Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 23, 2008 7:29 PM
Posted by Danny O'Neil
There aren't a lot of follow-up questions to ask when a guy offers the point-blank admission that he messed up and the mistake is his alone. That was Willie Bloomquist's response to questions about the center-field drive that he was in position to catch, but didn't in the 12th inning.
"I just flat-out missed it," Bloomquist said. "I can't sit here and make an excuse. It's a ball I should have caught, a ball I've caught it in the past and I hold myself accountable for it. I should have caught it and unfortunately it cost us. In the end, I'm not going to sit there and make any excuse."
Hmmm. No evasion there. Bloomquist's error loaded the bases, but didn't allow a run. The next two batters had base hits, scoring a total of three runs.
On Saturday, Bloomquist lost a ball in the sun at Safeco Field. Was that a factor in Wednesday's play?
"Nope," Bloomquist said. "The sun's no factor. There's no excuse. It's just flat-out a ball I should have and I didn't."
OK. No excuses. No ambiguity there. He goofed. Bloomquist started the game at shortstop, but moved to center field after Yuniesky Betancourt entered the game to pinch-hit for Jeremy Reed.
J.J. Putz pitched for the second time in four days, throwing two innings this time and looking every bit as impressive as the day he came off the disabled list. Putz struck out three in the two innings he pitched, all on fastballs in the mid-90s.
Velocity isn't the only the thing that differentiates Putz's recovery from his first stint on the disabled list back in spring with a rib problem.
"Right now the quality of pitches has been a lot better than it had been the first time I came back," Putz said after the game. "The last few years I haven't been a guy that's walked a whole lot of people and this year, mechanically, it just hasn't been there. And having the time and the coaching staff to have the patience to let me find my delivery again has been huge. I think the results on the field are going to show."
Putz walked 17 batters in the 19 innings he pitched before going on the disabled list in June. He has not walked so far since he was activated.
"It's just a matter of being able to put the ball where I want to when I want to," Putz said. "The first time coming back from the rib injury just for some reason, I don't know if I was thinking about the rib or something like that, mechanics just weren't there. The delivery was not very consistent. All through my rehab assignments and then the last couple times up here, the deliver has been consistent. That's when you're able to repeat and make quality pitches. That's what we've been able to do."
Posted by scottM
7:59 PM, Jul 23, 2008
Culture of mediocrity:
The M's come back to tie the game in the sixth on a two-run jack by (surprise!), Jose Vidro. There was a look of relief on Felix's face, because he wouldn't be saddled with the loss.
Don't hang this loss on Willie:
There was nobody out. The M's managed to get baserunners on first and second, but couldn't generate one more run when they had the pitcher on the ropes. That seems to be the story of the season––a pathetic inability to generate runs when it counts. Story of the game––that half inning. It wasn't hard to sense that the M's would be through scoring. One more run that half inning and Felix would have come away the game winner. It would be nice if more players than Felix and Morrow played with a winning resolve.
Posted by Don Mincher
8:05 PM, Jul 23, 2008
Posted by Wolfie
8:07 PM, Jul 23, 2008
You know the irony here is that if Willie makes the catch and we get out of the inning (although that would only have been the second out IIRC), there would probably be a better chance of Willie moving to the pitcher's spot at some point in the game than us actually scoring a winning run. At least with his gaffe we didn't have to bring Burke in to pitch the final inning because our offense couldn't generate another run. Willie simply signed the DNR on this game instead of just leaving it on life support until it expired on its own.
Posted by Anonymous
8:12 PM, Jul 23, 2008
M's are under the curse of the "rally" fries and mike blowers.
If you want the Mariners to win, both the "rally" fries and mike blowers must go. Yet theMariners will re-sign blowers and his stupid rally fries next year too.
If you think this is a joke - wait until next year and don't whine when the M's continue to lose. You have a choice - wins or "rally" fries / big mouth blowers. The M's chose the "rally" fries / blowers this year - and will apparently make the same stupid decision next year.
I paid big money for seats only to get behind a poster begging for "rally" fries - yet the M's never even offered to reimburse me for the tickets - so now as long as the "rally" fries exist, so does the curse
Posted by ethan
8:32 PM, Jul 23, 2008
why does anyone go to a game?? lol
Posted by ken
9:04 PM, Jul 23, 2008
JJ looking healthy again is about the only positive from this homestand; this gives the team lots of options but I think they will give Morrow a shot at being in the rotation next spring - esp. if they get Fields signed and he can pitch some relief late this season. What to do about Joh is a big concern given his contract situation. I think after spending next season as backup to either Clement or maybe Adam Moore, that Joh may request that his contract for 2010-11 be sold to a Japanese team with the M's having to pay about 1/2 his salary. I don't think pitchers like to throw to Joh and he's not helping himself by not learning to do little things such as bunting, situational hitting, blocking the plate, and working the umpire.
Posted by oink
9:46 PM, Jul 23, 2008
send Johjima to the Yanks
Posted by JayR
9:49 PM, Jul 23, 2008
We suck. Can football come any sooner?!?!?
Posted by wag the dog
10:35 PM, Jul 23, 2008
Winners find ways to win games. Losers find ways to lose them.
No point in blaming Bloomquist, there were opportunities to work around his error and to score so it didn't matter anyway. The Mariners seem capable of neither. There are always key moments when winners step up. The Mariners never do. This game was like so many others this season, the Mariners just kinda plodded along until the Red Sox decided the game. Even in games the Mariners have won, it has often been the other team making the decisive play.
Posted by Chris from Bothell
10:59 PM, Jul 23, 2008
I agree that the lack of offense spiked this game, and not WFB's play. But nevertheless, kudos to WFB for coming right out and admitting it, in the plainest terms possible. None of this weasel-like, sort of half-alluding language we've gotten from other guys in the past. I only wish his honesty and integrity were matched by some offense.
