by daveblev

7:46 AM, Jul 22, 2008

The Manny story is funny, I can relate something similar. I'm in the navy and back in October 2004 my ship made a portcall to Boston, me and a shipmate headed to Fenway Park area on an offday during the ALDS with the Angels...we are walking and turning the corner off of Landsdowne and I see some guy with what looks to be dreadlocks driving a Mercedes Benz, thought he looked familiar but didn't think much of it. Then some woman coming from the other direction, rolls her window down and says to us "do you know who that was, that was Manny!", I guess because she sensed the I do not care look as he passed by.
I was unphazed since being a Marienrs fan, I could care less if it was Manny. My shipmate who doesn't follow baseball asks "who the hell is Manny?"

Posted by jere

7:52 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Just curious--how do you know those details of the Manny incident? You'd have to be pretty close to them if you actually heard the warning--in which case you'd be jaywalking, too. I don't know what the norm is in Seattle, but I've never seen a cop make someone pull out an ID for something as simple as trying to cross the street--especially in a situation where he's directing heavy foot-traffic and wouldn't have time to do so. I just think your source may be bull****ing you. But that's just me.

Posted by Ziasudra

8:13 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Thanks, Geoff, for giving us something to chat over - the game centainly wasn't worth any effort in that respect.

Posted by Manny being Manny

8:26 AM, Jul 22, 2008

If the story about Manny is true, it tells you something about the guy. He didn't try to play on his superstar status, took the chewing out and didn't cause trouble. As far as his jaywalking, that's just Manny being Manny, no prob. Makes me like the guy if I didn't already.

Posted by AndruV

8:33 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Can we trade Washburn NOW already??

Posted by David

8:49 AM, Jul 22, 2008

What's the deal with half of Safeco rooting for Boston last night? What happened to hometown pride? What happened to heart? Yeah, the Mariners aren't doing that great this year, but it seems like when Boston comes to town, no one has a problem soiling their nest and rooting for them and not the M's.

Whoopdie-doo, they won the World Series last year. As a result, their merchandise sales are at an all-time high, thanks to front-running, fairweather "fans." Ugh.

Posted by byebye

9:04 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Bloomquist: Ya, I know he leads the free world in grittiness. You know what else, he is a good baseball player. With the exception of power hitting he can play the whole game. If he could only play one or two positions, he would probably be a regular starter before now. His versatility has worked against him and prevented him from getting a shot at day to day play. If traded, I predict he will work himself into a starting position and hit for average, drive pitchers crazy when on base, and help his team win.

Go Willy!


Posted by Mike

9:09 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Nothing quite so deflating as arriving to the ballpark after a couple cold Pyramid Curve Balls on a sunny evening to find Miguel Cairo as the DH. Why? Why? Why?

Posted by Scanman

9:28 AM, Jul 22, 2008

I don’t know why some of you are so confused by the lack of player movement. It’s strictly business as usual for the FO. Why, let me repeat that, Why would they even care about building a winning franchise when they can fill the stadium night after night with “hasbeens, wannabees and never-willbees”. Why should they put any effort into trying to run a competive team when no matter what they trot out onto the field they know you’ll show up anyway? There, after my morning rant I feel much better!!!

Posted by Buzz

9:33 AM, Jul 22, 2008

It's amazing that Mariner management seems to think that continuing to use the same players in the same they have all season is going to yield any different results. The season is (and has been for weeks) a total loss. Bring in some young guys and see if they can develop into major league players. The veterans have had more than a fair chance already.

Posted by bizness

9:34 AM, Jul 22, 2008

The Sox sponsor travel packages, people travel to Seattle on their own, and transplants like myself go to Safeco and support the Sox. So it might not be M's fans rooting for the Sox, but just giving up their seats to us.

Ah, Manny being Manny. 'Did you attend the game?'---way to be alert Seattle cop.

Posted by Scanman

9:49 AM, Jul 22, 2008

As for the Seattle Cops comments, it sound very much like one of the front office people is doing a little moonlighting. Did anyone get a good look at his face? Was it Howard or Chuck? Seattle wants to know.

Posted by kathy2579

9:55 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Are you kidding me?... Was he stopping everyone?

Posted by jere

10:11 AM, Jul 22, 2008

"Whoopdie-doo, they won the World Series last year. As a result, their merchandise sales are at an all-time high, thanks to front-running, fairweather "fans." Ugh"

There are no fairweather Sox fans. You're thinking of Yankee fans. We suffered a long time. Don't dare call us fairweather or question our fandom. I'd love to see some Seattle fans at Fenway when you guys play there.

