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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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August 2, 2008 7:20 PM

O's at M's: 8/2 game thread

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

8:46 p.m. So I just looked it up, and the M's are the only AL team without an 8-game winner. Even more interesting, there isn't another pitcher (other than Bedard) who isn't three wins away from that mark. So Hernandez might be the only 8-game winner this season. Seattle had four 8-game winners last year. Even Horacio Ramirez mustered eight wins a year ago.

8:35 p.m. That was Hernandez's 100th pitch that Aubrey Huff delivered into right field to load the bases with just one out. But nine pitches later, Hernandez emerged without allowing a run, though you've got to think that's it for him. Sean Green's warming up as I type. If the M's are going to emerge with their first 8-game winner of the season, they'll need to get a couple in the bottom of the inning.

8:14 p.m.: At least from up here, it looked like Ichiro made the right decision throwing to third, but it's still a bold move by O's 3rd-base coach Juan Samuel to send Melvin Mora with Ichiro running in on Ramon Hernandez's base hit. Mora scored, but Kevin Millar didn't make it to third because of Ichiro's throw, limiting the Orioles to just a run in the inning. 2-1 O's. Credit Beltre for scooping up Ichiro's throw to get Millar in the rundown.

7:57 p.m.: 3 innings, 67 pitches. That's 30 in the last two, so if Hernandez can keep that pace, he could get into the sixth or seventh. He's looking good though, with a few strikeouts. And he made a sharp play on a grounder back to him, getting the runner at second.

7:36 p.m.: The Mariners get that run back, tying it at 1, but they do leave a couple on base after a couple feeble outs from the Joses (Lopez and Vidro).

One thing to watch for: Jose Lopez has a 19-game hit streak. So far, 0-for-1.

Felix Hernandez hasn't made it past the sixth since June 17 -- John McLaren was still the manager -- and with the pace he's on so far, he probably won't make it into the seventh today. It took him XX pitches to get through the first, going deep into the count more often than not. Adam Jones worked him good until Jones slapped a hit to left, and Huff worked a good walk. Then Melvin Mora poked a double past Bryan LaHair to bring in a run. So far, Felix has already thrown 37 pitches.

Could be a long night.

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August 2, 2008 4:19 PM

Betancourt likely returning tomorrow; Woods called up

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Yuniesky Betancourt's out of the lineup again today, as he's still recovering from a sore right elbow. That elbow, manager Jim Riggleman said, probably hasn't been right for a while.

""Reflecting on the shortstop play in the last month, there was a lot of times where I felt like he's not playing the ball as well as he can ... Overall, I don't know that we've seen him at 100 percent out there with his arm."

Riggleman wants to get Betancourt back in the lineup for his defense. The shortstop's swing is another matter. He's hitting just .180 in his last 100 at-bats, and his average has dropped to .255. Someone brought up the possiblity of sending him down to Tacoma to work on his swing.

"Once he's back right, I'd like to see him go out here and play when he feels better with his arm," Riggleman said, later adding, "It's the offensive part of the game that's going to have to progress. I haven't really thought about him going down to do that ... It's something you could talk about, but it would be a last resort. We really wouldn't want to do that."

The Mariners called up left-handed reliever Jake Woods today to fill the spot vacated by Arthur Rhodes. Woods has been up with the big-league team three years running now, though his 2007 stint was only four games. Riggleman said Woods will be mostly used in long relief and as an early option against left-handers. Which means Cesar Jimenez will be the guy to face lefties later in the game.

Bryan LaHair's hitting seventh today. In his first 33 at-bats with the M's, he's hitting .333/.405/.515. It's a small sample size, but I don't imagine you'll find too many 33 at-bat stretches this season where the former first baseman bested those numbers.

I asked Jim Riggleman about LaHair's fast start, and the manager said LaHair's pitch selection has been important.

"The best thing he's done is he's gotten good pitches to hit, and he's taking the bad stuff," Riggleman said.

But Riggleman was wary about the sample size. And he did point out that LaHair already had a couple infield hits, and he joked that "if Bryan LaHair gets an infield hit, that's not something he's doing right. That's just happenstance."

Baltimore

1. Brian Roberts 2B
2. Adam Jones CF
3. Nick Markakis RF
4. Aubrey Huff DH
5. Melvin Mora 3B
6. Luke Scott LF
7. Kevin Millar 1B
8. Ramon Hernandez C
9. Juan Castro SS

RHP Jeremy Guthrie


Seattle

1. Ichiro RF
2. Jeremy Reed CF
3. Raul Ibanez LF
4. Adrian Beltre 3B
5. Jose Lopez 2B
6. Jose Vidro DH
7. Bryan LaHair 1B
8. Jeff Clement C
9. Willie Bloomquist SS

RHP Felix Hernandez

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August 2, 2008 4:08 PM

Same bull, different day

Posted by Geoff Baker

bison_2746.jpg

Yes, yes. I know it's not your typical bull. A bison, in fact. I'm actually up in the North Cascades for a few days. Flew home from Dallas yesterday and drove up here. Noticed that the blog had not been updated and that some of you were coming up with some rather interesting conspiracy theories (thanks for letting me out of the locked closet, Lee). So, here you go. An update thread.

The Mariners have added Jake Woods to the roster, filling the spot vacated by Arhtur Rhodes. Yes, that Woods, remember him? Just the lefty all of you were expecting, right? He's still only 26. I'll give you one thing, this team may do stuff we don't agree with. But it sure isn't predictable.

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