Posted by Full Count
11:00 PM, Jul 23, 2008
Really, how much more can we lay waste to these guys.? Its just not there year.
Posted by -j.
11:20 PM, Jul 23, 2008
RE: Anonymous, 8:12 PM, Jul 23, 2008
Is Blowers such a bad color man that he gets dogged down because of the rally fry gimmick? Outside of being a little played out, rally fries don't bother me one bit.
I'll come out and say it. I am a Mike Blowers fan. Maybe its just who he replaced that has me on his bandwagon. Compared to Dave Henderson and Dave Valle, Blowers sounds like a freaking genius. The guy knows his baseball and doesn't try to announce the game like he is talking to a group of 10 year olds (Valle) and he doesn't sit there and try to toot his own horn talking about how great a player he was (Henderson). Those two guys would have me shaking my head at least a half-dozen times a game. I can honestly say I hated listening to Valle's dumbed-down game calling and Henderson's incessant ramblings.
Blowers is well spoken and calls games like he sees them. I enjoy listening to the guy.
Posted by genesisfan
11:53 PM, Jul 23, 2008
Praise to Willie for standing up for the gaffe. We have knocked the absentees all season long, so we ought to acknowledge the guy who does stand up and take the heat...no excuses asked.
To paraphrase James Carville, "It's the offense, stupid."
It is actually nice to see Vidro having a last hurrah, albeit too little, too late. I am surprised to be willing to say that, but heck...faint praise is all that's left.
Posted by Jonathan
12:56 AM, Jul 24, 2008
Willie I forgive you, Putz welcome back. If JJ is ready to close again I'm 100% behind putting Morrow in the rotation. With Fields/Green setting JJ up next year - Jimenez and Lowe as bridge men and Morrow, RRW, Bedard, Felix in the rotation next year there might be a light at the end of the tunnel to this team's pitching
Posted by Briguy17
6:11 AM, Jul 24, 2008
I agree with scottM and Wolfie... even if Willie makes that catch, we'd still end up losing. Our offense is as unclutch as they get. There's not a single hitter, including Ichiro, who has either a knack for clutch hitting or has both contact and power.
The last time I remember us having either of those? Edgar Martinez, 2004. This team is missing a big and/or clutch bat.
That's why I'm thinking the M's need to draft the next Evan Longoria/Josh Hamiltion (without the drugs) instead of Strasburg, possibly the next Lincecum or something.
Posted by BrianL
7:18 AM, Jul 24, 2008
Edgar Martinez fell off a cliff in 2004. You're probably thinking of Edgar Martinez 2003.
Posted by Ryan
7:21 AM, Jul 24, 2008
There isn't a team in baseball with our record that draws as well as we do. The M's have done a pretty good job to get people to come to the park. The rally fries are a gimmick ( it draws in fans), other ballparks have them too in some other form. Quit whining!! It's not big of a deal.
As for Blowers, I'll take him over Mr Ego Dave Henderson anyday of the week. I enjoy listening to him.
I guess we just can't be happy unless we're complaning about something.
Posted by Ryan
7:23 AM, Jul 24, 2008
Why would they reimburse you for tickets?? You bought tickets, the people with the rally fries sign bought tickets too. Maybe they should start handing out pacifiers and a baby bottle too. Grow up!!
Posted by Anna11
8:15 AM, Jul 24, 2008
If this is how Riggleman sees the DH role, we're screwed.
Posted by spug
8:26 AM, Jul 24, 2008
I feel sorry for Willie because although he missed that catch, that wasn't the only thing that lost the game... what about the Johjima GIDP with runners on 1st and 3rd? I know he doesn't actually TRY to hit DPs but you could have predicted that one.
Posted by kevin_ess
8:31 AM, Jul 24, 2008
Chris From Bothell:
You DO realize Willie's middle name doesn't actually start with an F? It's a tag unfairly added by the blog-o-sphere for a guy who has simply been mismanaged by his team. So you're backing him in your comments and calling him "WFB" at the same time? You're a tired parody of yourself.
Posted by byebye
9:28 AM, Jul 24, 2008
Hear yee, Hear yee,
Posted by Jonathan
12:56 AM, Jul 24, 2008
"Willie I forgive you, Putz welcome back. If JJ is ready to close again I'm 100% behind putting Morrow in the rotation. With Fields/Green setting JJ up next year - Jimenez and Lowe as bridge men and Morrow, RRW, Bedard, Felix in the rotation next year there might be a light at the end of the tunnel to this team's pitching"
Exactly what I want to say. Also, our catcher trying to get a man in from third with one out in extra innings. So many things better than a double play: get hit by the ball, work the pitcher for a pass ball or wild pitch, a slow roller, wow, maybe a broken bat single, or BUNT!
Posted by Howard Cosell
2:52 PM, Jul 24, 2008
COWARDS OF THE PRESS
I find it absolutely remarkable how Rigglehead got away - WITHOUT ANYONE FROM THE PRESS - asking why he didn't have the runner on first take second base when the the RED SOX were clearly giving the base to the runner. THe pitcher never even looked over at first and the SS and 2nd baseman were playing deep on the outfield grass.
This would've have prevented the double play - oh and what about pinch hitting for our high prized catcher? You're telling me noone on the bench was capable of hitting a fly ball to win the game?
Rigglehead and the PRESS are a match made in heaven they both are cowards and clueless.
Posted by GripS
7:05 PM, Jul 24, 2008
I've seen plenty of games where the Mariners have won where both Mike Blowers and the Rally fries were present. Not sure where you are getting this superstition from.
Felix IS an Ace pitcher Geoff. Best we got and one of the best in the league.
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