Posted by -b-

10:19 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Lectured by a cop for jaywalking. I guess someone should tell Manny that's just Seattle being Seattle.

Posted by 7hourlinedrive

10:31 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Sorry, but for every genuine Red Sox fan who has "suffered" and actually followed the team pre-2004, there are at least 3 who follow the "Sawx" because it's "cool"... so Ben Affleck and Dane Cook.... so Jimmy Fallon in "Fever Pitch". I'm guessing the "Red Sox Nation Travelin' Road Show" didn't exist at "an AL park near YOU(!)" until 2004 or sometime thereafter.

If you actually know who Ed Jurak, Gary Allenson and Tom Burgmeier are, I give you props for being a Red Sox fan. The rest are just front-running posers.

And "Sweet Caroline" is a sucky song.

Posted by S W

10:52 AM, Jul 22, 2008

As a recent transplant into Seattle from Redsox nation I can tell you the the natives here are just a little too full of themselves with regard to pedestrians, cross walks, and j walking. I thought the west coastees were supposed to be relaxed.... not. Your roads and rules are like a plate of spagetti, what a joke.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

10:54 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Good thing the cop was under 60 or Manny would have knocked him on his ass!

Posted by Jonathan

11:08 AM, Jul 22, 2008

I really don't care if Reed hit .405 against Tacoma pitching. He's hitting .033 against them in the majors the past 3 years.

As far as letting him get the chance to hit lefties. Why? He's not a young prospect anymore, he's actually fairly middle-aged and probably will peak as a 4th OF.

I'd rather see Balentin come up and hit lefties.

Posted by JohnisRusty

11:11 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Too bad you forgot the 1-0 game with runners on 1st and 2nd and no one out and you need a closer who can get the key strikeout in a tough situation.

No one is saying that good starters aren't important but ask Indians fans who suffered through Mesa/Boworski or better yet some Mariner's fans who were here during the late 90's and ask how demoralizing a blown save is.

Posted by daveblev

11:31 AM, Jul 22, 2008

if you look up blown save in the dictionary it says: see Bobby Ayala and Jose Mesa.

Posted by RustyJohn

12:25 PM, Jul 22, 2008

The only reason it is "demoralizing" is because it is the last event in a game you remember. Nobody gives a crap about the starter who gives up three runs in the 5th or 6th that changes the dynamic of the game and losses because there are four more innings to get us to forget. Again, saves are overrated, closers are overrated- there is no way in hell someone should get paid 10 or 12 million a year to pitch 50-60 innings a season regardless of how demoralizing it is for the "average" closer to lose eight games a year as opposed to the exceptional closer losing five or six. Two games are not worth 10 million dollars.

Posted by Charles

12:26 PM, Jul 22, 2008

@ Jere - sorry man but since 2004 red sox nation has been full of fairweather fans. It happens to every team when the win big (look at the Colorado Rockies last year). The Yankee fans (may they burn in hell forever) are the worst about it though.

@ SW - if you don't like it in Seattle go back to beantown. One reason the NW is such a great place to live is that people actually believe in following rules and thus promoting a stable community.

@ Manny - What they don't have traffic cops in Boston or something? Or are you above the law because you have money and can hit a ball?

@ Mariners FO - make some trades and stop talking about doing something

@ Geoff - good article as usual

Posted by Billius

1:45 PM, Jul 22, 2008

"@ Manny - What they don't have traffic cops in Boston or something? Or are you above the law because you have money and can hit a ball?"

In Boston jaywalking is a way of life. Heck, here you see cops jaywalking themselves all the time. Just cultural differences, guess he didn't get the memo about jaywalking being a cardinal sin in Seattle.

And regarding the bandwagon thing, yes, there are plenty of bandwagon fans since the Sox won the Series in 2004, but there were tons of real Sox fans before then too. I lived in Seattle for a number of years before moving back to Boston and I would always go to see the Sox when they were in town. Even before 2004 there were always plenty of Sox fans at the park, enough to get chants going, etc. You have to remember that there are TONS of transplants from New England all over America, and New England fans tend to stay loyal to their roots, so they'll still show up and root their old home team on when they're in town.

Posted by Misty

3:05 PM, Jul 22, 2008

See, this is a thing and all. I really want to know if that was it or not. But no one ever does.

Posted by Bilson Crapsul

3:04 PM, Jul 23, 2008

I dislike Manny Ramirez but when he meets one of those uppity enforcers on Royal Brougham he becomes my hero. I wish the police would have beat him down for doing nothing. Would have been a great racial/martyr/police brutality story. Tazer would have been nice too.

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